7 Top Kenyan Journalists Who Were Fired and How They Bounced Back

  • The recent dismissal of top journalists by various media houses has sent shockwaves all over the country.

    What is important to note, however, that it is not the first time such dismissals are taking place, and the journalists are not the first ones to face the proverbial axe.

    Other personalities in the media industry have also been on the receiving end of the harsh realities, and have come back stronger and better.

    Below are some of the top journalists who were fired and later bounced back and got their lives on track.

    Veteran TV personality Jeff Koinange at a past event.

    Jeff Koinange

    Arguably the best journalist in the country in 2019, Jeff has been through his fair share of low moments and comebacks.

    His most devastating, however, was his dismissal from CNN in 2007, where he had been for six years.

    Though he had been cagey about the issue, Jeff confessed in December 2017, on his Hot 96 FM radio show that his boss at the global news network fired him over the phone as he drove down the highway.

    “My boss called me and asked me to pull off the highway and he said, ‘listen, man, there is too much crap, too many rumors and Nigerians think you stage-managed that story. I don’t think we can sustain you any longer, we will need to let you go’,” he recalled. 

    Jeff has, however, repackaged himself into a formidable force in both TV and radio as welll as social media spheres, making him one of the most recognizable individuals in Kenya.

    Terryanne Chebet

    Terryanne Chebet was at the peak of her career when she lost her job at Citizen TV in early 2017, after which she went off the radar for a while.

    Chebet, who used to headline a popular business news show, disclosed that she learned a lot from the sacking, which came as a shock to her since in her opinion, she was performing at her best.

    In 2018, she was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of Fanaka Television, a TV station covering business, current affairs, sports, and entertainment, and is the current general manager of Metropol TV, Kenya's premier 24-hour business channel.

    Veteran journalist Ann Ngugi with her family in 2018. She was fired from K24 TV in 2014.

    Anne Ngugi

    Anne Ngugi's sacking was as brutal as they come, if reports are anything to go by.

    Ngugi was fired from K24 TV in 2014 when she was five months pregnant and underwent a downward spiral that she stated in 2018, made her aware of who her true friends really were.

    “I lost people I thought were my friends. I even called former colleagues to hook me up with jobs, but they ignored me," she divulged.

    In 2018, Ngugi landed a new role at BBC Swahili (Nairobi Bureau) as the host of a Swahili program Dira Ya Dunia.

    Evelyn Wambui announcing her podcast on Jume 23, 2019.

    Evelyn Wambui

    Top journalist Evelyn Wambui was one of the unlucky ones to have the axe land on them in march 2016 in what Citizen TV claimed was a restructuring process to cut costs and reposition the company.

    She was fired alongside other journalists, including Pheona Kenga and Kendagor Obadia, who had his eyes set on politics.

    In 2018, she landed a job as the regional communications and media specialist at plan international and was put in charge Eastern and Southern Africa.

    She also launched a show that she referred to as the Human Interest podcast.

    “Human Interest is a weekly podcast that features stories about people. Why they do what they do and about life. Successes, losses, challenges, and lessons," she described the blog in 2018.

    Richard Chacha with Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho in Mombasa 2015, after he confirmed his appointment as the director of communication in Mombasa county.

    Richard Chacha

    Richard Chacha's departure from NTV in 2012 came after he was involved in a serious accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down.

    "On that particular day, we were heading to Kilgoris for a fundraiser. I remember joking and telling my colleagues to ensure they had their seat belts on. The crash was sudden and I still can’t believe I can remember nothing," he narrated to The Standard in 2016.

    He stated that even after his accident, he struggled to go to Parliament to get news, since he was a political affairs editor, and tried to get potential interviewees to visit his office for interviews, but when it got too much, he decided to bow out for good.

    Three years later, in 2015, Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho appointed him as the director of communications in of the Coastal County.

    Gado going about his art business in a studio.

    Godfrey Mwapemba (Gado)

    Gado was well-known for his hilarious caricatures on the Daily Nation, where he had stayed for 23 years.

    He was fired in November 2017, over what Business Daily termed as pushing the boundaries with his caricatures.

    His sacking was reported to have come after he had spent eight months on a forced sabbatical leave under the guise of going to London to study film.

    Less than five months after his firing, Gado landed a job with Deutsche Welle (DW) Swahili, a German-based media house.

    Veteran journalist and the brains behind bulls eye Emanuel Juma.

    Emannuel Juma

    The generally reclusive journalist is not known to many, but his weekly feature on NTV is well-known by all and sundry.

    Emmanuel Juma is the voice and the creativity behind the weekly satirical Bulls Eye show.

    Juma, then the NTV news manager, was sacked from the station in January 2018 after spending 13 years at the station. 

    He was rehired by the same station in August of the same year, a month after he helped put together Switch TV, which was rebranding from it's earlier name Red Cross TV.

    His return follwe the exit of NTV's top brass including Linus Kaikai, Larry Madowo, and Victoria Rubadiri, with Kaikai and Rubadiri heading to Citizen TV and Madowo to BBC.

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