Bungoma County Governor Wycliffe Wangamati’s regime is again trending in bad light as panelists of a mainstream media shamed it for allegedly frustrating journalists in accessing crucial information.
In a live broadcast by NTV’s talk show #PressPass hosted by news anchor Mark Maasai, the panelists were discussing the role of journalists in Devolution across Counties in timely review of the ongoing 2019 Devolution Conference being held in Kirinyanga County.
Maasai had invited USIUS media lecturer Dr. Dorothy Njoroge, Kenya Correspondents Association Chairperson Oloo Jonak and Kenya Union of Journalists Secretary-General Eric Oduor to review the challenges the County Correspondents face while covering Devolution activities.
However, attention of the panelists turned to Bungoma County which Mr Oduor bashed for allegedly frustrating journalists.
This was after a Bungoma-based popular Blogger Simiyu Wakajuaness had posted a tweet about the poor working relationship between the leadership of the Bungoma County Government led by Governor Wycliffe Wafula Wangamati and the local media stations.
“A County like Bungoma has very poor working r/ship with local media stations. Most of the media houses here have resolved to only be covering negative news and not the Governor’s projects,” read the tweet from Blogger Wakajuaness which captured the attention of Mark Masaai and displayed on NTV’s live broadcast screen.
“There’s something about profiling here and it’s on Blogger Wa-ka-jua-ness, I think that is the spelling of pronouncing it,” started Maasai as he read the tweet to millions of viewers who watch the popular program from all corners of the Country and abroad.
A County like Bungoma has very poor working r/ship with local media stations. Most of the media houses here have resolved to only be covering negative news and not the Governor's projects. @MarkMasai@ntvkenya #presspass#DevCon2019 #DevolutionConference2019 #TheBigStory
— Blogger Wakajuaness (@wakajuaness) March 4, 2019
But while reacting in support for the County’s most followed blogger’s tweet, Mr Oduor heavily criticised Governor Wangamati’s Government for frustrating journalists and allegedly denying them crucial information for their coverages.
“I just want to say something about profiling and something has been said about Bungoma County. Bungoma County is one of the Counties that has been reported… having made it difficult for journalists to operate” Said Oduor.
“The Governor is not willing to co-operate with the journalists.” Watch the video here.
Governor Wycliffe Wangamati’s popularity that gave him the victory over former Governor Kenneth Lusaka-turned Senate Speaker has lately been worrying as his team struggles to showcase his work so far.
Several local journalists have on various occasions skipped his events with local editors accusing him of favouring NTV and Sulwe FM for his PR.
Since coming into power, Governor Wangamati’s has had a documentary and news feature air on NTV in a span of six months but overlooking local TV stations.
As a result, several local reporters have sort solace covering negative stories in Governor Wycliffe Wangamati’s regime than his development projects.
A number of Wangamati’s cabinet members who have spoken to Wakajuanes.Com in the past have decried lack of serious magnification of the Governor’s projects tailed by lack of massive coverage from the media.
His critics are now using this to sell the perspective that “he has done nothing”.
And yet the Governor’s communication team is so lazy that at some point last year, they plagiarised Blogger Wakajuaness’s blog post from this site and published on the Governor’s Official Facebook Page after deleting the writer’s name that was appearing in the article and presented it as their own.
The Governor later apologised to Blogger Wakajuaness in person after feeling embarrassed by his heavily-paid Communication department headed by former Standard Business Sub-Editor Timothy Machi.
A week a go, one of the Governor’s communication team member was summoned to record a statement at the Bungoma Police Station after allegedly referring to a local female journalist as a ‘prostitute’ on highly respected WhatsApp group. See screenshot below.
Mercy Ngoya, a former reporter with KBC, had just shared an audio of Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa who was calling for sobriety in Governor Wangamati’s media team and asking them to stop being abusive towards critics.
This comes even at time when theNTV panelists were highlighting the threats some female journalists face while covering County stories across the country.
The mention of Governor Wangamati’s alleged behaviour towards local journalists could probably raise more eyebrows at the Devolution Conference whose Trade and Finance Committee he chairs.