Catherine Gicheru | 1992 Courage in Journalism Award
The Nation, Kenya
As the acting city editor for The Nation based in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, she covered local politics for more than 10 years, including the highly controversial trials of the mysterious murder of Kenya’s foreign minister Robert Ouko. She was described as an aggressive, fearless and objective reporter, and had reportedly been threatened by Kenya African National Union (KANU) and trailed by police.
In September 1992, Gicheru got information that a leading ruling party, KANU patriarch, was involved in corrupt deals in which millions of dollars in national social security funds were given to build rental houses. Story made it to be published on The Nation despite harassment and intimidation from political force to prevent her from doing so.
When foreign minister of the country was found murdered at his rural home village, Gicheru brought many exclusive reports that embarrassed the government. Her report showed Kenya’s then President Daniel arap Moi and members of his government were implicated in the assassination. The government banned The Nation from covering the court judicial commission’s proceedings for two weeks.
Gicheru continued be work as a journalist with integrity after four Nation reporters were paid off by the ruling party KANU to quit the newspaper and went to work for the government radio and television station.
After receiving her Courage in Journalism Award, Gicheru won a Nieman Fellowship, and was transferred to run the biggest bureau office of the newspaper at Mombasa in 1994. In November 1999, she was appointed investigations editor for the Nation Media Group and remains a highly respected voice in the Kenyan media.
She is currently the managing editor for the Star Newspaper in Kenya.
Catherine Gicheru is the first IWMF Courage in Journalism Award winner from Kenya.