Only God can stop me

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.

Out of this awakening moment, the popular Jicho Pevu series, which airs on KTN, was born. 

Moha has since then become a household and permanent resident of  living rooms, bringing Kenyans several well-researched and daring investigative exposes.

One such series is the recent Paruwanja la Mihadarati (The Untouchables), which touched several key government officials, exposing the truth behind the Artur brothers’ saga. The two Armenian brothers are masterminds of the 2006 Standard Group raid.


But Moha’s work is not without its downside.  Moha says he is always being trailed and his phone is always tracked and tapped. He has also received endless death threats.

Offers Moha: “I call myself ‘dead man walking’ because I have received very many death threats and I am always being trailed by people who don’t approve of what I am doing. I’m alive by God’s grace.” As if that is not enough, those who are against his daring stories have started framing him for petty crimes. Three weeks ago, on May 14, social media and Kenya at large was abuzz with reports that he had been arraigned in court for stealing a mobile phone.

“That saga was purely an operation to bring down me down since they cannot touch me, the only thing they could do is frame me.  I am a strong believer in two things: God and Mohammed Ali (me). That is what matters to me, ” he says.

Moha fears for his life, and more so for his reputation, which has been under scrutiny lately.

“What I am afraid of now is that they might plant something in my car- like a bag of cocaine in order to frame me. They might tap my phone and intercept my messages to ensure  I don’t communicate, but that only gives me strength. I know God is with me,” he says with confidence.


Moha says his greatest inspiration is his father, who passed on in 2007.

“I feel that he is still alive and I draw inspiration from him. He is the force behind everything I do,”  he says.

Moha also draws inspiration  from the majority of Kenyans who appreciate his work.

Offers Moha: “The most fulfilling thing about my job is when a widow from Kilgoris calls me to tell me, “Thank you Moha for the good job you have done. Because of you, justice has been served and my children can now go back to school”. That keeps me going because I know somebody is benefiting from my investigations.”

Moha is also passionate about  fighting drug abuse. Having watched what drugs can do to young people, Moha is not about to stop blowing the whistle on this sensitive issue.

“The reason why I fight  drug abuse  is not because it will affect an old man, but because it will destroy the future of a young person like me. Drugs take you down after five years of use, and a young person loses his or her dreams and ambitions because of consuming them. It is too painful,” he says.

So when will he stop?

When he dies, says Moha, as he  is not ready to give up this fulfilling career, at least not before Kenyans get justice for the atrocities levelled against them.

Numerous awards

Moha is probably one of Kenya’s most decorated journalists, with several awards under his name.

In 2010, he was awarded the Head of State Civilian Award by President Mwai Kibaki. He was also this year’s overall winner in the maiden Media Council of Kenya awards in the Journalist of the Year Award.

The awards, Moha says, are a great motivation because it means the world is watching and appreciates what he is doing.

Offers Moha: “My dream is to see this great country  being ruled by people who have its best interests at heart. This, I believe, can only be achieved when the son of a poor man becomes president. The rest to me, are jokers.”

People who have met and interacted with Moha perceive him as arrogant. His reaction?

“People say that I am arrogant, but I like it that way. When I say ‘no’ I mean exactly it’ and when I say ‘yes’ I mean it,” says Moha.