US-based scholar Prof Makau Mutua who is set to make a return to Sunday Nation pages this weekend.

Former Sunday Nation columnist Prof Makau Mutua is set to make a comeback this weekend over one year since he joined others in quitting the country’s largest circulating newspaper in a huff to protest lack of editorial independence.

Mutua, a SUNY Distinguished Professor and former Dean of the University at Buffalo Law School, Catholic priest Gabriel Dolan, Kenya Human Rights Commission Executive Director George Kegoro and former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association Maina Kiai later joined the Standard on Sunday.

However, the departure of Tom Mshindi as Editor-in-Chief and the appointment of Mike Owuor, as the Sunday editor appear to have convinced the outspoken scholar to make a comeback to the media house’s weekend pages. Mshindi was replaced by Mutuma Mathiu.

Others who quit on March 27 last year were Muthoni Wanyeki, Rasna Warah, Gabrielle Lynch, Prof Nick Cheeseman and Kwamchetsi Makokha. They accused the Nation Media Group (NMG) of a pro-government bias, declaring they could “no longer continue to clothe the loss of editorial independence and freedom at the NMG with respectability.”

“Thankfully, public opinion is no longer in the sole grip of those who buy ink by the barrel. We are encouraged by the emergence of more egalitarian models for accessing and sharing information and will not be powerless witnesses to the silencing even of one voice, however disagreeable those in power find it,” they said in a joint statement.

Mshindi, however, still writes for Sunday Nation as a columnist in what is seen as part of a strategy to raise the profile of its op-ed profiles.

At the time, Mutua and the other columnists were aggrieved by the unceremonious exit of Special Projects and Investigations Editor Dennis Galava over a strong editorial against the presidency as well as the pushing out of editorial cartoonist Godfrey Mwampembwa, alias Gado and subsequently exit of other senior editorial staff, including Investigations Editor Andrew Teyie and News Editor Mugumo Munene.

Mutua took to his social media pages to announce his return to Sunday Nation and Owuor, considered some of the most objective journalists at the twin towers confirmed the same.

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The scholar said he made the decision confident that with an NMG editorial leadership committed to a free and independent press, they will keep the embers of democracy burning.


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