NTV news anchor Ken Mijungu on Tuesday took to social media to defend his friend and colleague Dennis Okari who, according to him, had been portrayed as an irresponsible father by K24 journalist Betty Kyallo.
Earlier, Betty had revealed that earlier this year, her daughter Ivanna had been diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease which was marked by a sudden widespread attack of inflammation in the brain and spinal cord called ADEM (acute disseminated encephalomyelitis).
In her post, Betty recounted her daughter’s suffering and the countless times she had to be in hospital as the little girl’s health deteriorated.
“I was depressed, cried silently sometimes hoping God would see my tears. I always feared going to the ward or ICU because I wasn't sure what function she would lose the next day or hour.
Betty went ahead to thank all those who assisted her during the difficult period but one name was conspicuously absent, Dennis OKari – Ivanna’s father.
“Apart from the doctors, both ward and ICU, the nurses especially Nurse Judy who stood by Ivanna and worked so hard to give us hope and good treatment, the hospital support staff such as the security guards, the valet parking attendants, the admin staff, the catering staff who ensured we ate even when we forgot to!
“I have nothing but eternal gratitude and pray for all of you that God shows you the same kindness you’ve shown us. To my family and partner, I can never say thank you enough because you shielded me, made me laugh, supported me and even made sure I never missed a bulletin or Upclose shoot throughout.
“You always reminded me to smile on air and keep my energy up when shooting Upclose even after waking up from hospital. Baby, you dropped me to work and picked me every working day and even made crucial decisions for Ivanna even when I was too weak to.
“Thankfully God saw my tears. After almost 4 months of hospitalization starting from February to Mid-June including one month in ICU My daughter Ivanna celebrated her birthday at home on June 22nd,” she wrote.
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Mijungu took issue with this saying the TV queen’s post portrayed Okari as an irresponsible father yet he was constantly in hospital to monitor Ivanna’s progress.
“Betty be honest, Okari and even Naomi were there for Ivanna from the day we learnt of her illness and were by her side day and night.
“Dennis called me on 23rd March at about 10am, asked me to drop whatever I was doing because Ivanna was critical. Too weak to walk alone or drive he asked me to pick him at home. We met on Mombasa road since he couldn’t wait for me and we drove straight to hospital,” he narrated.
Adding: “At Nairobi hospital Betty blocked my access to the ward cubicle where Ivanna was only allowing Dennis in. I stayed by the glass doors from 11am to 2pm watching Ivanna who I must say was very sick.
“Okari remained inside all that while with Betty and was joined later by Betty’s mum and sister Gloria. I understood her action because it was about the baby. I left at about 2pm. For every single day that followed from that day on Okari was at the hospital day and night with his daughter,” divulged Mijungu.
Further, he said that Okari only reported to work when he could and his boss understood his situation.
“To deliberately paint him (Okari) as irresponsible is immoral my friend. You don’t have to correct the impression you have created because the Somali guy is by your side but at-least be honest.
“We were friends before and one day we shall be friends again. Even though the relationship did not work Ivanna remains part of us and we thank God she is ok,” he wrote, sharing screenshots of his conversation with Betty.