He has rattled many snakes in his popular exclusive investigative series Jicho Pevu, aired on KTN. This has made him receive chilling death threats and has even been framed for petty crimes. Not surprisingly, his mother is constantly worried sick about his safety. But MOHAMMED ALI says what he does is like an addiction. He spoke to NJOKI CHEGE
His lean frame belies his astounding bravery and ability to ruffle feathers. Mohammed Ali or Moha as he is fondly referred to by many has redefined investigative journalism in Kenya, setting the precedent and bar very high for other journalists who would want to pursue it.
Born in Isiolo, the third born of five children, belongs to the sparsely populated Borana community. When he was three months old, Moha’s family moved to Thika, where he spent a better part of his early life. His was a simple childhood and has had a taste of both sides of life; the affluent and the disadvantaged, having grown up in Thika’s Kiandutu slums. He attended Thika Muslim Primary School and later moved to Nakuru for his OLevels.
Says Moha: “I am a Kenyan because I have interacted with all communities in the country and even learnt some dialects. I don’t see myself as Borana, because what matters is that we are all Kenyans.”
Moha attended NewsLink Institute of Journalism for a Diploma in Journalism and later Moi University for a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication and Public Relations.
Thereafter he landed his first job at KBC then joined Pwani FM where he worked for nine months without pay until he decided enough was enough. Moha then moved to another coastal-based radio station, Radio Salaam, before joining KTN in 2007.
“I started out as a reporter, attending press conferences and reproducing the press releases, until I decided I wanted to do something more rewarding and worthwhile,” he says.
The turning point, Moha reveals, was back in 2007 when police brutally attacked Mathare residents who were said to be members of the outlawed Mungiki sect.
“I saw innocent men, women and children being subjected to police brutality, which broke my heart. I decided to follow up the story and take a different approach,” he says.
Little did Moha know that this was just the beginning of a colourful and rewarding, albeit risky career in investigative journalism.
Moha has since then become a household and permanent resident of living rooms, bringing Kenyans several well-researched and daring investigative exposes.