Published weekly by the Media Council of Kenya

To the Editor
Pen Cop
Off The Beat
Media Review
Media Monitoring
Literary Vignettes
Letter to the Editor
Guest Column
Fact Checking
Fact Check
Editor's Pick
EAC Media Review
Council Brief
Book Review
Edit Template

Will these journalists celebrate Christmas, take their kids to school?

Being broke at all, but particularly in December, should be classified as an illness deserving urgent government intervention. How is one expected to live in this “festive season”?

Sirkal iingilie kati mara moja. The mandate of the State Department for Social Protection ought to be expanded. The victims of this disease should immediately report to the nearest chief’s office wadungwe ngiri kumi kumi wapone.

Think we are kidding? A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan on a penniless Kenyan would pick up worrying signals in the limbic system of his brain. Can you recall the excitement that radiates through your entire being when you receive an SMS from the bank that money has hit your account? You would love to feel like that daily, not so?

Broke people are not just unhappy – which would be no big problem if it were entirely a private matter. They can also be unproductive, antisocial and even dangerous to themselves and to others. They are a threat to the nation’s overall wellbeing.

In fact, the Constitution proclaims that we, the people of Kenya, are determined to ensure everyone is happy. The Preamble ordains that we are “committed to nurturing and protecting the wellbeing of the individual, the family, communities and the nation”. Now, you can’t have that kind of happy society if people are broke.

What has this to do with The Observer, whose mandate is watchdogging the media? Everything. Correspondents working for Radio Africa Group pale Waiyaki Way are “an unhappy lot” – as a not-so-broke scribe might write.

A confidential source leaked to The Observer a series of messages distraught journalists far out in the counties wrote to their Lion Place bosses last week begging for help. Our sources, of course, cannot be revealed for fear of likely reprisals.

One scribe wrote that: “Kindly, pay us October and November salaries so that we can also celebrate with our families and ensure our kids go back to school. As it is right now, we have nothing to celebrate. Things are not going great for us”.

Another: “Kindly, remember us huku mashinani with something for October and November so we can piga sherehe too”.

“The rest of us are now eagerly waiting to get that notification from our respective banks for October and November. Baraka”.

And another: “Holiday is fast approaching and before we realise January will be here with us – and you know what that means: school fees and many other basic needs that have to be attended to. Hope something is done jameni”.

“It’s our humble request tuonekaniwe so that we plan for January fees mapema kindly”.

“We shall be pleased when our two months payment hits our accounts as we are currently not in a very good financial position”.

“Dear bosses. As the clock ticks fast towards Christmas and New Year, I hope and pray that the field scribes will be considered for their October and November stipends all in one blow. Huku kwetu things are tough”.

“Any communication on whether or when we’re likely to be paid the Oct/Nov pay tutashukuru sana.”

These are painful messages. Can you imagine what these broke scribes are going through out there in the counties? Payment is a worker’s right. Where is the dignity of work when one is forced to beg for their pay in such an abject manner?

We know things have been elephant for employers due to the Covid pandemic that severely worsened a slumped economy over the past two years. But what comes through from these messages ni kitu ingine kabsa!

How do Lion Place bosses relate to their workers? What is so difficult about effective communication with employees so they understand what is going on? Why this don’t-care attitude, until workers have to go down on their knees praying, weeping and gnashing their teeth begging for pay?

Lion Place, no mother or father should go home to their children empty-handed at this time yet they work. Pay these scribes to celebrate the festive season with their friends and families and take their kids to school in January. And, please, learn to communicate better. Ama “our workers are our most important asset” ni stori tu?


See you next year!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share this post

Sign up for the Media Observer

Weekly Newsletter

By signing up, you agree to our Privacy Policy

Scroll to Top