REPUBLISHED DUE TO PUBLIC DEMAND: Posted by African Press International for the first time on February 5, 2012
By Onyango Oneka, California – USA
Let’s face it- Koinange has brought a kind of interviewing skills unseen in Kenya period. He asks the kinds of questions we all want answered and he does it with such smoothness and ease that the guests don’t realize what they’re saying until Capital Talk airs to Millions of homes in Kenya, Africa and the world every night. More than fifteen-hundred shows later in four-and-a-half years of sitting daily on a rock-hard park bench, and Sarah Elderkin has decided to ‘grossly attack’ just two shows…two shows that allegedly were too ‘close to home’ for her Client, the country’s Prime Minister, Raila Odinga. Clearly Koinange touched a nerve and the response is either guilt or simple ignorance on the part of this dinosaur of a journalist who was once well known as a Personal Assistant and part-time Mistress to the Prime Minister.
Sarah Elderkin cut her teeth during the dark days of One-Man rule under then President Daniel Arap Moi. She worked for the famous ‘Weekly Review’ which was ably run by Nuclear Scientist-turned journalist, Hilary Ng’weno. Ng’’weno was good at picking holes in a subtle way at Moi’s government and was successful for a while. The magazine was eventually forced to shut down and some like Elderkin jumped ship to support the ‘burgeoning opposition’ then under leading lights like Kenneth Matiba and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga. She grew close to Odinga and worked her way to become one of his key speech writers and campaign strategists. This is probably when she met his son, Raila, and the relationship grew both professionally and personally. Her loyalty to the Odinga family is therefore unquestionable. Somewhere along the way, she fell out with the younger Odinga, perhaps more to do with personal than professional etiquette.
So when Capital Talk began exploring various aspects of The ICC and who might be the ‘possib;e hand behind it,’ it was only a matter of time before the ‘Geriatric journalist’ saw her chance to win back favour with the man who may just one day be President. She decided to pick on two out of fifteen-hundred Capital Talk shows where the interviewees boldy and fearlessly questioned what the Prime Minister’s role was in the lead-up to the ICC. She didn’t even mention the fact that Koinange had been ten-times more caustic when it came to President Mwai Kibaki’s role in the Planning and Execution of the Post Election reaction to the near-civil war that was raging across the country in those few weeks following the declaration of the winner of the highly disputed election. In fact, numerous guests on the Bench like Political Scientist, Mutahi Ngunyi and Publisher, Barrack Muluka, as well as others like former Law Society of Kenya Chairman who’s also the Publisher of the Nairobi Law Monthly, Ahmednasir Abdullahi and former Vice Chair of the Kenya National Commission for Human Rights, Hassan Omar Hassan, all of whom categorically stated that the ‘Buck Stops’ with Kibaki and that he was nowhere near being ‘out of the woods’ just yet. Why didn’t Elderkin see the need to ‘castigate’ Koinange when it came to Kibaki’s alleged role and only concentrated on what she saw as ‘perceived attacks’ on her former Boss, the Prime Minister? More importantly, why didn’t the seat of power, Harambee House, the Official Office of The President, issue a statement or for that matter, write an Op Ed defending ‘their man’?
What Elderkin has done in three pages of what can only be described as ‘childish ranting and raving’ is nothing short of ‘juvenile jingoism’. She needs to be reminded that long gone are the days of one-man Dictatorship and if any “Expert’ or ‘Analyst’ wants to talk about this or that, they should be given the platform and NOT be silenced just because someone doesn’t agree with what’s being said. Elderkin is NOT the authority when it comes to ‘Journalistic Ethics and Standards’. If she’s working for Raila she should state it plain and simple, not use a ‘Rag’ of a newspaper to ‘pathetically defend’ her paymaster.
Knowing Koinange, he’s used to controversy and being undermined by ‘weak and gutless’ individuals. He will probably make light of his ‘Human Cartoon’ reference and let everything else ‘roll down his broad shoulders’. Most other journalists in Kenya would have probably quit and gone into other ‘less threatening’ professions. This is not the time to ‘Kill The Messenger’ but instead, promote Free Speech because that’s what the New Constitution says is a basic Human right.
But because Elderkin is White and a Woman, her ‘written word’ is immediately seen as the ‘Gospel Truth’ making ‘gullible and inferior-minded’ Kenyans run to her support like Slaves in a Plantation trying to gain her favour and acceptance. It’s these ‘inferior-minded’ Kenyans that have been jumping on the Elderkin ‘band-wagon’, calling the ‘messenger’ all kinds of name in a veiled effort to ‘Discredit and Undermine’ a show that’s undoubtedly the ‘Most-Watched, Most-Popular, Most-Informative and Most-Educative’ on Kenyan and for that matter on African Television.
Wake up, Kenyans. By Elderkin ‘pulling wool’ over your eyes, you’re blindly walking back to the days you fought so hard to escape from. But if that’s where you ‘belong’, then who are we to stop you from getting what you deserve.
The article above is a reaction to the article below published by The STAR, Nairobi on the 4th of February 2012.