There has been tension between the two camps, with the newcomers seen as the elevated ‘dream team’.
There has been tension between the two camps, with the newcomers seen as the elevated ‘dream team’.

When Hussein Mohammed signed off Citizen TV at the end of October, it was cleverly designed to portray a mutual parting of ways, punctuated with hugs and pats on the backs.

Hussein, who displays a calm but firm personality, was even given a chance to say goodbye to his viewers on TV, something rare in media circles.

In fact, a cake party was thrown for him by his colleagues, moments after he did his last Newsnight show on Tuesday 30th October 2019, as some of his colleagues and bosses showered him with praises and well-wishes.

Revenge of the stars

But hidden behind the carnival and smiling faces were boiling emotions that had built up over many months to force out one of Kenya’s most respected TV anchors from the Citizen TV screen.

Turns out, there is simmering bad blood between the ‘old’ and ‘new’ teams of employees who work for Royal Media Services.

In new employees’ camp are journalists who joined Royal Media Services between March and July 2018, comprising Editorial Director Joe Ageyo (from KTN), Strategy Director Linus Kaikai (from NTV), Yvonne Okwara (news anchor, from KTN) as well as a host of other journalists including Jamila Mohammed, Pamela Asigi, Rashid Abdallah and Nimrod Taabu (all from NTV), among others.

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The old camp has journalists who had been working for RMS before 2018. Prominent in this group are Jeff Koinange, Lillian Muli, Willis Raburu, Waihiga Mwaura, Francis Gachuri, and Hussein Mohammed (now gone).

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Insiders say there has been tension between the two camps, with the newcomers seen as the elevated ‘dream team’ brought in to take RMS to the next level. Given this positioning, it is understood that they occasionally look down upon their colleagues.

Also, the newcomers came on board with inordinately higher salaries since they had been headhunted from competing broadcasters. This created an unequal salary scale at RMS that left a bad taste in the mouths of the old camp who believe they do more than the dream team guys.

Dream team members are said to earn up to double what their peers at RMS get, creating bad blood between them and ruining the working chemistry needed for a media house to operate seamlessly.

The ego battles and star fights culminated in a cold war of sorts that left the old team holding the short end of the stick.

When they arrived on the scene, Hussein Mohammed became one of victims of the new system with clear tension between him and the new bosses. “His body language had been unmistakable,” said an RMS insider.

On his last day, Hussein threw hints on who were his friends and not-so-good colleagues at RMS that very few viewers emotional about his exit could barely notice. He acknowledged some and deliberately left out others, pointing to who could have made his life difficult at Citizen TV.

Mark his words

This is what Hussein said in his partying shot:

“It has been an amazing journey, 10 years and you the viewers have made it all worth it. You all have made it worth it, including my guests,” he said at the end of the bulletin.

And dropped the hints in this line: “I appreciate the support and guidance of RMS Chair S.K. Macharia and Vice-Chair Gathoni Macharia, the managing director Wachira Waruru, the management, the Lands Cabinet Secretary Farida Karoney who was our boss here a while back.”

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Deliberately, he never mentioned his immediate bosses Joe Ageyo and Linus Kaikai. That statement was quite telling. Hussein chose to isolate his detractors on his last day which turned out to be one of his high moments.

The fallout was evident as he walked out of RMS. And things have not been the same again for Citizen TV.

Reports indicate features reporter Saida Swaleh is also leaving.  And so is Dorcas Wangira, the Citizen TV reporter who in April this year was named the winner of the 2019 Michael Elliott Award for Excellence in African Storytelling.

Next Read >> Life-Changing Lessons From TV Anchor Hussein Mohammed

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15 comments

  1. Wishing you God’s blessings. Some of us left for other media long time. It’s no longer the media house we used to follow, especially Okwara? NO!

  2. That’s a private company,the owner has the right to do anything if your speculation is anything to go by,The good journalist Hussein didn’t seem to have any bad blood with the media plz don’t reason on his behalf,he is an intelligent fellow who can talk for himself.

  3. The BEST brain has left RMS. I never knew another who was so intelligent at grilling guests(politicians) until they spilled. RMS u r a big loser. Showoffs are in charge

  4. It’s high time the old team puts their guns down for the young and talented youths.
    After a decade of media excellence, quietly exit and don’t come back.

    1. It’s a cutthroat world. Humility and ego make for strange bedfellows. Kinda reminds me of WWF wrestlers. Bottom line is money, ratings. All is vanity. Maisha no YOLO lakini…

  5. It’s typical in Kenya for underperfomers to attract favors from the CEOs and I have never known why. Whereas in the developed world promotion is on merit, in KENYA it’s based on sychophancy, nepotism and political inclination and thats why this Country is sinking. RMS started losing clout when the likes of Kasavuli, Mwaura, Mboya, left the screen. Hussein Mohamed, Swaleh Mudoe lit up citizen. Now it’s on it’s way down. Their level of maturity, mastery of language and humility attracted viewers across the social divide. He is a young man who knew that KENYA has a conservative audience. Some of only watched citizen coz of him, Jamila and Mudoe. The goodness with Media is that you can move to the next station with your favorite news anchor and when they retire ALJAZEER IS VERY PROFESSIONAL. WE WISH HIM WELL. Problem with most of today’s young news anchors is pride, lack of professionalism, shaky character, and poor ENGLISH! Dress code VERY unprofessional especially ladies.

  6. I have never liked Linus Kaikai.
    He seems to have an evil heart.
    I love Yvonne Okwara.
    Joe Ageyo is full of pride but i like his communication skills.

    1. Why would you not like a person? Instinct or just a feeling that you don’t?

      The reality, though, is that we have people who like us or not yet they know nothing about us.

      But, there is always something which is not explicable about this like or dislike.

  7. On the line of work there is no old people and others are new, people must be treated equally to import positive work,
    How can you pay a new comers more salary than those who are always working, that is biers

  8. For those professional experts in their fields – across board – who do not get opportunities to serve in Kenya – they are in thousands – export oneself to other countries.

    One wonders why and how Kenya as a country has such levels of wasting expertise.

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