KTN News studio. Feature interrogating circumstances leading to Tecra Muigai's death 'disappears" from KTN News' You Tube Channel while the broadcaster has kept the public in the dark on whether the second instalment of the report will air.

When Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji dropped murder charges against Omar Lali on July 16, the popular public sentiment was that the man accused of murdering Keroche heiress Tecra Muigai was David and was losing the battle against Goliath due to his humble background.

There are always two sides to every story and up until the DPP’s intervention, the narrative had swung against him without him being given an opportunity to show his side of the coin.

Omar Lali, the boyfriend to the late Tecra Muigai, one of the daughters to billionaire businesswoman and Keroche Breweries CEO Tabitha Karanja, became a suspect following the latter’s death on May 2, 2020, after she sustained head and face injuries having fallen down a staircase flight in Lali’s house while on holiday in Lamu on April 27.

When Haji withdrew the charges against Lali, he ordered a fresh inquiry into the death of the Former Keroche Director of Strategy and Innovation with reports indicating that the top prosecutor was not satisfied there was sufficient evidence to charge Lali with murder.

That’s the backgrounder.

Lali did get a chance to tell his side of the story in a feature by KTN News’ crime and investigations series The Lead.

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The 21-minute story was titled; The Secret Lives of Omar Lali & Tecra Muigai; events before her untimely death {Part One}.

After a long period of speculation, his opening up gave the public fresh perspective to the story and the lovebirds’ secret lives before Tecra’s untimely death.

In the piece, Lali revealed that Tabitha Karanja did not hold him in high regard and was vehemently opposed to their relationship at first to the extent of telling him to his face that there was no way she was going to allow her daughter to live with an Al-Shabaab militant.

“When Tecra took me to her family, they didn’t want to hear anything about me. Her mother told me there is no way her daughter was going to live with an Alshabab terrorist. But I have since forgiven her since she is old school and probably didn’t mean it. At one point she came home with a convoy of six cars and I decided to take off because I was not too sure of her motives,” the 51-year old fisherman narrated.

He however revealed that the friction between the two parties eased following the intervention of Tecra’s brother, James Muigai who convinced their father Joseph Karanja to bless the wishes of his daughter.

KTN Pulls Down Story

 As mentioned earlier, there are always two sides of the story and it is the media’s duty to interrogate issues thoroughly and report facts, this time it seems, Omar Lali’s account did not go down well in certain quarters.

KTN has now pulled down the story from its YouTube channel triggering questions about its independence and possible arm-twisting by the wealthy family.

The story had racked up over 55,000 views before it was brought down on Wednesday. Being an issue of public interest, Kenyans are questioning why the story was pulled down and why KTN has compromised its independence.

Curiously, when KTN aired part one of the story on September 30, the broadcaster never informed the public whether and when the second installment of the story would be published.

Traditionally, in broadcast, the last installment of a news item tends to be the most informative as it contains the bulk of the body and conclusion to the story. It was expected the second part of this particular story would reveal much more about the events before the death of Tecra and the circumstances surrounding her demise.

The story also had its print version which enjoys the privilege of permanence as the publisher cannot recall all the newspapers that contained the story,

Why would KTN pull down the story? Was the broadcaster arm-twisted? Is this another case of interference with the independence of the media?

Business Today‘s independent assessment of the matter is that the wealthy Keroche Family has flexed its influence and had the story taken down.

In the story, Omar Lali stated that during the night of her death, Tecra had been taking alcohol and regretted that his efforts to prevail upon her to cut down on her drinking habits proved futile.

“That day I had taken some antibiotics for my tooth which had an infection. She pressured me to drink but I only took a few drinks and blacked out. I was wakened up by the sound of a thud and when I work up, I realized she had fallen down the sharp staircase on her way to the washroom,” he stated.

“The only thing, regrettably, that I failed to teach her was regulation of alcohol intake. She used to drink a lot and I pleaded with her to only drink in the evenings but she would respond by telling that her family was in the alcohol business and drinking was their tradition which I must respect as she respected mine,” Omar said.

With a fresh inquiry into Tecra’s death at play, it is likely that the billionaire family felt the story did not favour them and did not want their daughter’s reputation dragged through the mud after her death and put out all stops to ensure that Omar Lali’s account was killed off.

Business Today contacted KTN’s Crime and Investigations Editor Hussein Mohamed but attempts to get him to comment on why the story was pulled down proved futile.

Killing Stories

Keroche Breweries has been a mainstay for the last decade in the advertising slots in between Kenyan prime time programming. It is possible that commercial considerations came into play before deciding to pull down the story.

Last year, Business Today reported on the killing (newsroom lingo for muzzling stories) of investigative stories at KTN.

The latest development represents an all too familiar habit at the Standard Group where investigative stories of public interest are muzzled.

In February 2018, Hadubini an investigative piece by Hussein Mohamed lined up to tell the story of how Kenya Power was fradulently hiking power bills was shelved despite public interest in the matter.

In October 2018, KTN faced public backlash after refusing to air The Profiteers, a story by award-winning journalist John Allan Namu on the plunder of South Sudan by the political elite who later enjoy the ill-gotten wealth in Kenya despite airing its promo multiple times.

The Omar Lali now falls into the long list of stories that have been kept away from the public by top bosses without any editorial justification.

The culture of muzzling stories at Standard Group has been there and has transcended the tenures of different editorial bosses.

See Also>>>> Nation Newspaper Shakeup Leaves Out a Number of Top Editors

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