The real Joshua Arap Sang:Of all the people one would expect to be named as instigators of 2007-2008 Kenya post election violence, Joshua arap sang is a far cry from the typical “war crimes criminals”. It is not just his stature that fails to convince me of his guilt, but the story of who he has historically become.
To get a glimpse of whom this short man in The Hague is, one must begin with how he became a popular radio broadcaster under KASS FM. When president Moi decided to liberalize the Kenyan Broadcast waves, the first station to be given a national license was Biblia Huseam Studios, Kijabe. Biblia Husema Broadcasting can legitimately claim to hold the flag of establishing Christian Broadcasting in Kenya. A missionary by the name of Bob Davis, a Christian Broadcaster from United States was hired by Africa Inland mission to start Christian Broadcasting in Kenya. He arrived in Kenya in 1953 together with his engineer, Ted Teasdale. Together these two begun to record programs in Bob’s house, for ABS later to be known as VOK.
In 1959 the two decided to hire a Kenyan pastor who became the Kenyan pioneer in Africa Gospel Music. Pastor Timothy Kamau’ program Wimbo Niupendao was rated number one program for decades. It s only rival was the KBC newscast. Jomo Kenyatta used to stop his schedule on Sunday at 3.PM to listen to Wimbo Niupendao. According to Uhuru Kenyatta, “When we were children, at 3pm every Sunday, my father demanded absolute silence. We were not allowed a whisper.” He said in Kijabe during Pastor Kamau’s funeral in 2009.
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After Kamau retired pastor Christopher Arap Mutai took over. He remains the Director of Biblia Husema Broadcasting. It is pastor Mutai who got the national license and in his effort to broaden the reach for Christian Broadcasting, he recruited young believers to join the station. Mutai hired Joshua Arap Sang as the manager of Biblia Husema broadcasting. As a Christian Broadcaster, Joshua arap sang was very influential in not only proclaiming Christ in word and Music, but was the manger who brought about news journalism to Christian broadcasting. He hired young Christian broadcasting aspirants and personally trained them in news and information gathering, production, news editing, and announcing. Joshua arap Sang became so successful as a radio Manager that Christopher Mutai recommended him to be the founding manager of KASS FM.
When he left Biblia Husema Broadcasting, Mr. Sang left as a true believer in the saving grace of Christ. In fact when he moved to KASS FM, he continued to use the new station as a platform for proclaiming the message of salvation to the Kalenjin Community. The need for owners of KASS FM wanted to move the station away from Christian Broadcasting to secular broadcast and when this happened, Arap sang found himself stuck between faith and life. It is from this perspective of secular broadcasting that KASS FM was cast negatively during the post Election Violence.
It is true that KASS FM did and still broadcast specifically to the Kalenjin Community just like INORO, CORO, KAMEME, and other tribal language stations broadcast to Kenya’s ethnic communities. It is also true that during the political campaign of 2007-2008, KASS FM, like other tribal languages broadcasts, indoctrinated their communities to vote a specific way. What is not clear and is yet to be proven is whether KASS FM and specifically its former manager Joshua arap Sang used the microphone to specifically call on the Kalenjin community to kill other Kenyans. What is clear is that even pastor Christopher Mutai, a Kalenjin, could not drive to his home in Eldoret during the post election violence. It is therefore very hard to imagine that there was a specific instigation by KASS FM, or Joshua arap Sung to mobilize against other ethnic groups. His history does not support that.
What we know about this short man in The Hague is that his rise to notoriety in broadcasting has everything to do with the Gospel message and not hate or violence. However, on the issue of tribal broadcast, I wrote in Kim media group’s KEN in 2006 and argued that tribal broadcasting is a monster that will destroy Kenya. In modern day Kenya, tribal broadcast is no longer necessary. One cannot build a united house when all the children speak different languages!
Teddy Njoroge Kamau (PhD) Educator, Syndicated Writer, Broadcaster and philanthropist. IMANISHA/ Ttp-International.org. Listen to TNK on 90.5 ATG Radio. 5pm EST. Nairobi to Arusha.