I have read Larry Madowo’s attempt to rationalize his offensive tweet insulting Raila Odinga in an article on DAILY NATION titled “This is what happens when you upset Raila Odinga supporters”.
He waxes on so many things but not the central issue that so offended many of us. I’ll return to this later.
Soon after Raila Odinga gave a detailed chronology of events leading to the disappearance of sh140 billion of the Eurobond cash (a narrative that is yet to be challenged beyond the insults and mudslinging that has become typical of Jubilee way of responding to accountability questions) mainstream media in Kenya reduced Raila’s presentation to just one issue: names.
Larry Madowo would join this ‘team insults’: “Show of hands, who else was expecting an explosive list from Raila Odinga and all we got was nothing more than a fart?” he tweeted. Moses Kuria would join him: “I was really waiting for Raila’s Eurobond Expose. What did we get? All fart and no shit”.
In Kenya today, ‘issues framing’ starts and ends at ‘name dropping’. This kind of journalism, where nothing makes sense beyond the names, is a new phenomenon. The frustration with Odinga’s refusal to name drop therefore registered on so many journalists. You could see the exasperation.
For Jubilee politicians, Raila’s decision not to name any politician in the ‘persons of interest’ also denied them the opportunity to politicize the issue.
Larry’s problem with Raila is that his list was not ‘explosive’. He says nothing at all about the list Mr. Odinga issues.
Now, Raila didn’t create the impression that his list would be ‘explosive’. He said he would name persons involved in Eurobond theft. Mark the word ‘involved’. And yes, he named them.
Mainstream media (where Madowo is such a big thing) looking for a way to sensationalise the issues surrounding Eurobond, created the ‘explosive list’ framing.
So what is an ‘explosive list’? Who was Raila suppose to include in the list to make it ‘explosive’? How long was it to be to be ‘explosive’?
Raila named individuals. Henry Rotich. Njuguna Ndung’u. Kamau Thugge. Joseph Kinyua. Mohammed Nyaoga. Et cetera.
These are people who work (or worked) in the nation’s financial system at the time this Eurobond scam surfaced. Save for Prof. Njuguna Ndung’u, many of these people still work in the sector.
In civilized nations, whenever questions on financial impropriety arise in government of the day; these are the first people to ask those questions.
Each of these people named know something about Eurobond. By virtue of their positions, and authority, they know something.
Raila Odinga didn’t call them thieves of Eurobond. He referred to them as ‘persons of interest’.
In my mind – and I am no journalist – the moment he called those names I knew he (Raila) wanted each of them to state what they knew, and when they knew it, because of their positions and authority – on the Eurobond.
Raila Odinga didn’t mention everyone working at Treasury, at CBK or everywhere in the government of president Uhuru and his Deputy.
Treasury, where Mr. Rotich and Dr. Thugge, has since then been trying to explain some of the issues Mr. Odinga raised.
If all Mr. Odinga did was to ‘fart’, is Treasury, in full page paid newspaper adverts costing millions of shillings, only explaining Mr. Odinga’s fart?
Larry Madowo may think he is high-flying now. Being an NTV presenter is such a big deal.
However, we’ve seen more hubris by other kenyan journalists than what he is dishing.
Be that as it may, people like Larry Madowo only serve to distract us from the real issues. He is a non-issue in the larger scheme of things.
It will be slow, even tasteless to follow, but this Eurobond scam is so huge Prof. Larry Madowo should bear with us.
We understand he is such a big thing in Nation newsrooms. All we ask of him is to bear with us.
No need to insult Raila Odinga and no need to write those stuff he wrote about ‘Raila supporters’. We are not the problem, thieves of the state are.