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Much heat, little light: Where are facts on Ruto-Gachagua ‘fallout’?

Introduction

The report highlights media discourses ranging from politics to corruption and the corridors of justice. The topics include Ruto-Gachagua power struggle, reflections Ian Njoroge, and tributes to Jahmby Koikai’s battle with endometriosis.

Ruto-Gachagua ‘fallout’

Perceived political tensions were reported between Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and President William Ruto. In the recent past there have been speculations about infighting within government. The involvement of influential figures like former President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga in the alleged break-up further complicate the situation. Public opinion is divided, with some questioning Ruto’s leadership while others warn of the consequences of internal power struggles. A petition has been submitted to Parliament to bar on deputy presidents from running for presidency immediately after their joint term.

 
Impact on media

The alleged political tensions along with the petition to bar deputy presidents from running for presidency immediately after their term dominated media headlines. This sparked intense public interest and discussions about the future of the ruling party and the country’s political landscape. News outlets have analysed the power struggle and its impact. Social media platforms were abuzz with debates. The stories however are focused on innuendos and lack facts. The media has continued to set the agenda and advance the narrative that there is silent war within the ruling party. Going forward it will be useful for the public to receive objective news on the issue.

World Environment Day

July 5 is World Environment Day. There was a significant surge in global engagement, emphasising the necessity for unified efforts to conserve the Planet. Across various online platforms, voices were raised on the importance of sustainable initiatives, environmental stewardship, and decisive climate action. The digital space served as a catalyst for disseminating information, fostering consciousness and transformation.

Notably, #WorldEnvironmentDay ascended to the top trending spot with an impressive 215,000 tweets, sustaining its prominence for over 10 hours.

  


Impact on media

Media outlets experienced an increase in coverage and discussions surrounding environmental issues. The trending hashtag and online conversations indicate heightened public interest and engagement with environmental matters, prompting media to prioritise coverage of sustainability, conservation, and climate change stories. Kenya is on the frontline in the efforts to enhance carbon credits by encouraging the public to plant and grow more trees.

The prominence of online platforms as a medium for sharing information and catalysing action underscores the evolving role of digital media in shaping public discourses. Different organisations could harness the power of social media to mobilise individuals and stakeholders towards environmental advocacy.

Ian Njoroge

On June 3, 2024, a viral video of Ian Njoroge assaulting a police officer in Mirema, Kasarani area, dominated mainstream and online news outlets. The clip captured the 19-year-old assaulting the policeman and afterward fleeing the scene. The Directorate of Criminal Investigations arrested the young man after launching a manhunt following the circulated video. On June 4, Ian was arraigned in court and charged with assault, robbery with violence, and resisting arrest.

The monitoring period revealed a notable shift among Kenyans’ attitudes towards the assault. Initially, there was strong condemnation against the action by the 19-year-old. However, as more details emerged, including the officer’s alleged demand for a bribe of Sh10,000, empathy grew for the teenager. Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko later revealed on his X platform that Njoroge’s mother sought his assistance. He also disclosed that the assaulted police officer had previously served as his bodyguard during his tenure as Member of Parliament for Makadara. In a surprising turn of events, NTV reported on June 6, that eight officers, including one who had arrested Njoroge, were arrested on charges of robbery with violence. Milimani senior principal magistrate Ben Ekhubi released Njoroge on a SSh 700,000 bond.

  
Impact on media

While assault is a serious offence, the twist involving the officer having asked for a bribe highlights the corruption rooted well within the system. The media coverage of the story was skewed. It was not until the whole story was highlighted that the public was able to debate the issue objectively. On Tiktok the video was widely shared and the court proceedings highlighted on the fast-growing platform. The social media site coverage led to scrutiny and actions of police officers, bringing attention to issues of alleged police misconduct and the need for accountability and reform in law enforcement practices. The media has an opportunity to educate the public on respect for the law and educate the security enforcers on following the law.


Finance Bill 2024

During the monitoring period from June 3 to 7, 2024, the Finance Bill 2024 sparked intense debate. Some leaders support the Bill while the majority of Kenyans are opposed to the proposals. The National Assembly Finance Committee, led by Molo MP Kuria Kimani, convened representatives of various sectors for public participation on the bill. Notably, Citizen TV organised “The Big Conversation” on June 5, featuring five studios with diverse representatives, including experts, government officials, and taxpayers. The broadcast on Citizen TV’s X platform attracted over 60,000 views, with individual segments on YouTube averaging over 15,000 views. Other mainstream media outlets like KTN News, NTV, K24, and TV 47 also engaged experts.

 Impact on Media

The extensive coverage and public participation around the Finance Bill 2024 generated significant viewer interest. With over 60,000 views on Citizen TV’s X platform and substantial viewership on YouTube, there’s heightened engagement on the topic.

By hosting in-depth discussions and inviting experts and stakeholders, media outlets demonstrated their commitment to objective reporting and facilitating public discourse. This will enhance the credibility of the media as a reliable source of information and protectors of public interest. Through coverage and analysis, media outlets played a crucial role in shaping public opinion on the Finance Bill 2024.

Jahmby Koikai

Jahmby Koikai, also known as Fyah Mummah, a renowned media personality, radio host, and reggae DJ, passed on at the age of 38 due to endometriosis complications. Throughout her life, Jahmby bravely battled endometriosis, a condition where the endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus. Her death sparked widespread mourning.

 Impact on media

Jahmby’s public battle with endometriosis and her subsequent passing raised awareness about the often misunderstood and under-discussed health condition. Her story prompted conversations about women’s health issues, particularly endometriosis, across various media platforms, shedding light on the challenges many women face in dealing with the condition. Research indicates that endometriosis is not fatal, but it can cause life-threatening complications.

The media has been filled with tributes, reflections, and discussions surrounding Jahmby’s life, legacy, and contributions to the industry. From heartfelt social media posts to dedicated segments on radio and TV shows, her passing has prompted an outpouring of love and admiration from colleagues, fans, and the general public, demonstrating the profound impact she had on the media.

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