DP Ruto’s spokesman threatening message to NMG journalist over story

Deputy President William Ruto’s spokesman, David Mugonyi, threatened to influence the sacking of a journalist from Nation Media Group, Justus Wanga, on Sunday 7 January over a story published on the Sunday Nation.

The NMG reporter received a threatening call and a series of text messages after he wrote the article with the headline ‘Cabinet seats that split Uhuru, Ruto, claiming that his boss, DP Ruto and President Uhuru Kenyatta are having a fall out over the new Cabinet list.

“Unataka Kufutwa kazi (do you want to lose your job?) I want to be outright with you, ukitaka kufutwa kazi, (if you want to lose you job) continue with that path, utafutwa, utafutwa, sikudanganyi, utafutwa (you will be fired, you will be fired, I assure you,)… I am telling you for free, there are people who have crossed that path before… you are not the first journalist my friend,” Mr Mugonyi was heard threatening the journalist from a recorded phone call.

Mr Mugonyi also sent a series of texts messages accusing the journalist of unethical journalism.

“You people should respect the journalism profession. You have made it full of nonsense. I’m ashamed to claim to be a journalist. The DP reported to which Harambee House Annex? He’s never been there since December 20. Why do you cook untruths? Your story is talking about cracks please you can please,” read the text message.

The Secretary General of The Kenya Union of Journalists, Erick Oduor, in statement criticized Mr Mugonyi’s actions citing that ‘journalists are not politicians and shall do their job for public good’.

“I have been shocked beyond comfort after listening to an audio recording and also receiving a complaint from Justus Wanga, a journalist with Sunday Nation that one David Mugonyi, a senior journalist and a director at Deputy President William Ruto's office threatened to influence his sacking from Nation Media Group.

This kind of impunity among senior government officials should not be tolerated and demand that action is taken against Mr Mugonyi.

We must defend good journalism and tell Mr Mugonyi and his agents that journalists are not politicians and shall do their job for public good. If he thrives in his work by issuing threats to journalists to please his employer, it is high time quit his job because stories that meet the standards set by newsrooms will be told whether he likes it or not,” read the statement.