By Jeremiah WAKAYA| @WakayaKE
Renowned Daily Nation cartoonist Godfrey Mwapembwa has protested his sacking by the Nation Media Group saying his termination was unprocedural. Mwapembwa, who goes by the pen name Gado, alleges that the Jubilee administration has a hand in the termination of his contract despite NMG insisting that his exit was not politically motivated and in fact it was amicable.
I AM INDEPENDENT
Gado, who has worked at DN for 23 years, recounted a moment when he got a call from people who he believes were aids of a senior politician in the government saying that they were unhappy with a caricature he had drawn.
In an interview with the BBC World Service, the celebrated cartoonist is quoted as saying that he was independent and he wouldn’t compromise for anything. “I am independent – I will not be told what to draw and not draw,” said Gado.
Gado has been seen to be vocal and critical of both sides of the political divide;something that shows his commitment to independence-a cardinal rule in the practice of journalism.This commitment has been proven by his recent criticism of CORD co-principal Moses Wetangula over his involvement in the BAT scam.
JAKAYA KIKWETE CARTOON
According to Gado, who is a Tanzanian national, his troubles began last year when he was asked to go for leave after which his editor told him he would return and continue with his contract until July 2016.
However, Gado revealed in an interview with the BBC World Service that at the time of going on leave, he had done a cartoon of the retired President of Tanzania Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete which did not paint him in good light.
The said cartoon was seen to be derogatory to the institution of the Presidency of the United Republic of Tanzania as it was seen to be mocking an ailing president for allegedly using public resources for his medication abroad.
CRACKDOWN ON DISSENTING VOICES
Just a month ago, Comment Section News carried a story on a displeased Kenyan who expressed his anger after it emerged that NMG had sacked a number of journalists for being critical of the government. According to Onyango, the media house was still planning to sack more journalists in subsequent weeks.
The Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) which Gado and the aggrieved journalists are members had issued a statement condemning the layoffs. “In a span of two months, at least four senior editors have been kicked out of newsrooms on the grounds of redundancy and flimsy grounds to please those who pay the piper,” read a statement by KUJ.
While most journalists working for major media houses in the country have had their mouths sealed for fear of victimization, other have expressed their disappointments in the sacking of their colleagues saying that it was regrettable. Among them are Star newspaper cartoonist Gathara and former KTN journalist John Allan Namu.