Veteran journalist Alex Chamwada has landed a new political appointment. The TV reporter is understood to be joining the Jubilee Alliance Party secretariat as communications specialist. His appointment underscores the increasingly critical role journalists are playing in shaping political discourse as communications managers for parties.
It is not clear whether he will be fully employed or will be working as a consultant. From state House where President Uhuru Kenyatta hired journalist Manoah Esipisu, to the Deputy President’s officer where former Nation reporter David Mugonyi is in charge and to counties, politicians are turning to journalists with strong networks to drive their communications agenda.
Chamwada, who has worked for KBC, KTN and Citizen in that order as reporter, is a respected political journalist and his analytical approach to political reporting has earned him admiration among TV viewers. He is well connected in political circles.
Chamwada currently produces two weekly programmes on KTN on a freelance basis – The Chamwada Report, an indepth analysis of topical issues; and Daring Abroad, a profile of Kenyans running businesses in the diaspora.
Sources familiar with Jubilee operations revealed that Chamwada has already agreed to take up the job, where he will work closely with the Jubilee Alliance Party leadership and President Uhuru Kenyatta to lay down communications strategies for the next election slated for August 2017.
Alex holds a Master’s degree in Politics and Mass Media from the University of Liverpool, a post-graduate diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Nairobi and a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Sciences from Moi University. He has worked before as a communications consultant with the UN-Habitat.
These qualifications, which combine journalism and politics, give him an edge as a communications strategist for politicians. And in preparation for the assignment, which is expected to take up most of his time, he has contracted Elijah Mwangi, an anchor with WTV television station, to host the Chamwada report.
In 2014, Chamwada took a big gamble to left Citizen TV and venture into entrepreneurship in what he said was to tell his own stories as a self-employed journalist. He then built an independent TV content production outfit known as CHAMS Media. CHAMS Media is behind the production of The Chamwada Report, a 24-minute development and current affairs feature and Daring Abroad in partnership with the Standard Group.
Chamwada was decorated with the prestigious presidential commendation – Order of the Grand Warrior – by retired President Mwai Kibaki in 2010 for his professional reporting on reforms in Kenya. He is a fellow of the CNN International Professional Programme. Alex has interviewed nine African presidents on politics and development issues, information on CHAMS website shows. He covered the US presidential elections of 2000 as well as 2008 from Washington DC.