A Lot of Begging - Allan Namu on News Anchoring First Experience

  • Investigative journalist John Allan Namu(left) and Journalist James Japicha Black(right) during a documentary -shooting on February 21, 2013
    Investigative journalist John Allan Namu(left) and Journalist James Japicha Black(right) during a documentary -shooting on February 21, 2013
    John Allan Namu
  • Investigative journalist John Allan Namu revealed his first time trying on news anchoring as the most difficult moment in his career.

    Speaking on Monday, January 23, the veteran journalist revealed how he had to beg to get a chance to practice in a screen test.

    In a video seen by Kenyans.co.ke, Namu applauded the late legendary media personality Catherine Kasavuli for taking him through training to be who he is today.

    “The year was 2006. I had just turned 23 and was ending my internship at KTN which began the year before. After lots of begging, I got a chance to do a screen test to see if I could work as a news anchor. 

    Undated Photo of Investigative Journalist John Allan Namu
    Undated Photo of Investigative Journalist John Allan Namu
    Standard Digital

    The person you hear laughing in the background is the late great Catherine Kasavuli (RIP). She would train my colleagues and I before we were allowed to go on air,” he announced.

    Making sure that he looked all neat during his first experience as a news anchor, Namu wore a shirt he had been gifted by his sister, using it to express the joy and determination towards his journalistic journey.

    “The shirt I wore was a birthday gift from my sister Mukami Namu. I wore it that day as an affirmation of what I wanted to do,” he noted.

    Namu, who is celebrated his 40th birthday on Monday, January 23, could hide his joy as he celebrated the milestone in his career journey.

    “It is incredible that God has kept me in the same profession all these years, but blessed me so richly all through. I'm grateful for every step that led me to that screen test, and every step forward since,” he stated.

    After the internship period, he began working at the Mombasa road media station, where he started with formulating story ideas, covering live and regular news events as well as anchoring KTN Business and KTN Weekend Prime.

    Namu was equally the presenter of the business programme, Enterprise Kenya before being promoted to Features Co-ordinator on KTN’s bulletins while helping produce the morning show, Sunrise Live.

    Apart from his illustrious media carreer, Namu had love for sports, in particular rugby where he was capped four times by the Kenya National XV Rugby team in 2004 and 2005.

    At some point, he joined Nation Media Group’s NTV in 2010 but soon returned to KTN after falling out with management.

    He ran an investigative news segment Jicho Pevu/Inside Story alongside Mohamed Ali, one of the most highly-rated news shows

    African Uncensored founder John Allan Namu (right) and Nyali MP Mohammed Ali
    African Uncensored founder John Allan Namu (right) and Nyali MP Mohammed Ali.

    His resignation from KTN in 2015 was surprising as his shows had already become a trademark of the station.

    "The media world and media companies in Kenya have come a very long way, it’s commendable. But there are still restrictions and power plays that are beyond the media houses. I realized there was only so far I could grow within these constraints," he revealed following his resignation.

    He left KTN to start his own independent media organization. Without regret, he cherished the memories and took pride in making a bold step to start Africa Uncensored which is an independent media agency doing expose and in-depth reporting. 

    "My very last day at KTN, November 29, 2015. The following day we opened our doors for Africa Uncensored first full day of operations,” he noted then.  

    In 2019, he launched his own show, a 13-part investigative documentary series dubbed Maisha Mkanda.

    Maisha Mkanda is our attempt to humanize all of the subjects that people have thought of perhaps as taboo. It also deals with some difficult topics but looking at them more through the eyes and the journeys of the characters that we’ve spoken to,” he stated during a past interview.

    At the beginning of 2023, Namu premiered a new investigative docu-series that has been airing at Maisha Magic Plus.

    The eight-episode documentary series dubbed ‘TheLastDoor’ comprises headline-hitting cases in the recent past.

    On Wednesday, January 4, he was appointed Chief Course Instructor by Thomson Reuters Foundation. He was expected to use his wealth of knowledge in investigative journalism to train journalists in Rwanda. 

    On Friday, December 3, 2022, Namu won the Human Rights Defender of the Year in Kenya.

    He also won the CNN Multichoice Journalist of the Year Award in 2009. He won the award for his stories ‘In the shadow of the Mungiki’ and ‘Inside Story: Scars and Sufurias’.

    On June 2019, Africa Uncensored was announced as the winner of the 2019 TRACE Prize for Investigative Reporting.

    In his investigative journey, Namu has his regrets and the greatest is on "In the Footsteps of Kabuga', an exposé tracking the whereabouts of one of Rwanda's richest men, Felicien Kabuga, who was accused of financing the 1994 genocide and was believed to have hidden in Kenya.

    In the story, some of the photographs they had declared to be those of Kabuga were apparently of an Isiolo businessman, Daniel Muthee Ngeera, who came forward to claim them after the story aired.

    Trace International CEO Alexandra Wrage (left) presents Africa Uncensored'smJohn Allan Namu Trace International’s 2019 prize for investigative reporting on June 29, 2019.
    Trace International CEO Alexandra Wrage (left) presents Trace International’s 2019 prize for investigative reporting to Africa Uncensored's John Allan Namu on June 29, 2019.