Boniface Manono Mosoti alias Ben Ngatia, Ngari, Ngugi has been found alive.
The young man was caught on camera getting clobbered by GSU officers outside Hazina Towers on Monday. That video and pictures were published by major outlets across the world.
On Tuesday morning, blogger Robert Alai broke the news that ‘Ngatia’ had died. He did not give further information on what hospital he was taken to or morgue.
Soon, every journalist, blogger and media house ran with the story; Ben Ngatia had died.
It later emerged that Ben Ngatia is actually Boniface Manono. Journalists traced him to a house in Kibera, dressed exactly as captured on camera the day before.
The main media houses quickly deleted their stories and wrote fresh ones claiming the guy is alive.
But the originators of the rumor were too proud to accept they were wrong.
Robert Alai even dared journalists to take a photo of the victim’s head, since a huge scar was visible.
Well, challenge accepted.
Following the scar confirmation, Alai’s social media followers are still waiting for him to recant his earlier statement.
Queried by the media, Mosoti said that he was on his way to Westlands to apply as an Uber taxi driver. He vehemently denied taking part in the demo.
Here he is going for the interview at Uber.
It further makes little sense that you would need a stone in your back pocket on your way to an interview.
In this photo, the object which looks like a stone is clearly visible.
Before anyone shouts Photoshop, this is the same picture used by major news outlet, like Daily Mail and Business Insider. Unless AP photographer Ben Curtis Photoshopped it before sending to the Wire service.
During such a moment, both sides of the political divide will try and earn scores. ‘Ben Ngatia’ was more useful to Cord dead, and the fact that he was reported to be from Ndumberi, Kiambu fitted perfectly in the opposition’s claims that Moses Kuria had transported goons to hijack the rally and make Cord look bad.
On the other hand, finding ‘Ngatia’ alive in Kibera worked incredibly well for Jubilee, since they were able to paint Cord as liars who will say anything.
The media should be the propaganda slayer in this case. Instead of independently confirming whether the guy had died, they ran with the story the way they saw it on Twitter. The same way they did with the Raila’s assassination story on Monday.
But we can’t say the downward trend in Kenya’s journalism has started today.
Boniface Mosoti Alive, Journalism Dead.