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Linus Kaikai’s Bold Journey to the Top

Kaikai's dedication to his craft and his fierce defense of media freedom have become defining traits of his career

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Linus Kaikai was earlier this year named as Royal Media Services (RMS) Editorial Director, putting him in charge of output across all of the company’s outlets. Among platforms under the large RMS umbrella are Citizen TV and Radio Citizen – Kenya’s most watched and listened to TV and radio stations respectively.

His appointment followed the exit of Joe Ageyo who left for a new role at Nation Media Group (NMG). The appointment is the latest milestone in Kaikai’s prolific journalism career spanning over two decades.

Kaikai’s dedication to his craft and his fierce defense of media freedom have become defining traits of his career. In 2018, he had to spend a night at NMG offices in fear of arrest after he strongly backed NTV’s coverage of Raila Odinga’s swearing in at Uhuru Park as the ‘People’s President’ after disputed Presidential elections.

The former Kenya Editors Guild (KEG) Chairman has the accolades to show for it as well. He is the winner of two CNN Africa Journalism Awards – including TV journalist of the year in 1997 and Environmental Journalist of the year in 1998.

His career as a journalist began with him as an intern reporter at KTN. After finding his footing, he started delivering strong reports as his journalistic talent shone through. When former KTN and SABC cameraman Johnson Barasa passed in 2020, Kaikai harked back to his beginnings as he paid tribute.

“Johnson Barasa was to me a career big brother. Because of him I gathered the confidence to face the camera for the first time as an intern. I moved with him to SABC and together we told good and bad stories around the world,” he wrote in April 2020.

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In June 1999, Kaikai joined the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) as a correspondent. At SABC he covered various major news stories and interviewed the likes of Nelson Mandela.

Between 1999 and 2007, he rose through the ranks from Correspondent to Bureau Chief and is credited with being among key figures who established SABC’s presence in East Africa.

He returned to KTN in 2007 armed with a wealth of experience and expertise. He was appointed Managing Editor in charge of Quality and Product Development.

He stayed  at KTN until 2009 when he moved to NTV where he was appointed Managing Editor. He climbed the corporate ladder and by 2018, when he left, was in charge of NMG’s broadcast division as NTV General Manager.

Thereafter, Kaikai moved to RMS as part of a new dream team featuring media talents poached from other media houses – including Joe Ageyo and Yvonne Okwara. He was named Director of Strategy and Innovation.

At Citizen, he also found himself back on screen as part of the Newsgang panel. Kaikai also began hosting his own hard-hitting news analysis segment known as Kaikai’s Kicker.

Kaikai has also produced various political documentaries such as Moi, Mwai and Muigai. He also moderated Kenya’s first Presidential debate in 2013.

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