Quick! Somebody check to see if an NMG reporter has been transported back in time to work at Soviet-era Pravda! Check to see if a journalist was forced at gunpoint to revise their article! Something very strange is going on, and the Daily Nation is doing its best to hide the truth.
I get RSS feeds which I check throughout the day. A new article comes in, I read the headline and decide whether I want to read further. Yesterday, under the headline “CMA Cautions Whistleblowers” was this interesting snippet:
In a statement to media houses on Wednesday, CMA chief executive, Ms Stella Kilonzo, put whistleblowers on notice warning them of dire consequences…
I was doing something else at the time, so simply marked to article as being of interest and left it for a couple of hours. Only by the time I got round to it, the article had been extraordinarily rendered from the Nation website.
I wasn’t drunk (too early) and I hadn’t imagined it. Have a look at my screenshot:
Google had indexed the article, yet clicking through to it only got a 404 error message. Somebody at Nation House had decided that Stella Kilonzo’s pig-headedly stupid gaffe should be removed from the public record before the hapless CMA executive became the object of widespread ridicule.
The CMA is an organisation in crisis. It is still acclimatising to Mrs Kilonzo after losing Chege Waruingi in January, and is also having to deal with a major scandal that has shown up its inadequacies as a regulator. Despite the leaked report, ordinary members of the public still do not know quite how bad the situation actually is. The very last thing the chief executive should be doing is threatening those who would bring wrongdoing to light. To then send this out as a missive to the media houses smacks of astonishingly bad judgement, and gives me pause to wonder if perhaps Ms Kilonzo has a conflict of interest that will prevent her from reforming the regulatory framework to prevent other dodgy deals.
What makes the situation even worse is that the Daily Nation obviously wrote an aritcle detailing what had happened, but then pulled it, hoping to minimise whatever damage they anticipated. But why? Who leaned on who to get rid of the incriminating evidence? Were NMG management worried about Kilonzo doing a Lucy?
Neither party comes out of this little event covered in glory. The CMA looks as though it is so utterly incompetent that it would rather hear no bad news rather than have to take action. The Daily Nation looks as though it has either made an editorial decision after pressure or because it wants to protect somebody. Whatever happened to “publish and be damned?”
What is most galling is that thousands of Kenyans have lost money, yet the so-called regulator is sitting on a report because it’s embarrassing and is instead gunning for those who might expose other people with questionable business practices. We’re in the middle of a bear run, Stella! People were losing confidence in the markets already, yet your actions only make it worse. Do you have hedge bets against the Kenyan economy or something? Are you determined to destroy the country from within? What, the post-election violence last year was so exciting that you wanted something dramatic for early 2009 too?
In a statement on the CMA’s website, Stella Kilonzo insists that the CMA “would like to encourage the investing public to fully participate in the capital market.” I’ll tell you what, darling: I’ll take part in the investment game when you and those you are protecting have been removed from a position of influence and somebody who actually knows what the job description means is put in charge. Regulators are there to protect the investing public, not the charlatans who caused this mess. And if the Daily Nation is too scared to acknowledge that fact, then more fool them.
[Image by Pretty n Punk]