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Denis Galava
NAIROBI: A 'Nation' editor has been suspended over an editorial that was deemed critical to President Uhuru Kenyatta and which management said was published without following editorial procedure.

Communication to staff said Denis Galava, the Managing Editor for Special Projects, had been asked "to take some time off to allow us time to review the circumstances of the writing and filing of the editorial for Saturday Nation, January 2, 2016."

While the statement noted the editorial independence at the Nation is absolute, it explained the action was taken because the editorial was not subjected to internal review.

"The lack of consultation and review of the editorial on the material day – where one writer takes a strong position on such an important issue single-handedly without broad discussion and consultation – is a significant departure from established procedure," read the statement by Tom Mshindi, Editor-in-Chief.

"This is the issue we are addressing and not necessarily the content of the editorial. I hope to communicate the findings of our review in a matter of days," it added. The action sparked online chatter.

The editorial was headlined "Mr President, get your act together this year" and its opening paragraph was: "2015 was a bad year for Kenya, all pillars of nationhood were tested and most were found wanting". It went on: "Some collapsed, some were seriously weakened, while others were desecrated beyond repair."

Yesterday, the statement explained that a full length editorial, a Page One commentary or an editorial expressing particularly strong views must first be discussed by senior editors in a conference as well as with the Editor-in-Chief.

"The purpose of this process of review and consultation is not so that the content is changed or censored. It is to prepare the leadership of the company to deal with the consequences, if any, of that publication," it said.

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