Stop using ‘UhuRuto’ and ‘UhuRaila’ as if they are English words, Media Council tells newspaper

“Is [using ‘UhuRuto’ and ‘UhuRaila’] a conspiracy to kill hyphens?” poses the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) in its latest Observer newsletter, a publication through which it criticises various aspects of media coverage.

Usage of those two words was particularly noted in an early August report in The Star.

The MCK article reads:

“The Star last Saturday decided that quirky acronyms like UhuRuto and UhuRaila are now proper grammar. The newspaper ran stories with these headlines: “Nyanza warms up to the UhuRaila handshake.”

What in the hell is UhuRaila? Or is this a conspiracy to kill hyphens? What’s wrong with Uhuru-Raila?

Then, ‘Uhuruto, Raila lead Kenyans in mourning Henry Obwocha.’ What does that even mean?”

Will this lead to reduced usage of these acronyms? Only time will tell.

In the same edition, Standard reporter Daniel Wesangula is blasted for a story he did on Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala.

In the story, titled “CS Balala Does it Again”, there is no clear demarcation of reportage and opinion. MCK thinks the writer got personal at some point, for instance in this excerpt of the report:

Paragraph 3: “Bulking under the weight of ten dead rhinos, Balala lost his cool, and no, it was not as a result of an out-of-place strand of hair, neither was it because his cosmetologist, trichologist or colourist failed to deal with an elusive silvery hair on his face or head.”

Okay, this is now getting personal. Did somebody pay the writer to assassinate Mr Balala in print?

The MCK goes on to conclude: “Practically every sentence in the 27-paragraph story committed journalistic sins.”

It adds: “This writing is for the gutter press, not Kenya’s oldest, mainstream newspaper.”


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