8 Kenyan Journalists Who Have Worked at CNN

Left to right: journalists Soni Mathu (late), Larry Madowo and Zain Verjee.
Left to right: journalists Soni Mathu (late), Larry Madowo and Zain Verjee.

On August 31, journalist Larry Madowo shared a video of his jam-packed travel itinerary that has seen him traverse 21 countries in eight months.

The celebrated journalist's travel demands are influenced by his equally demanding job at one of the largest and most popular broadcasters in the world, CNN, which has allowed him to report from various locations across the world. He follows in the footsteps of predecessors such as Zain Verjee.

The broadcaster, headquartered in Atlanta, also sits in an exclusive club of media stables that generate over Ksh145 billion ($1 billion) annually including The New York Times and Fox News.

Here are five Kenyan journalists who have worked at CNN.

1. Larry Madowo

A portrait of CNN's International correspondent Larry Madowo.
A portrait of CNN's International correspondent Larry Madowo.

Larry Madowo is one of the most successful journalists in Kenya who works for CNN as the host of African Voices Changemakers. 

The journalist joined the outlet 2021 and served as a correspondent before being promoted to global news anchor. Before his hiring, Madowo had a successful run as a news anchor at BBC.

Madowo started his career at KTN aged 20, as a trainee reporter. Madowo in a glittering career has also worked for NTV and CNBC Africa. 

On CNN, he has interviewed Microsoft founder Bill Gates, President William Ruto and Nigerian music star Davido among other influential leaders.

2. Soni Mathu 

The late CNN journalist Soni Mathu.
The late CNN journalist Soni Mathu.

The late journalist Soni Mathu enjoyed an illustrious career that saw her land a job as the host of the Inside Africa show at CNN International.

Her career in the media kicked off KBC where she hosted the Taj Show before transitioning to E! News Africa, a US-based outlet that syndicates it shows to African channels. 

At CNN she hosted the show for two years between 2014 and 2016 before she left to for a new role at China Global Television Network (CGTN).

She passed away suddenly after complaining of stomach pains in 2019.

3. Zain Verjee

Undated Photo of Zain Verjee During A Public Speaking Session
Undated Photo of Zain Verjee During A Public Speaking Session
Zainverjee Group

Zain Verjee holds the record as the Kenyan journalist with the longest cumulative on-air tenure at CNN, spanning an impressive 14 years.

Verjee's career kicked off at Kenya's Television Network (KTN) where she was a presenter. She also served a stint as a radio DJ for 98.4 Capital FM.

in 2000, she joined CNN where she hosted the European daytime program World One as well as a presenter for the Situation Room and Your World Today.

In November 2014, however, Zain left the broadcaster to create her own media production company known as Zain Verjee Group based in New York and Nairobi. The media house focuses on African businesses and lifestyle stories.

4. Jeff Koinange

Renowned journalist Jeff Koinange at the Citizen TV studios
Renowned journalist Jeff Koinange at the Citizen TV studios on May 18, 2022.
Jeff Koinange

Citizen TV News anchor Jeff Koinange continues to enjoy a successful career spanning local and international TV as well as radio stations.

Koinange began his career in 1995 working as the Chief Producer for Africa at ricaReuters Television, Ltd. After stints at several outlets, he landed at the venerable CNN where he worked as the Africa correspondent beginning 2001 before leaving in 2007.

His departure at CNN was marred with controversies and in an interview in 2018, he revealed that he was fired via a phone call.

Other stations he has worked for include K24, Arise Television and KTN.

5. Sam Kiley

Born in Kenya in 1964, Kiley is a senior international correspondent for CNN based in the network's Abu Dhabi bureau. 

He kicked off his journalism career at the Johannesburg Star before returning to London, where he studied politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford University.

In between Eastbourne and Oxford, he was commissioned into the Gurkhas Regiment of the British Army, but tendered his resignation halfway through university.
In 1987, he joined The Times Newspaper as an education reporter before switching  to the Sunday Times as its South-Coast correspondent in America. Kiley moved back to The Times and to Nairobi serving as its Africa correspondent.

Kiley joined CNN on November 27, as a senior international correspondent.

Some of his notable works include; Truth and Lies in Baghdad, USA Unsolved, Guns for Hire, The General's War and Journey Through Jordan.

A Collage of CNN offices and Abu Dhabi-based International Correspondent, Sam Kiley

6. Idris Muktar

Idris Muktar served as a producer at CNN before his fledgling career came to an abrupt halt after tweets he shared in 2014 resurfaced.

In a lengthy Twitter post (now X) in December 2022, he revealed that he had earned a scholarship to the United States International University - Africa aged 19 years old.

He then landed a job at Deutsche Welle as a junior correspondent for East Africa and after another scholarship to study Journalism and Documentary Master's programme. He landed a job as as CNN Newsdesk Producer in May 2022.

An investigation however unearthed earlier tweets he had made while a teenager that saw him unceremoniously kicked out.

7. Faith Karimi

Faith Karimi who writes and edits for CNN.com
Faith Karimi who writes and edits for CNN.com.

Kenyan-born journalist Faith Karimi has seen her star rise to the top and bagged a job at CNN, where she has worked for 14 years, in 2009.

Since graduating from Grambling State University with a masters in journalism, she worked at the Baltimore Sun from 2006 to 2009 before transferring CNN.

Based at the station's Atlanta headquarters, Karimi report, write and edit stories for CNN.com.

8. Ali Velshi

MSNBC News anchor Ali Velshi.
MSNBC News anchor Ali Velshi.

Kenyan-born journalist Ali Velshi is a well known figure in the US for his roles a senior economic and business correspondent for NBC news, a position he has held since 2016, and working as an anchor for MSNBC.

The anchor moved to Toronto, Canada, where he grew up in 1971 and joined the media industry as a General Assignment reporter for CFTO in the 1990s, a Canadian media house.

He rose up the ranks and joined CNN in 2001 where he anchored several shows, including Insights, Business Unusual, Street Sweep, and Your Money. He left CNN in 2013.