Journalists Who Left Police Force For Media Career

  • TV cameras set up during a presser and police officers during a parade in December 2019.
    TV cameras set up during a presser and police officers during a parade in December 2019.
    Capital Group
    National police Service Twitter
  • It is not rare to hear or learn stories about people ditching their careers to join media houses. However, you seldom find police officers who quit the service and become successful journalists because the industry is very cutthroat. 

    A journalist's dream to climb the media ladder and reach international status and only a few names have reached the upper echelons of the industry and they are respected by their peers.

    However, there are a number of journalists, due to various reasons, who took the bold step of resigning from the police service to become scribes, reporters and anchors.

    Kenyans.co.ke takes a look at some of these journalists:

    1. Fred Obachi Machoka

    Fred Obachi Machoka alias Uncle Fred Machoka, famous for his Roga Roga show, left the General Service Unit (GSU) in 1976 to join Advertising and Broadcasting sector.

    Fred, famed for his catchy phrase ‘blackest man in black Africa’, said that he discovered he could use take his talents to the media sector after participating in a radio competition where the listeners voted for him and he emerged first.

    “In 1976 while I was in the (General Service Unit) GSU, I realised that I had a gift in broadcasting by luck. 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.

    Ombachi was deployed in Northern Kenya and he recalled that the environment was very harsh so when the opportunity to join media knocked on his door he took up the job. Further, he explained that the experience was traumatic for him.

    “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 explained.

    Veteran Citizen Radio journalist Uncle Fred Obachi Machoka at Radio Maisha studios on November 13, 2021.
    Veteran Citizen Radio journalist Uncle Fred Obachi Machoka at Radio Maisha studios on November 13, 2021.
    Courtesy Fred Obachi Machoka

    2. Fred Muitiriri 

    Switch TV news anchor Frederick Muitiriri also made the transition from the police service to media a transition he termed as brutal.

    The journalist explained that he had an innate love for media but his ambitions were disrupted after he completed high school in 2003.

    Muitiriri stated that he wanted to pursue a certificate in Broadcast Journalism in the evenings while he kept his day job as a police officer but when he approached his bosses to help him secure a transfer but he faced resistance all the way to National Police Service headquarters.

    He decided to resign from his police force in 2007 and became a full-time student at the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication (KIMC).

    "Since I was 11, I wanted to be a journalist. I finished high school in 2003 and since my mother (a primary school teacher) did not have money to take me to college and I did not have any myself, I decided to look for it.

    "I went to Kiganjo Training College in 2004 and I got posted to Sericho Police Station in Isiolo where I worked for three years until I earned enough money to take me to college," stated Muitiriri.

    Switch TV presenter Frederick Muitiriri.
    Switch TV presenter Frederick Muitiriri.
    Twitter

    Zadock Angira 

    He works for Nation Media Group as senior investigations and crime reporter for six years but before that Angira worked as a police officer. 

    Angitra worked for seven years in Security Management and Investigations with the Kenya Police Service where I rose to the rank of Inspector in charge of an Aviation Security officer at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

    The NMG journalist stated that his experience as an officer helped shape his career as an investigative journalist. He stated that his stint in the police service equipped him with knowledge and skills such as intelligence collection, evidence gathering, interrogations and writing security incident reports. 

    "This experience, coupled with basic knowledge of law, equips me well for undercover security investigation and surveillance operations. As a former police officer and also the Head of Investigations/Crime and National Security Affairs at the NMG, I have developed and maintained working relationships with the security agencies and institutions," he wrote.