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Envoys visited Raila, Nation smelled a rat – why?

Everyone in town knows by now that Raila Odinga is running for “president” of the African Union. Recently, two European diplomats visited him at his Nairobi residence. Various media reported it matter-of-factly. Except for the Daily Nation.

The Nation suggested it smelled. But they didn’t back it up.

Here, sample the headlines on April 25.

  • People Daily: “Raila meets European diplomats, sells his AUC candidacy
  • The Star: “Raila hosts European diplomats, drums up support for AU chair bid
  • Tuko: “Raila Odinga meets top European diplomats as he firms his AUC bid

But the Nation stood apart with this headline:

Was something cooking? What did the Nation smell?

But the story by Justus Ochieng’ started out with no hint of a smell. The intro said simply that Raila hosted the envoys “in his effort to reach out to external influencers to boost his bid for the chairmanship of the African Union Commission (UAC).”

The rest of the story reported plainly what transpired at the meeting, citing a statement put out after the meeting by Odinga’s secretariat. It said that Odinga marketed himself to the diplomats. The envoys expressed their support.

The rest of the story was bland background. It repeated what’s already public knowledge, that the Kenyan government was actively routing for Odinga, etcetera.

So, what was the huge question mark in the Nation’s headline all about?

All other headlines read nothing into this meeting. The Nation’s story, the text, concurred.

But the headline was loud. Loud with an empty question mark. This headline sought sensation without evidence. The rhetorical question, “What’s cooking?” was an unnecessary jibe.

Who has a plausible argument other than that the Nation went with an empty, sensational headline just to sell the paper?

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