Deputy President William Ruto has started a campaign to discredit and demean news organisations so that the public will not believe negative stories about him as his 2022 presidential bid kicks into high gear.
Ruto’s 2022 bid is, arguably, in trouble, partly because of the unity between President Uhuru Kenyatta – his ally until March 2018 – and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, and the Building Bridge Initiative (BBI) that seeks to change the way Kenya is being governed. Now, he wants to ramp it up by demeaning his real and perceived enemies including the media.
Ruto has also weaponized ‘fake news’ language to attack the free press.
In mid-October, he posted a tweet bashing a news headline by People Daily newspaper about a possible clash between him and President Kenyatta over the BBI.
“NONSENSE. The politics of personality cults that breed negative ethnicity and division as it poisons our nation are primitive and beneath us. We will agree as Jubilee established as a national movement which elevate our discourse to the realm of IDEAS & ISSUES and not personality,” he wrote on Twitter.
Recently, he has called Kenya’s leading newspaper, the Daily Nation ‘Fake News’, saying it should ‘it should either register as a political party then compete with Jubilee or operate a gutter journal for makotsi to run.’ His comment came after the Daily Nation published a report about the deteriorating relationship between him and President Kenyatta, after the president refused Ruto’s plea to call for a Jubilee parliamentary group.
Ruto’s use of the term ‘Fake News’ has become persistent. His attacks play well with those who support him, making them to believe negative stories about him were sponsored by his political opponents.
“The now persistent, obviously sponsored FAKE NEWS by hired bankrupt media that finds it difficult to make a sale without the name Ruto. Bure kabisa. Riswa!” he wrote on Twitter after Daily Nation published a story on a land ownership row involving the deputy president.
According to Daily Nation, a lobby group wrote to the directorates of Criminal Investigations and Public Prosecution as well as to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission seeking to have Ruto investigated over an irregular purchase of a 900-acre parcel of vast ranch belonging to former Vice President Joseph Murumbi.
“Kenyans can see through standard media’s desperate gutter journalism lies of drama,” he said after The Standard newspaper carried out a story headlined ‘Uhuru in new airport drama over Ruto ally.’ In another incident, he called The Standard ‘fertile evil and notoriously desperate.
The deputy president accuses media outlets of using his name ‘Ruto’ to get audience – suggesting without mentioning his name, people won’t buy or read newspapers.
His attacks on the media don not just threaten truth; they create an atmosphere in which journalists are in real danger. This attack will erode the democratic ideals of this country.
Maybe the deputy president wants to be deputy-editor. Ruto is a man who cannot stand to be questioned and he feels the heat from the BBI proposals which could scuttle his wild ambitions. Attacking the media could be his one of his campaign agenda for 2022.
Although mainstream media get facts rights for the most part, they do make mistakes, and need to do better and improve on their reporting based on facts and truth.
News organisations in Kenya need to continue to do their jobs, and do them better than ever, and never succumb to threats from politicians like William Ruto.
Why President Farmajo Follows No One on Twitter
President Mohamed Farmajo isn’t reading a tweet from another human
Since joining Twitter in December 2016 when he was running for office, Somali President Mohamed Farmajo has acquired more than 274,000 followers, but he follows only one account.
The president follows an account run by his office, Villa Somalia, shaping his entire Twitter experience around 140 characters tweets by a single account, which is not even a person. He is not reading a tweet from another human, and has tweeted 544 times as of November 30.
He is followed by most of his government officials including Prime Minister Hassan Kheyre, who himself follows two other accounts; Villa Somalia and Somalia PM which is run by his office. Kheyre has close to 78,000 followers.
Farmajo may have chosen not to view other people’s posts and stories, turning out distractions. He may want to show he is maintaining focus on what he is doing, keeping his eye on what matters most, not people’s tweets.
People use Twitter to disseminate and receive information, share their thoughts, learn and interact with others. So, why isn’t Farmajo following anyone?
The president may not want to be dragged into Somalia’s growing political crisis, or he does not give a crap what others have to say. US President Donald Trump, the world’s most-followed leader on Twitter, follows 47 accounts.
Twitter is a very conversational social platform, allowing users to communicate in a very public manner.
In 2019, 187 countries were represented through an official presence on Twitter, either by personal or institutional accounts run by heads of state and government and foreign ministers.
A ‘Stray’ Bullet Killed a Former Somali Diplomat. Then a Journalist Was Detained.
A Somali-British journalist, who was with Almas Elman when she was skilled by a ‘stray bullet’ inside Mogadishu’s heavily-fortified Halane camp on November 20, has been detained over her murder.
Said Fadhaye remains in detention more than a week after Almas was shot dead inside the heavily-fortified Halane camp near the Mogadishu airport because ‘he was the only person seated next to her inside a car when the bullet hit her.’
President Mohamed Farmajo’s National Security Advisor Abdi Said Muse Ali said Said Fadhaye is being investigated over the murder of Almas. The government confiscated his passport to prevent him from leaving the country.
African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) said a stray bullet killed Almas. Almas was leaving a peace meeting in Halane camp and was heading to the airport at the time.
“Pending a final report, preliminary investigations indicate Ms. Elman was hit by a stray bullet, especially as no firearm discharge was reported within the base camp at the time of the incident,” said a an Amisom statement.
The peacekeeping mission promised to conduct a full investigation with Somali security forces and other agencies.
According to local reports, the vehicle had a total of three people, the driver, a male passenger and the deceased Almas who was seated in the back seat behind the driver.
The Elman family questioned the Amisom account, and called for a joint investigation by Canadian and Somali authorities to find out how she was killed in a military-controlled compound in Mogadishu.
“Any statements on the circumstances surrounding the death of Almas are premature and not helpful to our family, including speculation on whether this was a ‘stray bullet,’” the family said.
The Somali criminal investigations department (CID) has launched investigations into the cause of Almas’ mysterious death.
Almas, a Somali-Canadian peace activist and a former diplomat, grew up in Ottawa after her family fled the civil war in Somalia. Her father, peace activist Elman Ali Ahmed, was murdered in Mogadishu in 1996. Her mother, Fartuun Adan, founded the Elman Peace Centre in Somalia, and her sister, Ilwad Elman, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize this year for her work in Somalia.
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