Kenya 2022: Raila and Ruto are poaching star journalists as the independent media declines

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This article is part of the dossier:

Kenya 2022: Who will win the great race?

By Christine Mungai

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Posted on March 30, 2022 13:18

Kenya’s Prime Minister and presidential candidate Odinga poses for a photo with former cabinet minister and presidential candidate Ruto as they attend peace prayers at the Uhuru Park grounds in Nairobi
Kenya’s presidential candidate Raila Odinga (R) poses for a photo with other leading presidential candidate William Ruto at the Uhuru Park grounds in Nairobi, February 24, 2013. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

With less than six months before one of the tightest presidential elections in Kenya’s history, the two main contenders have recruited journalists for leading roles in their campaign.

This is part of a wider co-option of journalists and civic activists by politicians to blunt their criticism, exploit their networks and even influence other journalists.

Politicians find journalists useful as their contacts and newsroom savvy skills come in handy when lobbying for coverage and relaying the candidate’s message.

Deputy President William Ruto appointed Hussein Mohamed, a renowned news anchor who used to work for Citizen TV Kenya, to lead his campaign communications team.

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga also named Dennis Onsarigo, a former investigative journalist at KTN and NTV, as the press secretary for his campaign secretariat.

Crossing over to the ‘dark side’

In Kenya, the trickle of journalists crossing over to what some call ‘the dark side’ of corporate public relations has become a flood. Financial factors have contributed – as media houses struggle to stay

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