Robert Ouma: Fired Switch TV News Anchor Turned Matatu Tout

By Isaac Blessings

Without a clear exit or savings plan, life can literally push you to the edge once you lose your job especially if it was your only source of livelihood. No one cares who you are or what you are going through and so in order to get bills paid, you have to put aside your status and ego and work hard just like everyone else. 

This is the story of one Robert Ouma who lost his job as a News Anchor at Switch TV and took a job as a Matatu tout to at least earn a living.

The Closure of Switch TV 

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On December 10th 2021, Switch TV made a big change in its business model and operation which saw it transform from on air to digital broadcasting. In a statement released by Sahil Shah who is the chairman of the Media Group, the company stated that it was focused on the growing digital space as from early 2022. It revealed that the decision was pushed by the market demand in the audiovisual and digital space that is famous among young people. 

“In character with our core philosophy of being responsive to the needs of the youth and with the ambition to become the go-to media platform for the young generation, Switch Media has made a conscious decision to build a new strategy around being the first digital TV in Kenya. We hope to grow this brand together with the technology that comes with it. We assure our stakeholders of our continued presence and support,” Shah stated.

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The station further announced that it will be launching new exciting features, products and services slowly by slowly as it evolves in the digital space. With such a shift in business model comes consequences and in this case the company had to come to terms that it needed to relieve some employees of their duties. Robert Ouma who was a Swahili News Anchor in the station was among those who lost their jobs during that period.

Turning from News Anchor to Matatu Tout

After unexpectedly losing his prestigious job as a News Anchor at the Red-cross owned TV Station, Ouma knew that he had to do anything and everything in his power to at least put a meal on the table. On Thursday, January 20th he took to social media to share photos of his new workplace, a move that surprised his followers and left many commenting and leaving both negative and positive feedback.

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He however stated that he is content and satisfied with his new job saying, “an office is nothing but a name, let’s work. Tout of the week. Rongai massive.” Speaking to online media, he further revealed that he decided to take up the job in order to meet his needs and he does not regret the transition. However, he hasn’t given up on his journalism career. He is actively applying and seeking opportunities in the media industry.