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Why did media have such hard time reporting fallen cop King’ori?

Within minutes of the breaking news of retired senior police officer King’ori Mwangi’s death on Sunday, February 11, social media was abuzz with eyebrow-raising personal accounts of his life and work.

Was there any truth in those tales? This is why people turn to mainstream, professional media. When rumours swirl, the public wants to know the verified truth to go by. But see how King’ori’s tour of duty was reported:

Star: “He became the youngest provincial police boss at 37, heading the Nairobi security apparatus. But his record was not without questions.” The writer then dived into archive material to fish out King’ori’s televised interview in 2012 and his comical answers on his alleged properties that “left the panel in stiches.” Nothing more.

The Daily Nation gave a muddled account: “The story of the late former police boss, Zachary King’ori Mwangi, who died on Sunday of what the family revealed as surgery complications, reads like that of a sinister but nice angel who dropped on earth unnoticed, lived a life of accomplishment and went back to the clouds uncelebrated.”

Oh, really? Care to explain any of that? No. Paper resorted to some esoteric poetry to boot.

“He is a man whose career reads beautifully in a twisted manner about how he lived to the letter the life and times of a typical police officer – that which is characterised by conquests, controversies, integrity queries, villain, hero and a powerful instrument for the powers [that] be.”

What were readers supposed to understand from all that? What picture do you see? Clear as mud. Show, don’t tell.

He rose through the ranks and “brushed shoulders with who was who in power, for both good and bad reasons.” Hivyo tu.

“In the process, he amassed wealth that even appeared to baffle him when he was called to explain its origin during an integrity vetting by the National Police Commission.”

People Daily: “Until around 2014, everything about King’ori’s career was swift, bright, and promising. He was one of the most decorated officers and among the youngest officers to be in charge of a province, now referred to as region.”

“However, a number of incidents, some unsubstantiated, would later taint his erstwhile bright career. Sadly, the incidents happened as he was just a rank away to the highest office in the service.”

Aje? What happened? Care to give details? Nothing.

The Standard (“on its part”) steered clear of any innuendoes and poetry, choosing instead to dwell on King’ori’s noncontroversial biodata. But for a man whose public life touched so many people in so many places, there’s nothing to praise about Standard’s thinly veiled self-restraint.

All this cloudy reporting leaves any keen reader with the uneasy feeling everyone was trying to hide something ugly about King’ori, doesn’t it? Maybe the social media rumours are true after all.

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