Of Churchill, Kanyari And The Media

Controversial fake miracle preacher Kanyari, set off a media storm after an appearance on the Churchill Live comedy show ( Press Play to watch in the video above). In a highly critiqued segment, a brazen Kanyari unwittingly exposed the rot that is eating up the prosperity gospel fraternity. The bottom-line. It is all business. While Kanyari knows how to play the gallery, using controversy as his meal ticket, his mockery of Christian faith rubbed many faithful the wrong way. The fêted Daniel Ndambuki better known as Churchill was caught in the resulting furore. The main accusation was that Churchill had abused his public platform by glorifying an exposed fraudster. Several commentators accused the comedian of crossing the line of good taste and trading decency for ratings. Alongside, was the characteristic drone about the media’s role in moral policing of society.

I have always found that argument naive. The media is no position to uphold society’s values. At least not in Kenya. Not with the many vested interests pulling strings behind the scenes. In the real sense, the public decides what is entertaining and media takes the cue.

Therefore anyone who expects to get moral guidance from popular TV is walking on thin ice. In the TV business, ratings pay bills and nothing garners ratings like a controversial figure. Tabloid type sensationalism is highly ranked across all media platforms. From Print to TV, online and radio. The new class of Kenyan socialites known for nothing else but their prominent derrieres consistently out rate real achievers in the popularity ratings.

In hindsight, Kanyari’s arrogance was a reflection of an attitude that Kenyans now find commonplace. Ironically, he won over some admirers for speaking his truth. In an unapologetic manner, he turned the mirror back on his criticizers. Let he who has not sinned, cast the first stone. His message was plain and simple. Everyone is in on the deal and I was simply the one who was caught with his hand in the jar. Besides, until proven guilty by a court of law, his accusers could easily be dismissed as rumour mongers and haters.

Play this against the backdrop of 175 high level officials among them cabinet secretaries stepping aside to pave way for investigations into corruption allegations tabled by Ethic and Anti-Corruption commission ( EACC). The counter accusations have gone into full swing and everyone is pleading innocence. Integrity has become an occupational handicap in public office and on the downtrodden side of the tracks, money is now the end game of spirituality.





Oyunga Pala is a Kenyan newspaper columnist. The blog examines the texture of everyday Kenyan life and the challenges of modernity and disillusion. The writings commonly feature the struggle of the Kenyan male to maintain integrity in contemporary society.


  1. I don’t watch Church hill so I’m not sure what exactly went down but I was privy to some complaints by colleagues who have families. I have a few questions:

    -The church hill show is considered ‘wholesome’ viewing and marketed as such by NTV right? Which I assume (and I could be wrong) is why it is slotted before prime time news.

    Could have the audience/consumer been offended because the interview turned smutty when they were expecting wholesome entertainment? If so, don’t they have a right to be aggrieved? Shouldn’t someone take ownership of this misstep?

    -Do the media houses have a clear understanding of brands? How is content managed? What are the guidelines? i.e Sleepy hollow (a commercial broadcast network show) writers can’t go like “Oh, walking dead (a cable network show) is the in thing. Let’s bring on their brand gore!”. They would be violating certain content guidelines that apply to commercial broadcast network shows.

    -I get irritated when local media houses use the ‘We’re just going with what everyone wants. We’re just reflecting society!’ school of thought. It’s lazy, dismissive and a way of avoiding accountability. That they only care about the bottom-line is clear. Wish they’d just be honest about it.

    Fact: You can have a code and still be creative aand make lots of money. Do they answer to themselves behind closed doors? What’s their code of conduct? What’s the personal code of each employee? Do they align?

    I have a personal code and I have to answer to me at the end of the day. The company has one too I agreed to adhere to the day I signed on the dotted line. I own the choices I make. Good or bad. I own the ripple effect they have on the world around me. Saying ‘everyone is doing it’ or ‘what if I don’t get caught’, is just a cop-out.

    • You make a valid point. Choices have consequences and the buck has to stop somewhere. Unfortunately, the bottom-line is typical the only concern in this business.

Leave a comment

Please be polite. We appreciate that. Your email address will not be published and required fields are marked