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When you don’t see Riggy G it’s Ok to wait, don’t make stuff up

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua trended for being absent in the news. For over a week, he missed all expected public engagements, media reported.

Clearly, everyone was dying for answers. None was forthcoming. So, the Nation and the Standard kind of just made stuff up.

The Nation started off with this story: “UDA MPs explain DP Gachagua’s whereabouts”.

That’s right. The May 18 story by Evans Jaola promised explanation. But it ran from top to bottom without a single explanation.

It started by reporting that National Assembly Majority Whip Sylvanus Osoro and Kesses MP Julius Ruto, both Kenya Kwanza legislators, dismissed speculation about Gachagua’s absence from state functions.

The story said Osoro asked Kenyans to avoid rumours, that the Deputy President deserved to rest.

Avoid rumours? Was that an explanation about Gachagua’s whereabouts?

When the first quote came, you couldn’t have picked a worse one to destroy the story angle. “I hear he will be in Nyeri tomorrow so we can wait for him to speak for himself,” the Nation quoted Osoro.

That’s like saying: sorry, we lied; we know nothing; Gachagua will explain where he’s been – whenever he comes up for air.

The second supposed source, MP Ruto, reiterated the same line. He warned Kenyans against listening to propaganda, the story said.

And that was it. So much for the Nation explaining what’s been going on with Gachagua!

The next day, the Standard ran with this: “Gachagua expected to fight back after week of silence amid attacks”.

The May 19 story by Brian Otieno just pulled your leg right off the gate.

First, that heading. Expected to fight back? Expected by whom? Where? How?

The story started by saying Gachagua had retreated to his backyard. Then, that he was expected to attend church on Sunday. Yeah.

Oh, and a quick disclaimer after that: should he fail to attend church, it would be bad; it would prolong his conspicuous absence.

What was this, news, analysis or bar chatter? Stori za jaba.

This far, no disclosure on where the writer was getting this stuff. Zero attribution.

It got worse. The story said President William Ruto was about to address the nation on his upcoming visit to the United States. Apparently, he didn’t. And that no explanation was given about his deputy’s absence.

Wait, his deputy’s absence from what, an event that didn’t happen? And who asked whom?

This was not journalism. It was speculation.

If there’s no story it’s ok to just wait. It will pan out. Then you can tell it. In the meantime, don’t waste readers’ time. Run with something else.

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