Media Bosses And Journalists Openly Supporting Raila Odinga’s Presidency

Media Bosses And Journalists Openly Supporting Raila Odinga's Presidency
From Left: RMS Owner S.K. Macharia, Dennis Onsarigo, and James Smart. |Photo| Courtesy|

The August 9, 2022, General Elections in Kenya are proving to be nerve-racking with the winner of the presidential polls yet to be announced as of August 13. Deputy President William Ruto of the Kenya Kwanza Alliance and Azimio La Umoja – One Kenya coalition party flagbearer Raila Odinga, the two most popular candidates in the elections are going at it neck to neck.

In 2017, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEBC) was on the spot after it failed to open its serves after the opposition and members of the public decried vote rigging. In 2022, the commission opened its servers and people from around the world can access the forms and tally for themselves.

However, despite the transparency by IEBC, many media stations stopped tallying the votes midway, arousing criticism from Kenyans for what has been alleged to be unfair coverage. A number of media houses have been criticised for being partisan in this election, with others openly campaigning for ODM Leader Raila Odinga.

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In this article, WoK takes a look at some of the media bosses and journalists that have openly shown support for the former prime minister.

S.K Macharia

The Royal Media Services (RMS) owner has openly campaigned for Odinga since the 2017 general election. Macharia, a member of the Mount Kenya Foundation which comprises several other billionaires and influential people from Central Kenya has openly and repeatedly called upon Kenyans to elect the former premier.

RMS media stations Citizen TV, Inooro TV, among others have often been accused of unfair coverage when it comes to Kenya Kwanza functions, while according ample coverage to the Azimio brigade.

Gideon Moi

The former Baringo Senator owns The Standard Media Group (SMG) which is the parent company of The Standard Newspaper, The Nairobian, KTN Home, KTN News, Spice FM, and Radio Maisha. He is also the Chairman of KANU Party which is a member of the Azimio La Umoja – One Kenya coalition.

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On a number of occasions, the Standard and KTN have been accused of biased coverage of political events in the country, favouring Azimio which is led by Odinga.

Gideon endorsed Odinga’s presidency and was a key figure in convincing Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka not to run for president and instead back Odinga.

Dennis Onsarigo

Onsarigo is an experienced journalist and worked in some of the country’s largest media houses including Nation Media Group (NMG) and SMG. The former investigative journalist is known for Case Files and Inside Story which were featured on KTN.

He was appointed as Press Secretary in Odinga’s 2022 presidential campaign secretariat early this year.

Robert Alai

The newly elected Member of the Nairobi County Assembly for Kileleshwa Ward is associated with Kahawatungu.

Alai was elected to the Nairobi County Assembly on an ODM ticket and has been a supporter of Odinga.

James Smart

Veteran journalist James Smart is also a supporter of Odinga. The NTV journalist has on several occasions revealed his support for the former Prime Minister as evidenced by some of his tweets.

Linus Kaikai

The Citizen TV editorial chief has on several occasions been called out by members of the public for openly showing bias towards the Azimio La Umoja presidential candidate.

Kaikai, however, in an interview with the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) stated that a number of RMS journalists are being profiled for alleged biased coverage of Kenya’s political events.

“(RMS) journalists are being profiled as favouring Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition for the simple reason that our chairman and proprietor (SK Macharia) has declared his preference and is actively taking part in the campaigns for Raila Odinga. He has made it very public.

“We have made repeated assertions and given the public assurances that the position of the chairman doesn’t affect our editorial leaning but it’s not accepted,” Kaikai explained.

Seth Olale

The Citizen TV journalist has also on occasion been perceived as biased towards Raila Odinga. His utterances on the former premier and coverage of Azimio events has led Kenyans to profile him as a supporter of the former premier.

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