David Mugonyi. PHOTO/FACEBOOK
By PATRICK MAYOYO
Journalists in Kenya reacted with anger against Deputy President William Ruto’s Director of Communications David Mugonyi for threatening a reporter with dire consequences.
Mr Mugonyi, a former Deputy News Editor at Nation Media Group threatened to have, Mr Justus Wanga, of Sunday Nation sacked over a story he wrote indicating that a rift had emerged in Jubilee over the new cabinet list announced by President Uhuru Kenyatta in the absence of Mr Ruto.
An audio recording of the threats against Mr Wanga started doing rounds on social media networks on Sunday after the heated arguments between Mr Mugonyi and Mr Wanga.
Kenya Union of Journalists secretary general Eric Odour, issued a statement condemning the incident.
“I have been shocked beyond comfort after listening to an audio recording and also receiving a complaint from Justus Wanga, a journalist with Sunday Nation that one David Mugonyi, a senior journalist and a director at Deputy President William Ruto’s office threatened to influence his sacking from Nation Media Group,” he said.
Mr Oduor said the kind of impunity exhibited by some senior government officials like Mr Mugonyi should not be tolerated and demanded that action is taken against him.
“We must defend good journalism and tell Mr Mugonyi and his agents that journalists are not politicians and shall do their job for public good. If he thrives in his work by issuing threats to journalists to please his employer, it is high time quit his job because stories that meet the standards set by newsrooms will be told whether he likes it or not,” he added.
Journalist Mary Daraja said, “Power has gotten into his head….who does Mugonyi think he is? Power is temporary….”
Veteran journalist Patrick Ngugi added, “I was surprised to hear him say, “TUMEONA WENGI. Translated as-We have encountered many. You are not the first one.”
Kituyi Robert said,”Very unfortunate and more so coming from a former journalist. This is the same fellow who dismissed the killing of veteran journalist John Kituyi.”
Peter NK thundered,” When the dog backs you definitely know the owner is nearby. David Mugonyi, Ruto’s dog, who is also a journalist, should know better.”
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Nelson Mandela once said: “A critical, independent, and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy. The press must be free from state interference. It must have the economic strength to stand up to the blandishments of government officials. It must have sufficient independence from vested interests to be bold and inquiring without fear or favor. It must enjoy the protection of the constitution, so that it can protect our rights as citizens.”
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