Last Thursday, the Jeff Koinange Live Show, popularly known as #JKL, aired on KTN for the last time. Following intense pressure from the public, KTN must have been finally forced to crack the whip, after an altercation between Miguna Miguna and Esther Pasaris (both aspirants of the Nairobi gubernatorial seat) turned really ugly on the show two weeks ago.

Miguna Miguna was accused of having savagely attacked Pasaris using unprintable and sexist words. Among other things, he called her a flower girl who is always running after rich “sponsors!” and during the break (off-air), he is alleged to have told Pasaris that she “looks so beautiful that every man wants to rape her!” This part was much publicised in a clip, leaked by Xtian Dela, which widely did the rounds in social media.

The Big Question is, did KTN have to terminate their contract with the veteran journalist? Jeff is accused of having failed to control the show and allowing it to degenerate into a “bar brawl.” But how is a journalist supposed to tame a seriously loose mouth like that of Miguna Miguna? And then again, how is the public supposed to know the true characters of political office aspirants, if their ugly behavior under pressure is not captured by journalists?

Sometimes journalists must be allowed to get out of their way, to exhaustively bring out the true characters of those running for political office, so that the public can make its informed conclusions. This is not possible without journalists who push the envelope a bit to do something out of the box.

Jeff might have intentionally or inadvertently let the altercation get out of hand but, in my opinion, KTN ‘s move was punitively too harsh. Yet, the biggest loser here is the media house since this was an independently produced program.

Whether we like it or not, Jeff Koinange is a household name and #JKL is his brand. If statistics are to be believed, #JKL had a viewership of about 10 million across the region. This means that, if Jeff moves to a rival media house, he moves with a huge chunk of KTN’s viewership on Wednesday and Thursday nights!

I don’t agree with Miguna’s derogatory language, neither do I condone Jeff’s failure to come to Pasaris rescue. But I feel that the whole thing was blown out of proportion and Jeff Koinange’s #JKL deserved a second chance in KTN. What do you think?

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