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Killing the messenger: the deadly cost of information in Kenya

By Yussuf A. Korow

Jacob Juma

Mr. Jacob Juma

The assassination of controversial business man, Jacob Juma opens a new page in the history of killing the messenger in Kenya. Jacob Juma’s recent tweets clearly signified the impending assassination plan against him. Hours after the tweets, Kenyans woke up to the breaking news of Juma’s killing. He was killed inside his vehicle while driving to his Karen home.

Murder and intimidation of Kenyan bloggers, journalists, Activists, commentators and all other messengers has off late become the norm.

In addition to any blogger or activist who have been killed, dozens have been attacked, and jailed in connection with their coverage of crime and corruption in Kenya since the Jubilee government came to office

In December 2006, the UN Security Council unanimously passed landmark Resolution 1738 which demanded greater safety for journalists and activist in conflict areas and called for an end to impunity for their killers.

Since the UN resolution was passed, over 700 news media workers or activist  have been killed, while more have been imprisoned or have simply disappeared while on the job In Sub-Saharan countries in Africa.

Journalists and messengers from Kenya tell their own stories of intimidation, and beatings. They’ve experienced the loss of colleagues in the field and have been close to death themselves. Their stories are heartfelt, captivating, engaging and at moments unbelievable.

If no story or message is worth a life, then why is murder the number one cause of Bloggers, activist deaths in Kenya?

Kenyans must condemned the killing of Mr. Jacob Juma and other several attempt on the lives of other journalists, bloggers and activist who are really true messengers informing innocent Kenyans on the inside bad dealings of the government.

There is a sense of insecurity among journalists and activist in Kenya and the government should take solid steps for their protection,  the government must come clean in this matter, and inform Kenyans what exactly happened and who murdered businessman Mr. Juma,  Kenyans deserve a godly answer, nothing but the truth.

Kenyans deserve the right to get their democratic right of free freedom of information and association as enshrined in the constitution. And the government must fathom and protect our constitutional rights at all cost, despite our political affiliation and ethnicity. You can kill the messenger, but the message remains on the wall.

The writer Mr. Yussuf Ali Korow is Ag. Director of communication and head of Governor’s press service, County government of Garissa.

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