Veteran Citizen Journalist Who Was a GSU Officer

  • Veteran Citizen Radio journalist Uncle Fred Obachi Machoka alias Uncle Fred, famous for his Roga Roga show, narrated how he quit the General Service Unit (GSU) to join Advertising and Broadcasting sector.

    Fred, famed for his phrase ‘blackest man in black Africa’, disclosed his past life in a YouTube show dubbed Banana Peddler Show.

    In 1976 while I was in the (General Service Unit) GSU, I realised that I had a gift in broadcasting by accident. It wasn’t my realisation. I had participated in a radio show competition, in which I won an award as a listener, and when I went to pick my prize, the producer said he thought I had a good voice for broadcasting,” Obachi revealed.

    The producer went on to ask Obachi if he would be interested in broadcasting as they were recording a commercial radio show dubbed Sanya Juu Sanya Tops.

    Uncle Fred wondered how it would be possible as he was serving in the then Wajir, North Eastern Province, formerly known as Northern Frontier District.

    He declined the offer, but the producer insisted he records the show, which would be broadcasted in segments over a specific period of time.

    “Since there was money involved, I was motivated, considering I was a young man. We started recording a segment of five minutes on the radio show. In 1976 December, I resigned from the forces on realisation that I could do something different. That’s when I joined the forces formally, and they allowed me to participate more in a 30 minutes show,” Obachi disclosed.

    “Having worked in the forces for four years I felt I had served my time. In addition, the Northern frontier was an extremely harsh working environment and it was also traumatic to lose friends and colleagues daily as this was the time of the Shifta war,” he explains more on his exit from the police service.

    Fortunately for him, a misfortune occurred that opened doors for him. His mentor, Saidi Omari Kasongo, succumbed to Tuberculosis which was not treatable during those days. Machoka was tasked to take over the show.

    After a while, he realised he had to go back to school to train in journalism.

    He went back to college and graduated in Advertising and Public Relations and then continued doing commercial radio shows. Obachi has impeccable masterly of the Swahili language and an unmatched repertoire for African music, particularly Rumba and Lingala.