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Esther Githui-Ewart: The Voa Journalist Who Put DP Ruto in a Tight Corner

By Isaac Blessings

Deputy President William Ruto is currently on a tour in the United Kingdom after completing his US trip a day ago. During one of his US tours, the second in command did an interview with Voice of America (VOA) on Friday, March 4, 2022. The interview was conducted by a Kenyan born journalist, Esther Githui-Ewart, who pulled no punches in her questions to the DP.

Many Kenyans have since then wondered who the journalist is and how she made it into one of the leading media houses in America. Well, worry no more because, in this article, WoK brings you Esther’s story

Career Journey

Esther Githui-Ewart began her career in Kenya with the government-owned Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC). At KBC she worked with renowned presenters and News Anchors such as Louis Otieno and Badi Muhsin.

File image of VOA news anchor Esther Githui-Ewart. |Courtesy| Facebook|
File image of VOA news anchor Esther Githui-Ewart. |Courtesy| Facebook|

Highlighted as one of her major achievements, Esther interviewed late President Daniel Arap Moi in 2001 at the peak of the campaign elections that saw the end of the Kenya African National Union (KANU) regime.

At the time, everyone feared the president and no one would dare ask the Head of State tough questions, but not for Githui who hard-pressed the old man seeking answers as to why KANU should remain in power.

After a successful career at KBC, she closed the chapter and joined Voice of America (VOA).

Joining Voice of America  (VOA)

VOA is funded by the United States government and produces digital content for both Television and Radio in 47 languages with affiliate stations across different parts of the world.

Githui joined VOA through one of its subsidiaries that broadcasts in the Swahili language, VOA Swahili Service.

She is currently the Lead Anchor and writer for VOA English –to-Africa’s ‘Africa 54’ – a daily television news program for sub-Saharan Africa.

“She is one of the lead editorial voices on Africa 54 and serves as lead anchor, writer, futures planner, live guest producer and VOA NBS reporter,” reveals a section of her introduction in VOA’s website.

She has previously worked as the host of VOA’s Africa Journal – a weekly call-in television program and anchored Special Report Africa – a weekly lifestyle television magazine program sharing human interest stories of the African continent and the diaspora.

Achievements

She was the first VOA reporter to interview US President Barack Obama in 2004 when he was running for the Illinois, Chicago senatorial seat.

While hosting ‘Special Report Africa’ Githui was able to interview political heavyweights and high profile guests such as the late Nobel Peace Laureate winner Prof. Wangari Maathai, Ashley Judd-a renowned American actress and UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador, and the late legendary American boxing champion Joe Frazier.

She also got an opportunity to interview famous South African musicians such as jazz trumpeter – Hugh Masekela and smooth jazz guitarist- Jonathan Butler.

During her stint at VOA, Githui has interviewed a couple of heads of state including Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2015 and 2018 and U.S President George W. Bush at the White House in 2002.

She has also interviewed several US Assistant Secretaries of State for African Affairs serving under several US administrations such as Ambassador Johnnie Carson, Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield, Ambassador Susan Rice, Ambassador Jendayi Frazer and Walter H. Kansteiner III.

Other notable individuals include a New Jersey Congress Republican – Chris Smith and California Democratic Congresswoman – Karen Bass. She also covered the breaking news on Kenya’s Westgate terrorist attack by suspected Al-Shabaab militants in 2013.

Interview with Deputy President William Ruto

Githui in her interview with Deputy President William Ruto, appeared to corner and hard-press the second in command as she sought answers on how he plans to solve issues affecting Kenyans if elected president in the August 9, General elections.

VOA news anchor Esther Githui-Ewart interviews Deputy President William Ruto. |Courtesy| Facebook|
VOA news anchor Esther Githui-Ewart interviews Deputy President William Ruto. |Courtesy| Facebook|

“Because you lost direction, Kenyans lost direction. This is the bigger binding issue. Look, I come from there, you know what is here in America, people are going to confront you and ask you the same kinds of questions. The economy of Kenya has gone so bad, people have lost their minds…What is wrong with the Kenyan fabric? It is not good at all. How are you going to address that?” Githui asked the Deputy President.

William Ruto responded by acknowledging the problems and revealing that his administration if elected, will resolve the issues through the bottom-up economic model.

“It is true that we have an issue, but it is not as bad as you make it look. It is not out of control. When it comes to the issue of the government failing to feed its population, it is because we dropped the ball along the way. The fact that we removed the agricultural subsidy as the government, the whole farming chain was affected,” Ruto explained.