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Discontent at George Soros funded activism as blogging salary reviewed downwards

John Githongo, anti-corruption crusader

Many Kenyans saw theelephant.info grow in leaps and bounds after the NIS ouster of some writers who were attached to the Nation Media Group.

The writers who mostly penned articles for the Sunday nation left en masse sometime in March 2018 and soon theelephant.info began publishing their long mostly unedited articles that have attracted some pseudo-activists and some pseudo-intellectuals believing that their timid voices and shadowboxing corruption can change anything.

Well, there’s disquiet as some sections of the writers, mostly the Kikuyu hegemony, seem favoured by the editor and money organizer John Githongo, more than others.

When the blog began, writers were paid Sh30,000 per approved and published article; that was further reduced to Sh20k, and in December 2020, writers received an email telling them that they will henceforth receive Sh12k.

This has angered a section of writers who have knowledge that some of their colleagues are not often affected by the salary cuts.

For example, the former World Bank economist David Ndii,  who is also a writer on the platform, earns Sh400k per month. His salary is never touched.

Here is an email we got hold of; the blog is funded by George Soros, a 90 year old anti-government/establishment crusader from Hungary who lives in USA.

Dear Colleagues:

As the year draws to the end I am writing to thank-you for all the great work you have done for and with the Elephant. Asante sana.  The Elephant remains a small and growing but generally well respected online platform for analysis, opinion and a few investigations not only in Kenya but increasingly across the continent and around the world.

Since its inception in 2017 the Elephant has had over 5 million page views (we expect 3 million in 2020 alone); 1.8 million unique users from 176 countries; and, a community of 400 writers who’ve contributed to the publication of 1,786 items of content. Every 28 days 96,000 unique users visit the Elephant website. A vast majority of them are between 25 and 44. On social media over the last six months 108 million individuals have come across the Elephant’s content online and it has been retweeted, liked or shared on Twitter over 240,000 times.

None of these achievements would have been possible without you. Asante once again.

COVID-19 has been hard on everyone in our sector and Inuka/Elephant are no exception. While fundraising continues apace with significant prospects in the horizon we are forced to make changes to manage our meagre resources still more frugally.

As a result going forward the rates per article are being revised from Ksh.20,000 per article to Ksh.12,000 per article.

It is my hope that the considerable interest there is in the Elephant will result in the availability of resources to meet our ambitions in the coming year. I take this opportunity once again to thank-you for sharing your wisdom, creative energy and time contributing to the Elephant. I am confident this is a relationship that will go from strength to strength. I also to take this opportunity to wish you a merry festive season and a happy new year.

Asante Sana

Best Regards

John Githongo


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