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Plenty to investigate in Meru but here’s why no scribe dares

By Kenneth Nkonge

Oh, the irony! The media should be the fearless champion of truth, but investigative journalism in Meru County remains a myth. With their unique potential to uncover hidden truths and expose corruption, one would think local media outlets in Meru should be the vanguards of accountability.

However, recent events in the Meru county government leave one wondering whether such journalistic endeavours even exist within the county’s borders. Allegations of a scandal involving IFMIS, where payments ended up in the accounts of individuals believed to be closely related to the current governor, have been floating in the county’s grapevine. Yet, strangely, not a single local media outlet has dared to delve into the murky depths of these allegations. Instead, they seem content with parroting the whistle-blower’s account, while the national electronic and print media gallantly carry the torch.

Are these allegations valid? It’s almost comical that other journalists seem to have more insight into the Meru situation than those who are practically a stone’s throw away from the county government headquarters, where answers could be sought. What on earth makes this local investigative void so unbridgeable?

Well, Meru County is renowned for its tight-knit communities. You see, in a place where everyone knows everyone, seeking anonymity as a journalist is like trying to hide an elephant in a closet. The fear of exposing the wrongs within these communities is palpable. Journalists live in constant dread of the inevitable reprisals and social backlash from the supporters and confidants of those individuals who have been exposed. It’s a recipe for a journalistic quagmire, making it nearly impossible for any intrepid reporter to feel secure and protected enough to embark on such an adventure.

But let’s not forget the other elephant in the room: The lack of resources and support from the media owners. In Meru, it seems that the media owners have other interests that take precedence over investigative journalism. The lack of financial support and investment in investigative reporting cripples any noble journalistic ambitions.

Could a new era of investigative journalism be in the cards for Meru County? As we contemplate this question, it’s worth considering that change might be in the air. The local media, with a dash of newfound courage, could potentially uncover truths that have long remained concealed. As the winds of change blow away the cobwebs of reluctance, there’s a glimmer of hope that local journalists may one day venture forth to unearth those elusive stories, even without the full support they sorely need.

Writer is a media analyst

 

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