Celebrated cartoonist Geoffrey Mwapemba, better known by his cartoon name GADO, premiers in the Standard newspaper tomorrow Friday June 17th 2016. Mr Mwapembwa makes a comeback to mainstream media after nearly one and a half years in the cold since being pushed out by Nation Media Group.
GADO, who drew editorial cartoons for Nation newspapers, ran into trouble with the government of former Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete when his cartoon that made non-sense of his war on corruption was published in the The East African, NMG’s regional newspaper.
In Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto were not impressed by his caricatures that poked holes in their good governance credentials while depicting them as a pair bogged down by their then cases at the International Criminal Court.
At Standard, GADO will rejoin his former boss at NMG, Mr Joseph Odindo, whom they had cordial relations at Nation Centre. The cartoonist is expected to give a boost to Standard’s op-ed (opinion & editorial) pages, which have for a long time lacked the spark of wit and spellbinding cartooning.
Since the exit of Kham from the editorial pages, Standard newspapers has been struggling to get a witty cartoonist to engage its readers’ intelligence and awe. Nation newspapers too is yet to get a match for him.
BusinessToday broke the news of GADO’s comeback recently after word leaked that he had reached a deal with the Mombasa-based media house.
> Interview: Gado speaks about his sacking at Nation
Readers and his fans will be watching his cartoons closely, especially given that he will be operating in a more controlled media space at Standard where former President Moi calls the shots as principal shareholder. Standard newspaper has also lately been walking the cautious path in its coverage to avoid litigation and readers’ backlash and its management may want GADO to play within certain rules.
GADO is one of the most creative and witty editorial cartoonists in Africa and has worn awards for it. But he can also be extremely daring when it comes to stretching the limits of satire and humour, which is why the editorial managers will keep a close eye on what he does with his pencil and paper.
After his acrimonious exit from Nation, he is also likely to engage in self-censorship to avoid getting himself out circulation again!