Details of 8 columnists who resigned from Nation citing government interference

Profiles of 8 columnists who resigned from Nation Media.

The massive exit of renowned experts and writers who opined on various issues majorly hitting at the Jubilee administration came on the heels of a settling dust of a major crackdown on the media by the State, which saw the closure of four top television stations for over a week, early February.

The government-enforced shut down of the four stations – NTV (owned by Nation Media), Citizen TV, KTN News and Inooro TV – was a culmination of the government’s earlier directive to control the coverage of the mock swearing-in fete of Opposition chief Raila Odinga.

The impact has been silencing of critical voices on critical issues – especially corruption - which is taking a toll on the Kenyan economy, including the axing of National Super Alliance chief strategist and Economist, Dr David Ndii, whose content in the Sunday Nation was terminated without “his knowledge, and learnt of it after several of his stories failed to appear in the paper.”

Pulselive.co.ke took some time to look at the profiles of key columnists who have bowed out of the widely read newspaper in the country, running over 170,000 copies per day.

George Kegoro

Mr Kegoro, a lawyer by profession, is the executive director of the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) who writes content for the Sunday Nation. He has been critical of the government’s persistent breach of constitution and rule of law. At the height of his criticism, has been the recent column in which he detailed various issues President Uhuru Kenyatta would never concede to Opposition chief Raila Odinga, just after the two rivals met.

Mr Kegoro has worked as the Executive Director of the Kenyan Section of the International Commission of Jurists and is an advocate of the High Court of Kenya. He has also served as Secretary to the Commission of Inquiry into the Post-Election Violence in Kenya in 2008.

In 2004, he served as Joint Secretary to the Commission of Inquiry into the Goldenberg scandal, one of Kenya’s greatest corruption scandals. It in fact, made Kenyans aware of the existence of graft in the country.

Previously, Kegoro was the secretary of the Law society of Kenya and also worked as a State Counsel in the office of the Attorney General and was responsible for legal research for purposes of law reform. This rich knowledge on democracy and election matters has been trashed.

Lynne Muthomi Wanyeki

Born of a Canadian mother and Kenyan father, Ms Wanyeki is a political scientist, commentator and human rights activist who once served as the Director of Open Society Foundation and columnist in Saturday Nation and The East African (a paper that circulates in East African Community region).

Ms Wanyeki is also the former Executive Director of the Kenya Human Rights Commission and former Executive Director of the African Women's Development and Communication Network (FEMNET). She is perceived as having been critical of the government.

Father Gabriel Dolan

As Catholic mission Priest and Saturday Nation columnist, Dolan, as commonly known has been critical in uniting the Government and the clergy for the peace in Kenya, since 2008. His entry into writing for the paper is understood to have been inspired by the melee that followed the 2007/2008 elections.

The Daily Nation describes Fr Dolan as “a missionary who has worked across the country, including in Kitale, Turkana and Mombasa, where he is currently based.”

Rasna Warah

She possesses a rare and valuable combination of qualities: absolute clarity of expression, a keen eye for the lies, contradictions and pomposities of modern society, a driving hunger for justice, and a huge compassion for her fellow Kenyans.

From 1994 till 2009 she worked for the United Nations as editor of the State of the World’s Cities report and Habitat Debate, and has written for a variety of international and regional publications, including the Mail and Guardian, The East African, Cityscapes, State of the World, UN Chronicle and Kwani?.

Ms Warah has authored and published four non-fiction books: Mogadishu Then and Now (2012), Red Soil and Roasted Maize (2011); Missionaries, Mercenaries and Misfits (2008) and Triple Heritage (1998). Her research interests include the politics of aid, urbanization, and questions surrounding identity in Kenya

Maina Kiai

An avid lawyer trained at the University of Nairobi and Harvard University. Mr. Kiai has spent the last 20 years campaigning for human rights and constitutional reform in Kenya – notably as founder and Executive Director of the unofficial Kenya Human Rights Commission, and then as Chairman of Kenya’s National Human Rights Commission (2003-2008), where he won a national reputation for his courageous and effective advocacy against official corruption, in support of political reform, and against impunity following the violence that convulsed Kenya in 2008, resulting in thousands of deaths.

From July 2010 to April 2011, Mr. Kiai was the Executive Director of the International Council on Human Rights Policy, a Geneva-based think-tank which used to produce research reports and briefing papers with policy recommendations.

Mr. Kiai was also the Director of Amnesty International’s Africa Programme (1999-2001), and the Africa Director of the International Human Rights Law Group (now Global Rights, 2001-2003). He held research fellowships at the Danish Institute for Human Rights (Copenhagen), the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (Washington), and the TransAfrica Forum (Washington).

Mr. Kiai has regularly been an advocate informing and educating Kenyans through various media channels about their human rights. He is a Sunday Nation columnist.

Gabrielle Lynch

Professor of comparative politics at University of Warwick and Saturday Nation columnist; Gabrielle studied at the University of Oxford for a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, an MPhil in Politics, and a DPhil in Politics.

She joined the department in 2011 after holding posts at Newcastle University, Keele University, and the University of Leeds. Her last piece in the Daily Nation sought to contrast how development, security, ethnicity and politics are intertwined.

Nick Cheeseman

Dr Cheeseman is Professor of Democracy at the University Of Birmingham, UK, the author of Democracy in Africa, and a columnist for the Sunday Nation.

He is the author of Democracy in Africa: Successes, failures and the struggle for political reform (CUP, 2015) and over twenty journal articles including "Rethinking the 'presidentialism debate': Conceptualizing coalitional politics in cross-regional perspective" (Democratization, 2014).

Professor Cheeseman is also the editor of the collections Our Turn to Eat: Politics in Kenya Since 1950 (2010), The Handbook of African Politics (2013), and African Politics: Major Works (2016), and two special issues of the Journal of Eastern African Studies on the Kenyan elections of 2007 and 2013.

Kwamchetsi Makokha

He is a Programme advisor at Justice for Journalists and columnist for Daily and Saturday Nation and is attached at the University of Nairobi’s School of Journalism.

Mr. Makokha is a former editor with Nation Media Group and is currently a Partner at Form & Content Consultancy, based in Nairobi. He writes the irreverent satire column Politically Correct in the Saturday Nation.

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