Twitter post threatens ‘Nation’ journalists over Jimi Wanjigi exposé

A statement from a Nduta Mwangi, identified as the head of communications at Kwacha Group of Companies, the Wanjigi family company, was posted on the account.

Mr Wanjigi is believed to have fallen out with Jubilee over the standard gauge railway, which he had sought to broker.

Nation journalists who wrote an exposé about Mr Jimi Wanjigi have received threats from the tender baron’s Twitter handle.

The account, @JimmyWanjigi, is unverified but has the businessman’s pictures and posts that are consistent with his previous activities.

It has been used before to post Mr Wanjigi’s reaction to news that he had been banned from visiting Tanzania, among other posts touching on him.

GNASHING TEETH

The latest post warns the Nation journalists: “The @NationMediaGrp team attacking me finally I’ve all yours (sic) names. @NASA_Ke will rule the country & your families will gnash their teeth.”

The Nation could not verify the account, in existence since November 2015, by calling Mr Wanjigi because it was not considered safe for a reporter to call him.

READ: How Jimi Wanjigi makes billions at taxpayer’s expense

In the story, the Nation reported Mr Wanjigi’s links to Mr Raila Odinga’s National Super Alliance and the fact that the businessman was also instrumental in the formation of the alliance between President Uhuru Kenyatta’s The National Alliance (TNA) and DP William Ruto’s United Republican Party (URP) prior to the 2013 elections.

The two parties led the Jubilee coalition to election victory.

FIGHT CORRUPTION

The investigative articles are part of a Nation campaign—called the Nation 10-point Agenda—a key plank of which is to expose and fight corruption and State capture and convince parties to build anti-corruption platforms going into the election.

The articles have triggered a wave of accusations between Mr Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party and Mr Odinga’s Nasa with the latter daring the government to arrest Mr Wanjigi if he has committed a crime.

This was after Jubilee leaders said in several political rallies that Nasa was being funded by Anglo Leasing “graft cartels”.

RECEIVED WITH OUTRAGE

Mr Wanjigi’s threat was received with outrage by the media industry with Kenya Media Owners Association (MOA) saying it will take legal action against him.

MOA chairman Hanningtone Gaya said: “It is shocking that, at this moment and time, somebody still has the audacity to threaten a whole leading media house of Nation’s calibre. This clearly indicates that the law governing the media is weak.”

Mr Gaya said the work of the media is to inform the public and set the public agenda and it will continue to do so without fear or favour. The chairman said Mr Wanjigi “should immediately apologise or else we will take legal action”.

READ: Jimi Wanjigi: Kenya’s most feared oligarch

The African Editors Forum (TAEF)  chairperson, Jovial Rantao also condemned in ‘‘the strongest possible terms, acts of intimidation aimed at journalists working at Nation’’.

LOADED STATEMENT

NMG editor in chief Tom Mshindi said: “That’s a loaded statement from Mr Wanjigi which he should be made to explain.

If he intends it as a threat to Nation journalists, we advise him that neither the Nation nor its journalists will be intimidated.

Nasa should also tell Kenyans whether it associates itself with such intimidating statements.”

Lawyer Charles Kanjama said Article 34 of the Constitution is clear on Press freedom. He said anyone aggrieved by the stories should seek legal redress.

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