26 January 2011

Kenya: Journalists Vote in New Union Leaders

Nairobi — The Kenya Union of Journalists has elected new leaders. The union's new chairman is Mr Juma Kwayera, a senior writer with the Standard Group, while the secretary general is Mr Jared Obuya, a media analyst with BBC Monitoring in Nairobi.

Other officials were selected from the Nation Media Group, Radio Africa, People Newspapers, the Standard Group and K24.

The incoming leaders said that the election process came at a time when the media profession and industry were both experiencing immense changes that were affecting the entire country, therefore demanding a leadership overhaul.

"The elections marked the first step of a programme of renewal for KUJ, being driven by the new team which for months mobilised journalists around change," said Mr Obuya.

The union's newly elected officials reiterated that the elections held last week were "comprehensively consultative" and that they would embark on a mission to source membership from every recognised media institution in Kenya.

"We will immediately embark on revitalising chapels in every properly registered media institution of viable size for the purpose of membership.

"The media industry has evolved substantially over the last decade and KUJ intends to tap into that," said the new secretary general.

Recognition agreements

Only three media houses in Kenya have comprehensive recognition agreements with the journalists' union, the officials said, and could therefore start offering the legally set minimum employment conditions.

The union said that it hoped to strengthen cooperation with other parties in the media industry, such as the Media Owners Association, the Editors Guild and the government.

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