Kenyans today woke up to news on social media that renowned radio broadcaster Leonard Mambo Mbotela has passed on.
Some bloggers took up the ‘news’ and published, but Business Today has confirmed that the man famous for his Je Huu ni Ungwana radio and TV programme and phrase is alive and kicking.
The reports, which claimed that Mambo had died in a road accident early today, are in fact false and part of the fake news wave sweeping the blogosphere perpetuated by bloggers seeking to increase visits to their sites.
KBC editor in chief Samuel Maina has confirmed that Mambo, who worked for the national broadcaster most of his life is alive. “I have just talked to him. It (the death news) is all nonsense,” he said.
Also, through his friend Ali Manzu of KTN, Mambo Mbotela has asked Kenyans to ignore the rumours. “Good morning, this is to confirm that Mzee Mambo Mbotela is not dead,” said Manzu on Facebook. “I have talked to him and he asked us to ignore the rumours.”
The fake news was started on Twitter by one Njoki Kelvin (Ngangatheblogger). It has emerged that the overzealous Twitter user mistook Leornad Mwamba, the jubilee aspirant in Kitutu Chache who died in an accident, for Mambo Mbotela.
Kelvin has apologized and pulled down the post. “The post I made referring to Leonard Mambo Mbotela was erroneous. It should be Léonard Mwamba a jubilee aspirant in Kitutu Chache. Apologies!”
The post i made Referring to Leonard Mambo Mbotela was erroneous should be Léonard Mwamba a jubilee aspirant in Kitutu Chache.Apologies!
— Ng’ang’a The Blogger (@ItsNjokiKelvin) July 15, 2017
But the news spread fast given that Leonard Mambo is a household name and must have got Kelvin more followers on Twitter as he misled many bloggers and social media users into announcing the fake news to others.
In this era of fake news, Kelvin’s apologies, and those of other bloggers who tweeted or published the rumours, should be taken with a pinch of salt and perhaps they needs to personally apologise to Leonard Mambo. Social media users and bloggers deliberately use fake posts about popular people perceived to be harmless to get attract fans.
This comes just a few months after another bloggers spread fake news about the death of Daniel Ndambuki, aka Churchill, in an accident along Mai Mahiu road. Fake news propagators target prominent people and celebrities.
Mambo, who retired but was retained by KBC, runs his music band which performs at Cub Vibro in Nairobi West. He has, however, been missing from the TV programme Je Huu ni Ungwana and his role has been taken up by one of the actors.
Mambo has been part of Kenya’s post-independent history as a continuity announcer at KBC and football commentator. But what makes him more prominent is the fact that he was in the studio when the 1982 coup plotters stormed KBC studios and made him announce takeover of the government, which was foiled a few hours later
Mambo, who hails Frere town in Mombasa, has worked in media for over, and his could easily be one of the longest stints on the airwaves. He has been in the media scene for more than 45 years.
Je Huu ni Ungwana was first aired in 1966. The show had its core focus on common courtesy and ethics among Kenyans. Mbotela also has a striking eloquence in Kiswahili and been campaigning for the protection of the language from being corrupted.