Kenya: Outgoing CEO explains how Nation Media Group supported peace initiative during 2008 post-election violence
"EA is ripe for business; Nation’s success in the region is proof"
[Question:} Running NMG required you to navigate different political landscapes. How was the experience?
[Answer:] That is one of the areas that one has had to grow in. What I am grateful for — and thank the Nation Media Group, the Editorial Board Committee and the journalists — is the fact that we are independent and responsible. But not everybody believes that...I remember the 2007-2008 post-election period in Kenya. We would have meetings with the Editorial Board Committee and say: “This is Kenya on trial, what do we do?” One of the things we did, which we hardly ever talk about —...we agreed to bring together anybody who had been associated with peace to talk and start changing the narrative.
Because what was coming from everywhere was bloodshed and the newspaper was all about bloodshed. We managed to get Bethwel Kiplagat, Lt-Gen (Rtd) Daniel Opande and other leaders, who formed the Concerned Citizens for Peace. As soon as they got together, we stepped back because we wanted all the media in Kenya to benefit from a new narrative that would bring peace. Shortly after, Nation Media Group vans were burnt in different parts of the country, and I remember flying to Kisumu and walking in the streets with local leaders to demonstrate that NMG was independent. They took me to the bus stop and market and we saw people from different communities working together, and this was covered by our media outlets. This helped to diffuse some of the tensions...