When he started out, Kenyans were fascinated by his pompousness, blustering bravado, swag, brash style and mien that he projected on Television.
Jeff Koinange...The Funeral announcement of a fallen Television Clown
His face, unconventional hairstyle and booming voice jarred Kenyans into consciousness.
After decades of boring TV hosts with boring suits, boring haircuts and bland accents, Kenyans one day woke up to some TV rock star who had just left CNN, a global broadcaster , under controversial circumstances to quietly fly back to Kenya and help set-up a then-fledgling TV station K24.
He took us all in and wowed us with his dexterity and great adeptness at Television, hosting guest after guest and helping steer K24 to great heights…All this time, laying back in his seat, one leg over the other, like Bruce Springsteen, rocking the show and hypnotizing viewers with a style and fashion that was so cool, so rockstar and so maverick, we immediately became hooked.
The circumstances that led to his ignominious exit from CNN have always been blurred but there are more than enough stories linking him to rape, gross journalistic misconduct and even bungling up a special report in Niger just to rack up the viewership and present a shock jock CNN story.
Jeff Koinange back in his CNN glory days
Jeff remains silent on all the allegations…And has never bothered address them even when they’ve always been brought up by some of the biggest and most formidable names in Journalism and local politics.
We weren’t accustomed to a TV host that seemed to do everything, like the legendary Frank Sinatra ,his way.
A TV host who seemed to have all the connections…A TV host who did it his way and talked as he liked, making guest after guest feel comfortable on his bench and even coining catch phrases and slogans that went on to become weekly Television staple.
With shiny, curly hair, a broad, ostentatious smile and a booming laughter, Jeff Koinange singlehandedly revolutionized Kenyan TV . And everyone went along with it, watching as he unfurled a whole new world of television talk-show hosting, becoming the King of the Hot Seat and firing up viewers week after week with his groundbreaking stories and interviews and sometimes very explosive and astounding interviews.
became an instant television rallying call…And every guest he hosted seemed to have crammed the line and couldn't wait for the cue to gleely repeat it at the end of the show. It became a television badge of honor.
Jeff became an instant icon. Instant legend . Instant showstopper...I mean, he'd won an Emmy for his exemplary TV work.
Jeff Koinange proudly displaying his Emmy Award Photo/ Courtesy
His time at K24 soon elapsed and the man went under…Only to resurface not so long after on KTN from where his television showmanship and shenanigans went on. First, at around the Prime Time and then he got pushed back to the past prime time hour. Either because he wasn’t getting as huge a viewership over the 7.30pm slot or because his guests were terrible bastards at keeping time and always showed up late.
Or also maybe, the producers and TV honchos at KTN felt that the 10.00pm slot worked best because everyone would be at home by that time and would definitely watch the show. Or, as I imagine they saw it, would love to keep up with the madness.
He came back with even more gusto and fervor than he started off with at K24. He not only brought on a louder voice and more controversial , pairing-up sessions but also brought along props for good measure- Fire extinguishers and blah blah blah.
This time was thrown into the pool and the new slogan was
AGAIN Jeff revolutionized TV viewing and like, Madonna, reinvented himself and won back his crowd. Every single one of them.
It didn't hurt that people assumed – or believed –he was related to the President Uhuru Kenyatta and he seemed to bank on the conspiracy to boost up his profile and his closeness in both resemblance and proximity to The President didn’t hurt matters.
For long, he presented to the World an image of a man who was impartial, balanced ,truthful, unprejudiced,level-headed and upright but soon enough, after the fame and the accolades, he started bearing his true colors. And his spirited defenses of The Presidency didn’t go unnoticed.
Together with KTN, Jeff Koinange carved out a monster two-day show that even recruited the services of Twitter yapstar Xtian Dela for the sole, vain purposes of making the show trend every day, every week.
Many topics would be covered every week…Mostly, corruption , inspiration, the State Of The Nation, Governance, politics and national affairs.
Jeff on the set of his trash talk show
Jeff did his best to moderate the show…But sometimes, would end up getting so immersed in the madness, so taken away, so bedazzled by his sometimes loud and mouthy guests that he’d let them yap on and on as he watched, happy to see his show lighting up and gaining so much traction across the Internet.
The show stopped being the sensible sit-down it used to be in the good old days of K24. The show degenerated from a sensible talk-show with facts and sobriety and sense in to a silly, clamorous shouting match between drunk political bastards, infamous hate mongers and contemptible Government twats with an agenda to keep a viscerally kleptocratic Government in power.
