Daniel Kalinaki's weblog

A commentary on news and events in Uganda and elsewhere

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Just an ordinary bloke.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Discrediting the messenger - Part I

NAIROBI - A couple of weeks ago, I was awoken by the shrill ring of my cell next to my bed at the ungodly hour of 7am and a voice at the end saying sorry and asking if there was anything he could do to help during these difficult times.

G, my friend, was talking about a tabloid report which claimed that HH the Aga Khan, who is a principal shareholder in the company that owns the newspaper that I work for....(in other words, the top honcho), had fired me for having a written a 'negative' story about the Kenya-Uganda oil pipeline project.

Over the next few weeks (and particularly after a second version of the story was published with 'details' of my sacking) my phone rung off the hook, if a mobile phone can boast such an appendage, earning the phone company tonnes in roaming charges at my expense.

Having followed the pipeline story for months and having written about it more than anyone else, and having uncovered a lot of dirt in the project, I would have been extremely foolish to expect hugs and kisses from those with their hands in the $100 million pipeline.

I was still shocked by the temerity with which they carried out their mischief of trying to discredit both the author and the story. What was disappointing, but not surprising, was that someone had been paid to concoct that wicked poison from which the tabloid readers drunk.

Not everyone had sympathy for me (in fact, the vast majority did not). There was talk of the hunter finally being hunted, of being served in the same currency that, as a journalist, I dispense to others.

I will return to that later. In the meantime, here http://www.monitor.co.ug/specialincludes/ender/endbus01012.php is the story that they were trying to discredit. The names have been edited out for legal reasons in this and the version than first ran in Daily Monitor of Jan 01, 2007.

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