This murder mystery sold newspapers by truckloads

Residents of Kisumu gather at Got Alila where charred remains of Robert Ouko were found [Photo: File]

There are Kenyan stories that have sold newspapers, although we won’t say like hot cakes. When the Daily Nation covered the murder of populist politician JM Kariuki with a story that he was in Zambia, sales and confusion went through the roof.

The body of JM, the only legislator to ever pass a private member’s Bill in 1968, was all along at the City Mortuary when Daily Nation Editor-in Chief George Githii was penning a misleading headline that is now a classic case study of media ethics gone awry at the School of Journalism.

JM’s Bill created the Hire Purchase Act that was enforced in 1970, and for 44 years, has enabled Kenyans in the ‘hustler category’ to furnish their homes in instalments.

JM’s 1975 murder story sold newspapers as was the case with the assassination of Tom Mboya six years earlier.

JM was the only high profile person from Central Kenya to attend Mboya’s burial in Rusinga Island... and no shoes were hurled at him.

The 1982 abortive coup attempt was another historical occurrence that...

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