With revelations that the Nation Media Group Editor-In-Chief Tom Mshindi suggested to his line editors that they should ‘blackout’ Raila Odinga on the Eurobond saga, the CORD Leader wants the media house to come clean on the issue.
A credible source from Capitol Hill told this writer Mshindi has in the last three months attempted to meet Raila in more than six occasions.
It is now emerging that at the height of Raila’s agitation to have the government reveal how it utilized the sh140 billion Eurobond loan, which it has so far failed to do, Mshindi had attempted to black him out from the public debate on the issue.
The shocking revelations, contained in an explosive affidavit by suspended Nation Newspaper Editor Dennis Galava depicts Mshindi as media boss who was disinterested in the Eurobond saga despite the public interest the matter had generated.
Though Galava was suspended, then sacked, because of writing an editorial unrelated to the Eurobond saga, he builds his case on wrongful dismissal on a sequence of events which happened in the media house in the immediate period just before he was shown the door.
He traces the bad blood between him and Editor-in-Chief Mshindi from his refusal to be used as a pawn in a vicious war of control pitying Mshindi against other editors.
On Eurobond, Galava reveals Mshindi attempted to blackout Mr. Odinga because the media house had just mended its relationship with President Uhuru in a deal clinched between the president and owner of the Nation Media Group the Aga Khan.
In a series of emails correspondences, he urges the editors to ‘move on’ from the Eurobond story, claiming the scandal had reached a dead end.
“Guys, there is so much posturing going on about this Eurobond business” Mshindi wrote in an email to nation editors Mutuma Mathiu, Emmanuel Juma, Linus Kaikai and Eric Obino, adding, ”unless there is something our investigative team is doing to uncover whatever conspiracy there is, then our platforms are now being used as megaphones to repeat the same thing”.
Mshindi also claimed Raila had said his all and was only repeating himself. “Unless there is something new he is willing to share, this story is not progressing” he wrote.
As he concluded, he added a rider, insulting to any editor worth his or her salt, “Let us do serious journalism here”.
Interestingly, Mshindi’s attitude was more conspicuous among lower cadre nation journalists who covered Raila during this time, many who either asked irrelevant questions or openly dismissed Raila. One junior news presenter would go ahead to claim all the former PM was doing was merely ‘farting’.
But it is the exchanges that followed, which gives a rare behind-the-scenes clash between Mshindi and the editors, that reveal how the editors scoffed at Mshindi’s censorship theatrics. Linus Kaikai fired the first salvo.
“Eurobond and the many other corruption cases are grave matters of public interest…we don’t report these issues just because a particular politician speaks about them more regularly but because they matter to the public and remain largely unresolved,” he replied to Mshindi’s email.
In conclusion, he accused Mshindi, indirectly, of attempting to manage ‘political sensitivities’. Obino’s reply was even more direct, ”the Eurobond saga is far from over,” adding, ”to use Raila to block debate on a serious national issue involving billions of shillings will put us in a very precarious position”.
Rapuro on his part asked Mshindi if he was suggesting that Treasury had given satisfactory explanations to warrant the blackout he was suggesting on Raila.
“The point here is that any attempt to apply rational journalism to this matter gets nowhere because the authorities only find it befitting to respond to Raila, sometime [with] very wild claims” said Rapuro.
With these revelations, Raila is said to have dispatched a note of protest to the media house, protesting not only the affront to media freedom by attempts by Mshindi but also what appears to be a cover up by the media house of one of the grandest scams on the people of Kenya.
Mr. Odinga also wants the media house to reveal the deal between it and the state, and which Mr. Galava was punished for not keeping.
“Get it from me, he is reviewing his relationship with the Nation Media Group (NMG) and in the coming days, weeks and months it will be very clear to them that Mr. Odinga takes great exception at these revelations,” said a source privy to the matter.