Unlike the good old days of K24, when a Jeff Koinange show ended up as an illuminating, refreshing, informative and incisive session, the new Jeff Koinange shows were now a playground for witless, hostile forces with foul mouths, drunk heads, no agenda and annoying, market-place laughters.
David Matsanga on the JKL show
Jeff started hosting all manner of scumbags and pricks and busybodies …Not to drive the national agenda but to excite Kenyans, incite the nation, drive up traffic and blow up the internet.
Cretins like David Matsanga, Tony Gachoka and Miguna Miguna became his most favorite guests. He loved hosting them not because they ever made any reasonable sense and had anything substantial to share with the Country but because they mostly showed up dazed and drunk and stoned and were willing to blurt anything, spew anything and even ,when cornered, come to verbal blows and reduce the show to a third-grade, Los Angeles gang garage-style shouting match.
Jeff abetted the madness. He created it, fed it and nurtured it. It stopped being a TV show and became a ho-hum Reality Show where disgruntled divas went to settle scores ,name-call, childishly lash out and beef it out in public.
It became the Jerry Springer show, complete with the cat-fights and the messiness and the loudness with Jeff happily clapping along to the buffoonery and absurdity of his mentally-challenged guests who carelessly drove into Kempisnki while drowning a Jack Daniels and reeking of stale condoms.
Jeff even took part sometimes in the madness… Like a bad TV actor, baiting his guests and goading them to war on, fight on and spur on and then, as if on a bad script, throwing his Ipad into some pool behind him, crying out ‘it’s smoooooking!’ like a failed Malibu actor and even reaching out for his Fire Extinguisher to try and whip up the fire –Not even extinguish it.
Jeff scripted the madness…And led it on, question by question, guest by guest, answer by answer.
He spoke like the coached host he was, reducing the TV show from a sensible moment of national reflection into a deplorable sit-down with fools and garrulous Kenyatta-aligned scumbags.
Jeff and his producers moved from hosting a show that our mothers and fathers can comfortably watch to hosting some sort of third-rate , Nigerian-style Reality show that was so cringe-worthy, so filled with uncomfortable moments and childish outbursts, we had to start watching it for the dramatic effects . Not to learn anything new.
He even started releasing teasers and shoddily-done posters onto the internet to advertise the next show and whip up the excitement. And kept inviting back some blogger-turned-Government praise-singer onto the show. And some activists too just watch the sparks go off , the hinges fall off and the blaze blow up.
He became an enemy of the truth. And a covert, sly purveyor of a warped, dubious Government agenda.
The moment Boniface Mwangi dramatically walked out of the JKL show Photo/ Twitter
And last night, to cap his terrible run as the host of The Bench on KTN, Jeff pulled off the stupidest stunt yet..A stunt that left a terrible taste in the mouth. He invited Moses Kuria, a known pothead, hate-monger, motormouth, busybody and irritant to the show just to try and spice up things as he’s known to. And also, to try and sanitize the Government by countering the hard-truths made by the indefatigable Boniface Mwangi.
Boniface immediately walked out of the trap. Out of the stupid set-up.
Boniface just couldn’t the same platform with, to quote him , 'hate-mongers, thieves, and their apologists'.
Jeff had promised Boniface that NO ONE ELSE would be invited to the show. But then he went and cheekily invited Dennis Itumbi, a known flunky and Moses Kuria, a sworn genocidal speech-maker to the show. Without Boniface’s knowledge!
Jeff and Mr Kuria then went on a little, senseless mea culpa that seemed to suggest that Jeff was not at all aware that Kuria would be walking into the show. A claim that Kuria supported by saying that he was just strolling around his favorite haunt Kempinski when he spotted his friend on the Bench, working, and decided to join in.
What utter nonsense!
Who just drags their bulky ass into a LIVE TV show? Or has KTN lost all decorum and manners manning a LIVE show? How did the crew allow some random Parliament dude to just stroll on to the set like it’s his brother’s cabbage stall in Mutindwa Market?
Thank fully, we are smarter than that, Gentlemen.
Last night, as Boniface Mwangi boldly walked away from that sham of a show, organized by Mr Koinange and the not-so-smart KTN production crew, the show sank to it’s lowest levels yet.
It’s a serious TV show about grand national corruption affecting millions of Kenyans goddamit!
Not some nonsensical Kardashian-style trash TV moment that you just throw about and hope for fireworks, ratings and sparks.
And you’re Jeff Konainge! Not Mike Sorrentino!
What an incredible incredible shame!
We need a new TV hero. The old one has become a puppet. A sad, manipulatable cartoon of the thieving ruling elite. A terrible player of showbiz and a poor cast member of a Reality Show gone awry.
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