Taita Taveta leaders urge the media to be responsible in their reporting

12:14 Apr 1 2013 Taita Taveta, Kenya

Leaders in Taita Taveta county have appealed to the media to avoid writing or airing malicious and alarming reports that are bound to spark superfluous tension.
The leaders urged reporters to stick to issues and agendas which are truthful in a bid to steer developments in the county.
Addressing residents outside the governor’s office in Wundanyi after the governor’s swearing in, the leaders were especially concerned that negative reporting was likely to build mistrust amongst the leaders in the incoming county government and thereby affect development in the county.
They were reacting over persistent cases where leaders were allegedly misquoted in one of the dailies an issue they said should be avoided.
At the center of the criticism was an article published on March 27, 2013 which alleged that Provincial Administration and the governor were in conflict over who should occupy Taita’s District Commissioners residence.
Different speakers among them Governor John Mruttu, Wundanyi MP Thomas Mwadeghu, and Taita District Commissioner Njenga Miiri denied the allegations and described the article as erroneous.
The article titled: “Administrators embroiled in row over official’s residence” appeared to anger Mr Mruttu who expressed his anger before he read his speech soon after he was sworn in.
“Kabla sijasoma hii hotuba, kuna habari ambazo zimechapishwa kwa gazeti leo na hazijanifurahisha. Nataka niwaeleze ya kwamba habari hizo sio za kweli. Mimi nimechaguliwa kutumikia wakaazi wa Kaunti hii na wala sio kugombania majengo".(Before I read the speech I want to say that there are some reports published in a newspaper today which have annoyed me. Let me put it clear to you the allegations are false. I have been elected to serve the residents of this county and not to fight over buildings and offices).
The said article read in part: “A row is simmering between the Provincial Administration and governor-elect in Taita Taveta County over who should occupy Taita DC’s residence. Governor-elect John Mtuta Mruttu insists he should occupy the house that houses the DC Njenga Miiri.
Yesterday, he accused senior Provincial Administration officials of frustrating his attempts to take over the residence”.
“Provincial Administration has refused to hand over the residence among other assets to the county government. The residence rightly belongs to the governor,” he said when he spoke to(Name of the publication withheld) in Mwatate”.
“The Transition Authority (TA) has even asked the DC to hand over the residence to me in vain,” complained Mr Mruttu, who will be sworn-in today in Mwatate town.
Mr Miiri, however, said no one had approached him to hand over the residence to the governor.
“To be honest I am not aware of the issue. Nobody has told me about it and it cannot be true,” the DC said in his response to Mruttu’s claims.
However, the governor said he was not contacted and none of the above quotes had emanated from him.
Similarly, Miiri noted that the wrangles claims between him and the governor were unfounded.
Wundanyi legislator Mwadeghu appealed to members of the fourth estate to avoid pushing leaders into conflict and warned the incoming leaders to beware of some few reporters who are fond of misquoting sources.
“Why can’t reporters report the truth? If you publish false reports you should know that you are likely to hamper development in this region especially at this time. You should understand that some of the incoming leaders are new to this limelight and might fail to deliver if you start mixing up in conflicts at this early stage,” noted Mwadeghu.
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