Citizen TV's Yvonne Okwara Takes Esther Passaris Head on

  • Citizen TV anchor, Yvonne Okwara, tore into Nairobi Woman Representative, Esther Passaris for hitting back at the Royal Media-owned station after journalists termed her and other politicians who responded to the Precious Talent School tragedy as disaster celebrities.

    Passaris, on Monday, September 23, explained how she had assisted the affected families in the aftermath of the incident.

    "Really? I was there, assessed the situation, organised for water, soft drinks, bread and milk. Appreciated the boda boda and youth of Ng'ando for their heroic efforts before the disaster teams arrived. I then went about my scheduled duties ending at KNH at 7 pm," Passaris lashed back.

    Okwara on Thursday, September 26, then referred to a Twitter user who challenged Passaris to prevent such disasters from happening, rather than using them to showcase her good samaritan traits.

    Passaris at City Mortuary where she condoled with more families who lost their children in the school disaster. She shared a meal and charted the way forward with them

    "No one can stop disasters from happening. No one can stop accidents from happening. What we can do is learn from our mistakes and work towards averting both disasters and accidents. We can also improve on our disaster and accident preparedness to reduce fatalities," Passaris replied the netizen. 

    Her reply angered the endeared anchor. 

    "With all due respect madam, this was no accident. A building that did not pass safety requirements collapsed. It was not an accident. Some people should be held responsible for that. Which lessons are this that you want us to learn exactly.

    "How many years shall we take to learn these lessons? How many lives will it cost us from quoting 'learn from our mistakes'. Haven't we learnt in the past when buildings collapsed like in Huruma in 2016, where 50 lives were lost?" Okwara wondered.

    According to the journalist, the country has leaders who can hold people to account, influence policies and ensure implementation but instead they point fingers after tragedies have occurred.

    Okwara recalled a building which collapsed again in Huruma in June 2018, where two people died and scores were injured. She revealed that the country was moved by a young boy who risked his life to save that of his brothers. She blasted Passaris for the same character she exhibited at the Precious Talent School.

    Dagoretti South residents and the Kenya Red Cross Society workers during the rescue efforts of pupils trapped after a two-storey building collapsed at Precious Talent School on Monday, September 23.

    Passaris was present during the tragedy and the anchor picked her tweet to emphasise why they called her a disaster celebrity.

    "I met little Wayne this afternoon in Huruma when I went to assess the damage and to offer assistance to the affected families.

    "I asked him what he wanted as a gift for his heroic gesture when he saved his baby brother as the building collapsed and he responded by asking for a bicycle. My bright star of the tragedy," Passaris tweeted. 

    Okwara lashed out insisting that Passaris read from the same script.

    "Kenyans are dying while politicians are playing on stage to a non-existent audience. Fellow citizens, we need no more audits and studies. We do not elect leaders to praise us for our heroes and to mourn with us, we can do that for ourselves. After all the bible says that God hears prayers where two or three are gathered. It has not stated that a politician has to be there.

    "We elected them to prevent these disasters from happening," Okwara lashed back. 

    Passaris and Nominated Senator, Millicent Omanga, had demanded an apology over the disaster celebrity remarks.  

    Emergency response teams at the scene after a classroom collapsed in Ng'ando along Ngong road, Nairobi.

    Watch the video, courtesy of Citizen TV.