Citizen TV Journalists
Linus Kaikai and Yvonne Okwara have been earmarked for their newsroom roles in promoting Azimio’s agenda and suppressing coverage for Dr William Ruto.

There has been tension at Royal Media Services (RMS) since President Ruto took office in September, with the broadcast giant’s owners finding themselves holding the short end of the stick. It is understood that RMS co-owner S.K. Macharia has already started paying the high price of supporting Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Alliance presidential candidate Raila Odinga in the last elections.

President William Ruto’s administration is tightening its noose on the company’s management, and exerting pressure to have top journalists perceived to have been pro-Raila and anti-Ruto during the campaign period pushed out. Inside sources at RMS indicate that prime targets are editorial director Linus Kaikai and news anchor and talkshow host Yvonne Okwara.

Dr Ruto has also set his sight on Stephen Letoo, whom he once mocked at a press conference for covering Azimio rallies. “How is my good friend Stephen Letoo doing?” Mr Ruto asked. Mr Letoo, a political reporter assigned to cover the Azimio team during campaigns, responded, saying, “I am here my good friend, Mr President.”

The Ruto administration is determined to have the three out of Citizen TV as one of the conditions it has set to support Royal Media Services with advertising and other deals. RMS is already feeling the pinch with sources saying advertisements from government and related agencies have started thinning. This recently forced RMS to reach out to advertisers in an effort to retain them and expand their numbers. At a recent breakfast, the media house said, “we are delighted to break bread with our clients as we endeavor to offer the best partnerships and collaborations.”

Linus Kaikai and Yvonne Okwara have been earmarked for their newsroom roles in promoting Azimio’s agenda and suppressing coverage for Dr Ruto, who was the Kenya Kwanza presidential candidate. It understood Yvonne is being targeted for how she handled the presidential debate which was boycotted by Raila Odinga.

The Kenya Kwanza side felt that even though Ruto debated against himself after Raila boycotted the debate over unclear reasons, the Citizen TV journalist who was among four journalists picked to manager the interview “unfairly” treated Ruto by asking pointed questions that left him fumbling or contradicting himself.

After the interview, the Kenya Kwanza coalition is said have to deployed a team of undercover agents to trail and pick any contact or communications with Azimio team with a view to assembling evidence of unprofessional conduct against her. “It is not clear if they picked any leads but she would be trailed as soon as she left the newsroom to her house,” said a source at RMS.

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Kaikai, on the other hand, was appointed Royal Media Services Group Editorial Director in March 2022 after the exit of Joe Ageyo, giving him in sweeping control over election coverage. He is also accused by Kenya Kwanza of favouring Azimio and thus a candidate for axing. The two also cohosted the Newsgang programme which critiques current affairs issues.

RMS has fewer options, given that the government is the biggest advertiser and so far owes the media houses nearly Ksh2 billion through the Government Advertising Agency. Nation Media Group has already caved in to Ruto’s demand and made editorial changes by dropping Mutuma Mathiu from the position of editor-in-chief and moving Bernard Mwinzi from managing daily news.

This signals tough times ahead for big media in Kenya, with analysts seeing continued arm-twisting by the government, a development expected to also constrain freedom of expression.

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46 COMMENTS

    • True. Let us forge ahead. I know the President is a wise person. Let him not be cheated with those with selfish interest

  1. I think RMS should be delt with accordingly. The media was so biased against code of conduct on media houses.They took side openly and engaged in deep politics causing instability in the country. Government should shift its advertisements to other media platforms.
    S.K Macharia collaborated with the azimio,to used his media houses for biasness and spreading hate speech,to fix Ruto. Macharia should know that we’re fewers and we made RMW proud to prosper and become favourable media.

    • That’s ok since even in USA there is media freedom you have CNN which is seen to favor democrats and other channels which are biasedfor reps and are not targeted by govt…why Kenya??

    • It’s called democracy
      In the USA ,CNN and Fox News take sides without ramifications but ohhh power drunk Africans play differently of course.

    • Only KBC, unless it is converted to a corporation which never depends on tax payers money but private peoples funds, ought not to take sides. Otherwise, privately owned radios, TV, newspapers etc have a right to takes sides and dig out any factual dirt that they can lay their hands on against the party they don’t side with.

    • We should embrace freedom of speech n expression.The president should not stoop so low.He says he serves God,and that’s the reason he should stop being petty and tribal.There are small things that may just hinder one from entering the kingdom of god.

    • Your name betrays you. Your comment is obviously and clearly a reflection of ethnic or regional thinking.
      Media freedom should not be curtailed. Let the professional body deal with any rogue media. The government has a right to favour government media in business deals but not to curtail fundamental freedom of the media.

    • In other countries media houses take side in election, freedom of expression Kenya is democratic nation criticism journalist that’s being personal for aman we call a president, he needs to focus on serving Life not petty issues, it’s wrong to revenge

  2. Why people so jealous of citizen TV?is it because it’s established and has many viewers?Fact remains that we Kenyans should not depend on government jobs or things.Lets boycott government business eg Kq .Let’s do private things.Lets promote each other it’s clear the government will never help us to achieve our dreams.

    • Can you even afford a private Uber? Forget about KQ and stick to your lane. I think the only service you can boycott is safaricom. Because Airtel is cheaper for you.

    • We must all strive to ensure Government business is conducted openly and fairly. Even KBC must not be favoured to get government adverts. After all we all pay taxes without bias. Government adverts, goods and services must be bided for openly and evaluated openly without any responsible body ‘looking over its shoulders to see who is watching’. Political bias of any kind must be not be a condition to get business opportunities. Government must get value for money from the most qualified and competitive supplier. Taxes za Kenya sio ya mama ama baba ya mtu – awe in the ruling party ama opposition.

