Painful prices of patriotism

The job of a reporter, ordinarily, looks glamorous basically for one thing: having the audacity to walk up to the movers and shakers of this world and demand explanations on sundry issues. In most cases, either the ‘big catch’ likes your face or not, he has no choice but to give you news to write.

As a reporter, always have it at the back of your mind that those who claim to like you on the job are merely pretentious as. Actually, they see you as a ‘necessary evil’ they must tolerate.

The moment you lose your job as a reporter, they quickly ignore you because they suddenly realise that you are no longer ‘harmful’ to them.

Having covered the aviation beat for some time, I have incurred the wrath of some key players, including ministers who were not comfortable with my style of reporting and have been made to pay dearly for this – twice.

At a point, in order to defend their negligence, they viewed me as tribalistic, whereas they praised me to high heavens when my reports favoured them.

When they discovered that I could not be cowed, two individuals that once held sway in the aviation ministry at different periods decided to wield their ‘big stick.’ The must have their own pound of flesh for my resilience in national interest.

The payback time for one of the former ministers to register was when some journalists were to be sponsored to an aviation conference in South Africa.

For reporting ‘everything’, I was denied the opportunity. This looked petty. But a similar situation played out again about three years ago. Another erstwhile minister who did not like my style and that of my medium removed my name from the list of journalists billed to accompany her on an official trip to Ethiopia.

I was informed by one of her aides on the eve of our departure that the minister ordered my name dropped even when they had secured a visa for me.

This was another price to pay for doing my job as a reporter.

As a reporter, one is expected to carry out the job professionally without minding whose ox is gored and, in doing this, you should be ready to make sacrifices. But my consolation has always been that my reward will definitely come when there is sanity in the land. The main motivation is to make the world (or is it sky?) a better place.