PJAK elects new leaders amid calls for diaspora inclusion

Incoming PJAK chairman Jerry Rawlings shakes hands with immediate former chairman Kennedy Mureithi after an election conducted at the Hacienda Hotel over the weekend. [Patrick Vidija, Standard]

The Political Journalists Association of Kenya-PJAK has gotten a new leadership following an election conducted over the weekend.

People Daily’s Jerry Rawlings was elected unopposed as the chairman of the association for the next two years.

Rawlings who served as the Secretary General takes over the chairmanship from former NTV senior political affairs reporter Kennedy Mureithi who is currently the political advisor for the Tharaka Nithi county government, appointed by Governor Muthomi Njuki.

He will be deputized by Citizen TV’s Chemutai Goin who takes over from Roselyne Obala.

While People Daily’s  Mercy Mwai was elected as the Secretary General, Radio Africa Group political reporter Luke Awich was elected the treasurer taking over from former Citizen TV journalist Francis Gachuri, who joined the government as a communications director at the Ministry of Interior.

Awich will be deputized by Inooro TV’s reporter Mercy Muriithi while Mercy Mwai will be deputized by Nation Media Group’s reporter Samuel Owino.

In the same election, Standard Media Group’s Digital sub-editor was elected as the coordinator, KBC’s reporter Eric Biegon programs as Miseda Winnie retained her seat as the Resource Mobilisation.

Vidija takes over from former People Daily Reporter Hillary Mageka who joined the public service.

The new team has been tasked to embark on a vigorous membership recruitment drive to increase its numbers from the current 60.

As opposed to the Kenya Parliamentary Journalists Association (KPJA) which draws its membership from Parliamentary reporters, the Political Journalists Association of Kenya (PJAK) draws its membership from across the country.

Rawlings and his team were challenged to increase the association’s footprint, especially in the diaspora to bring more members on board.

“For a long time, we in the diaspora have felt left out, especially in representation and decision-making. The new office bearers should look into ways to have our voice even if minority heard,” said Rushdie Oudia based in Kisumu.

However, the chairman assured the members that all structures have been put in place to ensure everyone’s voice is heard.

“In the spirit of gathering all and scattering none, I want to assure the members that we have all it takes to move the association to greater heights. We shall leverage the experience and expertise of the previous leadership to increase our footprint across the country,” said Rawlings in his acceptance speech.

The chairman said his team will strive to maintain a culture of transparency while working hard to serve the interests of all members.

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