  3. Only dictatoships limit freedom of press, so i guess we know where we are headed under the guise of god fearing leafership.

  4. Democracy is all that Kenyans required .we can’t allow dictatorship again. But also let us be sincere.

  5. Linus and Yvonne have achieved their dreams. I can only suggest that they be left to continue enjoying their constitutional and Democratic rights. Otherwise, governments are never friendly to individuals who speak out against its so-called manifestos.

  6. President Ruto cannot be that idle to think about akina Kaikai…..they were never a threat to Kenya Kwanza campaigns as the results of the general elections clearly showed

  7. Very sad for Kenya. We we ever achieve democracy? Really? I pity the young generation, what a legacy. It is indeed very sad

    • Let everyone carry his or her own burdens,
      The media house did not show equity to all.everybody could see that waliegemea upande wa azimioooooooo….and that is why they seem to be zimiaring😎

      • The freedom of press was abused by Okwaro, I didn’t like the way she harassed Sakaja during the gubernatorial debate. Let her pay the price.

  8. The Presidents role is to unite and move the country to the next level of development. Revenge should be left to his deputy. Does it mean that those who did not vote UDA will be denied services yet they are to pay taxes as those who did.

    • We’ve a very unique country in the world if you are not for the government you don’t enjoy the government premises

  9. How do want those of us who felt the loss of our president to move on and you as an administration can’t?
    What hypocrisy!!!!
    The president and his people must also move on, nothing is permanent in this world!

  10. UDA campaigned with the slogan ” Freedom is coming soon”. Have they forgotten about the said freedom for Kenyans? If jubilee administration wasn’t giving Kenyans freedom of speech or anything else then what are all these? If president W. S. Ruto really won Kenyans hearts then he should start building bridges not destroying the farther relationship with the masses. Unite Kenyans and move on coz campaign period is long gone.

  11. This is what we call Dictatorship,every body in the Country has freedom to express the thoughts .Let every Kenyan enjoyes his or her democratic rights. No body is above the law. And if someone think that he is only , then there may ocur amess in the nation.

  12. If anyone wants personal media coverage, let them use KBC or K24 or open their own media, the rest are private businesses. They choose what to air, if you are not a fan, the remote controlling your tv is owned by you.
    The Govt advertising with Citizen is simply because the media house got viewership, if not they can as well advertise with KBC. Kenya kwanza can start their own media house and air their content, buying everyone is the country to be on your side doesnt necessarily mean you’re loved.
    Dictatorship has just begun, welcome to Moi’s era.

  13. Didn’t know this would go political I know politicians should be mature.we never voted anywhere and are not seeing any repacations royal media is for politicians na wananchi won’t be that much hurt so go ahead and unleash your anger Kenyans won’t lose all the best

  14. Linus Kaikai and Yvonne Okwara are the most biased, skewed, unethical, unprofessional and discriminative journalists in Kenya. They’ve NEVER been fair, just, objective, professional, unbiased and truthful in their political interviews, comments, opinions and debates. They’ve always been used by dynastical corrupt forces to spread biased, skewed and hatred opinions against individuals like Dr William Ruto or those persevered to be against dynasties like Raila Odinga, Uhuru Kenyatta or Daniel Moi.
    These 2 corrupt citizen journalists i.e Kaikai and Okwara are cheap and have sold their professionalism and moral ethics to dynasties. They would rather burn our country for monetary and selfish greedy gains/interests.

  15. All in all i see our country being driven back to the older generation where democracy and freedom was limitised by the government

  16. It is too petty for a person like the president to go for small people like tv presenters, it’s like an elephant going after an ant, what a shame, he should put important issues like hunger, security and job creation first, shame on him too petty he better get to work and deliver what he promised Kenyans.

  17. This report is not exhaustive and debits WSR as revengeful. It has carefully avoided the fact that RMS was very unprofessional and many reporters had openly criticized their leadership behavior during the elections. Now the report wants to vindicate them

  18. What’s democracy?it’s not promoted by biases. RMS had been biased all along the campaign period forcing majority of Kenyans to switch on to KBC for Fair reporting

  19. RMS perse was wrongly taken due to the position of Dr S. K Macharia in Azimio’s campaigns, but not that they were so biased, in their reports. Hence personal I see no need of witch hunting those guys.

  20. “God fearing”, “respect the rule of law” and “democratic” are some of the words that have been routed by tbis president time and again yet they seem to be mere and baseless rhetoric. Freedom of expression and free speech is a constitutional right which even journalists enjoy. The only things that are obvious here are an outright grudge, vendetta and settling of scores just to satisfy some wounded egos. It is the same dictates that are hounding special police units and every other individual or institution that did not favour this presidency. You cannot force people to like you let alone vote for you or pick your side; that remains their prerogative and keeping score makes only for a petty, bitter, vengeful person who is ultimately unchristian, an ifidelit to constitutionalism and an arch enemy of the tenets of democracy.

  21. Those journalists are the least of the problems Ruto ‘s admin. will face. 3 mts after winning they’re still so excited each minister saying whatever he thinks. This gvt is clueless, rudderless and vengeful. We’ve walked this road before. We have dealt with dictators before. We will overcome this too. Keep the faith.

  22. This is just some cooked up azimio propaganda! Who doesnt know that what presenters convey isnt their views? Again even a primary school kid would ask what gain will the government in pushing for the exit of such ‘flies’ from such a giant media company? MTU.angebebeshwa mzigo ni kipara ngoto!! Or else this is pure propaganda!

  23. This is absurd for the head of state to deal with malice to those who did not support him.we voted for you because you were ill treated by your boss.if you continue like this then we shall do the obvious

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