Kenyan journalists urged to write books

October 2, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 2 – Kenyan Journalists have been challenged to write books on political issues in a bid to stimulate public debate on governance.

Michela Wrong, the British journalist who wrote the controversial book, It\’s Our Turn to Eat – The Story of a Kenyan Whistle Blower, regrets that despite having award winning journalists in Kenya, few non-academic books have been written here.

"Kenyan journalism is extremely strong and I have always been really impressed by them," she said.

"In my country journalists go on to write a lot of non-fictional books. Probably here partly there are financial reasons that they cannot afford to finance such books."

She says journalists should share their experiences and analytical skills and inform citizens on national matters.

"It is a shame because they have got a lot of writing skills and huge analytical understanding of Kenya," she told Capital news in an interview.

Some of the issues that have constantly dominated the Kenyan political scene are corruption, governance, leadership and political struggles and haggling and dynasties.

However very little is documented on these issues. A former journalist Odinge Odera recently launched a book on Oginga Odinga Kenya\’s first post independent vice president.

Billy Kahura\’s book on Goldenberg whistle blower David Munyeki is another unique book of this nature written by a journalist.

"It makes people think about their society and can be a force for change. I think a lot of problems can be sorted this way," remarked Ms Wrong.

She is also fronting more documentation of whistleblower\’ stories in the continent to help fight corruption and promote good governance.

"I think it is a way of helping greater transparency because it means their work is not forgotten," she said.

The writer is in the country to attend the ongoing Storymoja Hay Festival at the Nairobi Railways Sports Club. In its second year, the Festival will have over 60 events in three packed days of activities for adults and children alike.

The festival offers a platform for Kenyans to share stories and as storytelling has a rich tradition in Kenya. To celebrate this tradition, the festival hosts the final rounds of the schools storytelling competition, storytelling performances and workshops culminating with the competition finale on Sunday evening.


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