Kenya’s oldest private Media House apologise to Kiir

Kenya’s oldest private Media House apologise to Kiir
KTN News studios in Nairobi. [Photo, Courtesy]

Editorial leadership of Kenya’s oldest independent media house – The Standard Group PLC – has apologised to President Salva Kiir over a disparaging remark made by opposition politician in one of their television channels, last week.

Dr Peter Biar had made a damning allegation on the KTN News channel that President Kiir did not speak at the funeral of the late retired President Mwai Kibaki because he had a ‘hangover’.

President Kiir had been invited by his Kenyan counterpart – Uhuru Kenyatta to speak at the funeral but he could not after he developed a problem with his vocal cords.

The statement by Dr Biar did not go down well with Juba that demanded an equivocal apology from one Kenya’s boldest media houses.

KTN News is one of the products of the Standard Group PLC – a privately-owned media house with its headquarters in Nairobi. It is owned by the family of Kenya’s second President, the late Daniel arap Moi.

Group Editor-In-Chief Ochieng Rapuro on Tuesday, May 10, come out to quell brewing tension between President Kiir’s administration and the media house.

Rapuro who spoke to City Review on phone from Nairobi owned up to their mistake.

“I wrote the letter of apology because what happened was a mistake within our channel and was not in agreement with our journalism principles. There was no way a person who was speaking in USA could have known what was happening in Nairobi for him to have made such remarks.

“I delivered the letter personally through South Sudan’s Ambassador in Nairobi. We are not afraid to own up because we messed up,” he said.

In his letter of apology letter addressed to President Kiir, Rapuro sought pardon from the head of state in a bid to maintain bilateral ties between South Sudan and Kenya.

“Sir, on behalf of the Standard Group PLC management and employees, I take this early opportunity to sincerely apologize to you personally for the agony and anguish our mistake has caused you, the government and the people of South Sudan,” Ochieng wrote.

Further, Ochieng tells President Kiir that SG shall offer an official retraction and apology to him on-air this Wednesday (today) morning when the weekly program in which the mistake was made will run.

“Once again, allow me to offer our unreserved apology for this mistake and plead that you find it in your heart to pardon us,” he offered.

Rapuro has termed the allegations by Dr Biar as “inappropriate, false and unethical remarks.”

Dr Biar made those wild allegations on a show that airs every Wednesday morning on KTN News channel and focuses on international affairs.

Dr Biar who is a South Sudanese national but resides in the US, was one of the panellists in the show.

No protest received

On Thursday, May 5, Kenya’s Ambassador to South Sudan, Samuel Nandwa told journalists that he had forwarded a protest to the Media Council of Kenya, following claims by Dr Biar.

But MCK Chief Executive Officer, David Omwoyo, told The City Review yesterday that the council had not received a protest letter from the Kenyan embassy in South Sudan, nor the South Sudan embassy in Nairobi.

“The Media Council of Kenya has not received any complaint related to the above matter,” Omwoyo stated.

Attempts to reach the Minister of Information, Michael Makuei Lueth, the Minister for Cabinet Affairs, Dr Martin Elia Lomuro, the Minister for Presidential Affairs, Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin and the Press Secretary in the office of the President, Ateny Wek Ateny, to comment on the matter were futile.