Award-winning journalist Joshua Makori Ongechi went into private practice and operating his other businesses following his sacking from Royal Media Services (RMS) owned, Citizen TV in 2021.
His termination letter from the media house indicated that Ongechi was fired for allegedly extorting news sources. According to the letter, the veteran journalist sought monetary payments from news sources as to or not run their stories.
The letter indicated that Ongechi was served with a notice by management on February 8, 2021, followed by a disciplinary hearing on February 16, and March 9 the same year, which resulted in his termination. He, however, refuted the allegations and claimed that his firing was as a result of foul play from top leadership within the media house who attempted to come between him and his journalistic principles.
Since exiting the media, the journalist has embarked on a number of ventures to earn a living.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Ongechi was contracted by the Kenya Institute Of
Special Education (KISE) as a media consultant for 6 months from June 2021 to December 2021. KISE is a government institution that is in charge of special needs education.
“I revolutionized and organized media coverage on key areas of interest especially in informing Kenyans on the mandate of the institute. Being an electioneering period, I
succeeded in organizing a crucial engagement between the Country’s electoral body (IEBC) and the Kenya Institute of Special Education(KISE),” he says on his profile.
Azimiokuu Brand Africa Ltd
In May 2021, Ongechi founded Azimiokuu Brand Africa Limited – a Media and PR Company with a special interest in Communications, documentary Production and Advertising. Since then, he has produced at least two videos advertising Quiz pops and Exams App, both are revision smart applications for primary school pupils.
On September 24, 2021, he led a team to successfully organize a gala event at Kenyatta University that brought on board over 500 students. The event was graced by a number of local leaders and musicians.
“In October, I was one of the moderators of the East Africa Accountants Breakfast Seminar which was held at Villa Rosa Kempinski. The theme of the conference was: The Future Of Accounting And Finance Profession And Other Evolving Disruptors.”
Apart from operating his media company, Ongechi also embarked on a business venture that he pursued on the side while still an employee of RMS, though not that seriously. During his off days and hours, the journalist sold fruits and other agricultural produces on the side which earned him significant amounts of money.
Ongechi resorted back to ordering fruits and veggies such as tomatoes, avocados, and bananas from Kisii and selling them in Nairobi.
During a previous interview, he revealed that he wakes up at 3:30 am in the morning to receive the goods and with the help of his assistants, they distribute the fruits and are done by 6:00 am, after which they can proceed to do other activities for the rest of the day.
Ongechi explained that though the venture may appear diminutive to the general public, it raked in a good amount of money and allowed him flexible hours to perform other duties.
For this reason, he advises other journalists to always consider having a side hustle, drawing inspiration from his situation.
He, however, notes that being out of the media threatens his passion for informing the public and his love for education matters. For this reason, he does not rule out a comeback to the media should an opportunity present itself.