Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Author: 

Bedan Mbugua Bedan Mbugua, General Manager of Royal Media, Kenya’s largest media organisation, participated in the Caux Forum for Human Security. “As a child I learnt from my mother’s firm faith, her care for those who needed help, and her refusal to tolerate dishonesty. When I became a journalist, I tried to apply these precepts in my work.       

“In 1988 Beyond, the magazine of which I was editor, exposed the fraud in the Presidential election. I was called to see the President. ‘Why did you publish those articles?’ he asked me. I replied, ‘Because of my love for my country. I could see we are heading for dictatorship.’          

He demanded that I write a letter of apology, otherwise I would go to jail. I replied, ‘I would rather be in physical prison than in the prison of my conscience.’ So I was taken to court and jailed. 

Corruption is destroying my country. Not long ago, when my newspaper was about to expose a major bank which was siphoning off public funds, the managing director came with five million Kenya Shillings in a suitcase, offering them to me if I would stop the article. We published it and he fled the country.

The political class are in denial about this situation. But now we have a new constitution, and we are using it to ensure that they listen to the people. Before a new Chief Justice was chosen in May, we invited civil society and individual Kenyans to interview the candidates on television – which has never happened before. 

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