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Vilification of Wanjigi violates his rights

COMMENTARY
By Joseph Lister Nyaringo | July 10th 2017

In a democracy, it is the people who define the type of leaders they vote for or associate with. Businessman Jimi Wanjigi, in exercising his democratic right, has chosen to support Opposition leader Raila Amolo Odinga for president in the August 8 elections.

Therefore, the grotesque picture painted of Wanjigi’s personality by a section of the media, early this week, left a lot to be desired.

I’m not holding brief for Wanjigi or trying to question the authenticity of what the media said about him, but the dossier left both friend and foe with more questions than answers.

Belated expose

First of all, the timing of the dossier is suspect since he has already been mentioned many times to be associated with Raila’s presidential bid through the National Super Alliance (NASA).

What is even more ironical is why the media failed to bring out the dossier when Wanjigi was in Jubilee... having supported President Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto’s ticket in 2013.

It appears the highly researched story was kept in a lock box waiting for the right time to unleash it. Waiting four years for Wanjigi to jump ship from Jubilee to the Opposition portrays a vendetta against the businessman. I wonder if the same would have happened if he was still in Jubilee.

This trend of vilifying individuals who associate with Raila is not only barbaric but a travesty to freedom of association.

Both Raila and Wanjigi are Kenyans who should associate freely and make political decisions independently without raising eyebrows.

Wrong priorities

Raila, like any candidate running for office, cannot vet the integrity of those who support him if at all the issues raised in the media about Wanjigi's integrity is something to go by.

It must be remembered that Wanjigi, has never served in Government. Never been board member of any private or public corporation.

Secondly, he has never been hounded in a court of law to be judged of any offence.

If all the financial dealings Wanjigi is associated with were true as per the media reports, how come he has not been judged in a court of law?

Can we then conclude that that the current Government is using the media to blackmail anybody associated with Raila?

Vilifying Wanjigi and invading his privacy is not only inhuman but unprofessional. Kenya has gone through a lot.

We have individuals with questionable records who should be investigated and the truth laid bare.

Kenyans want to see the media unravel what happened with Chicken gate, Ministry of Health and the NYS scandals, to mention but a few.

Let the fourth estate tell us how much is hidden in offshore accounts and who is behind it if they care about the financial future of the country.

I also want to challenge the media to investigate the gurus of Triton Oil, Chicken Gate, NYS and many other scandals which have bedevilled the country and are sitting pretty comfortable; enjoying their loot.

Freedom of association

Even if Wanjigi has issues, why should Raila decline to associate with him? After all, we live in a very evil age. No one is good; except God. The Bible reminds us in Luke 18:19.

Let Wanjigi be! He is not an angel and if he has done anything wrong, he should be subjected to the due process.

Character assassination, through splashy headlines to appease some Government apologists, is not ethical in journalism.

A section of the Fourth Estate is fond of depicting Raila and his supporters in bad light, yet the NASA presidential candidate has fought for media freedom as a tool for democracy and information in the country for many decades.

In fact, this is like sheltering a refuge in your house who later threatens to kill you and your children. Why can’t they just appreciate what Raila has done and accord him some respect?

Challenges

The media needs to give prominence to the myriad challenges facing the country like the cholera outbreak in Weston Hotel and the IEBC ballot tender saga because the two issues affect the lives of Kenyans than the Wanjigi story.

After all, blackmailing an individual merely because of his political affiliations is not right.

Mr Nyaringo is based in New Jersey, USA

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