Radio Maisha presenter Mate Tongola opened up on how a prank at a past workplace earned him the wrath of Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji.
Tongola, who hosts Reggae Splash on Radio Maisha, revealed that he previously used to work at Radio Salaam FM, a Muslim radio station co-owned by Haji.
In an interview with SDE published on Wednesday, March 4, Tongola disclosed that an idea they had for an April Fools’ prank in 2008 seriously angered the DPP.
Tongola had devised a prank that saw listeners informed about free food supplies supposedly being given away by the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA).
File image of Radio Maisha presenter Mate Tongola
“It was April 1, 2008 when I was a news editor at Radio Salaam. Being April Fool’s Day, we lied on air that KPA was giving away freebies.
“We told our listeners that the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) was giving away free foodstuffs at Makadara grounds and rallied people to go to the grounds with sacks to collect items.
“By 10 am, the place was flocked. To us, it was a joke but being an Islamic radio station, people took us seriously since they believed we wouldn’t lie to them.
“On learning of the lie, the gathered crowd stormed TSS Tower where the radio station was located. When Noordin Haji was called and informed of our prank, he was furious. He had to give the crowd some money to placate them while threatening to deduct it from our salaries,” Tongola recalled.
The DPP served as the station manager at Radio Saalam for ten years.
He co-owns the station with his father, Garissa Senator Yussuf Haji and brother Abdul.
Aside from Tongola, other big names in Kenyan media have worked at the station including Mohammed Ali, the current Nyali MP and veteran investigative reporter.
In his interview, Tongola dismissed assertions that Ali had ‘sold out’ since his election to parliament in 2013, arguing that the MP regularly shared potential stories with journalists.
“There are stories that we, journalists write that we get from him. He doesn’t need to have his own program and air it to play a watchdog role in parliament. He is feeding most of the journalists with information.
“People are attacking him for befriending Deputy President William Ruto but what’s wrong with that? Why didn’t we speak out when he befriended Raila yet the ODM leader short-changed him during ODM Party nominations? That’s why he ran as an independent candidate.
“The people of Nyali don’t have any problem with him since they know the work he has done for them,” Tongola maintained.
Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission CEO Twalib Mbarak and Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji at an end-corruption conference at Serena Hotel on May 29, 2019.