Citizen TV news anchor and talkshow host Jeff Koinange (right) and Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko (left) during the interview broadcasted on Wednesday June 6, 2019. The interview places JKL on the spot once more.

Citizen TV was forced to cut short an interview with Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko moderated by talk show host Jeff Koinange broadcasted live on Wednesday after it got out of hand.

In the build up to the intervention by Koinange’s managers, Sonko, who is known for being rowdy in interviews, was irked by Koinange’s attempts to veer off from the topic under discussion-Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris- due to editorial considerations.

Koinange, who was last year warned by the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) over unethical behaviour after an interview with Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary General Francis Atwoli featured lewd talk, was attempting to take control of the interview but the governor would have none of that; it was either his way or the highway.

Armed with documents, which he alleged to be evidence, Sonko accused Passaris of using her influence to coax per diems from Nairobi County and the National Assembly simultaneously for her foreign trips against the law.

Sonko also alleged that Saturday’s scuffle was a political plot by powerful individuals to discredit his leadership. He claimed that Passaris was under instructions to ensure that she provoked him.

“This is a very sensitive issue and women are watching. My reputation has been soiled and women have formed an opinion about me based on malicious intentions of my detractors,” Sonko said before Koinange made the first move to change the subject by moving on to development matters.

“You are deviating from the subject. My record in Nairobi speaks for itself,” Sonko told Koinange in an attempt to ensure the interviewer stayed on with what he wanted.

Left with no other option, the talkshow’s director was forced to temporarily halt the interview with a commercial break. When the show resumed, Koinange informed the audience that the broadcaster would be cutting short the interview.

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“Due to standards and quality control here at Royal Media Services, we will not be proceeding with the interview,” said Koinange much to Sonko’s displeasure.

MCK’s Code of Conduct for the Practice of Journalism in Kenya requires media practitioners to censor individuals making derogatory remarks based on ethnicity, race, creed, colour and sex.

During the interview with Atwoli last year, Nancy Booker, a media commentator and the Head of the Faculty of Media and Communication at the Multimedia University of Kenya (MMU) took to twitter to show how shocked she was at how low JKL had sunk.

“Did Jeff Koinage just ask Atwoli whether anaweza kazi live on air?” posed Ms Booker.

This must have been the basis of the broadcaster’s decision to call off the interview especially after MCK’s warning last year.

Koinange is also no stranger to rowdy interviews. In 2016, he was forced out of KTN after an interview with now exiled lawyer Miguna Miguna and Passaris became ungovernable.

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During the interview, Miguna, then a Nairobi gubernatorial aspirant made distasteful comments at Passaris, which Koinange failed to rein in despite his vast experience as a journalist.

In 2015, a Nairobi court also ordered for the arrest of Koinange and KTN’s Point Blank host Tony Gachoka for contempt.

The two had ignored the court’s orders barring them from discussing businessman Jimi Wanjigi, Mr Sani Mbui Wanjigi and Kwacha Group of Companies Limited on JKL, whose copyright was held by KTN at the time.


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