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Plagarism is the sincerest form of flattery – Controversy in the Kenyan blogosphere

Ory Okolloh, the Kenyan Pundit and Global Voices ally, is keeping her eyes on an interesting situation in the Kenyan blogosphere – the plagarism of a prominent Kenyan blogger by a columnist for one of Kenya's most respected newspapers.

Here's the original post, a mock-job ad for positions in President Kibaki's cabinet, made by “The Thinker”, a Kenyan IT specialist who moonlights one of the nation's sharpest satirists.

And here's Clay Muganda's column in The Nation, one of Kenya's best respected newspapers, reproduced by AllAfrica. The middle third of the piece – “Job Opportunity” – is lifted word-for-word from “The Thinker”. Muganda lamely credits “The Thinker” with the following:
(The original, un-edited version of the advertisement is available on the Internet). Muganda's piece appeared a week after the original post on “The Thinker's” blog.

Muganda did such a poor job of sourcing his column that “The Thinker” found himself, shortly after, making his own disclaimers, asserting that he is not Clay Muganda and has no affiliation with The Nation or Nation Media Group. In the past few days, there's been an interesting exchange of letters between “The Thinker”, some of his fans, Clay Muganda and his editors about whether Muganda's use of “The Thinker”‘s words was “adaptation” or “plagarism”.

One way or another, as Ory points out in an email to me, “the upside of all this of course is that Kenyan journalists are reading
Kenyan blogs.” As well they should – the Kenyan blogosphere is the most vital and interesting of the African blogospheres, and Kenyan bloggers are doing an excellent job of keeping track of the fascinating and complex politics of the nation.

9 comments

  • tru

    It’s a blatant shame! And the Nation’s deafening silence on the matter is just not helping!

  • simon

    This Clay guy should own up to his mistakes.I used to have some respect for him.It’s sad to know that those articles that bear his name in th eNation may not be his after all. Shame on him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Chenya Teddy

    Its bad to get this happen to the largest media house not only in Kenya but also in the region. Some of the brains in tha Nation are respected like Onyango-Obbo, and Phillip Ochieng.

    We are always taught in Journalism classes that plagiarism is unacceptable and if you use somebody’s work yopu shopuld fuly attribute. This is not what Clay did to the article.

    Did he relly go through a journalism class or do the Daily Nation have an Inhouse training for their writing staff???????

  • […] The Global Voices have raised the issue in this post (Good looking out Ory) […]

  • erah

    TAKE CLAY TO COURT!

  • […] Bonyeza hapa usome kazi waliyoitumia. Bonyeza hapa usome aliyoandika Thinker’s Room kuhusu kutumiwa kwa kazi yake. Bonyeza hapa usome barua aliyowaandikia. Na hapa utapata majibu yao. Kisa hiki kiliandikwa pia kwenye tovuti ya Global Voices, bonyeza hapa. […]

  • […] This is what Kikuyumoja’s Realm had to say to the Kenyan newspaper, Kenya Times, for using his work without notifying him, “Next time you are re-publishing my words, pls let me know. I know I can’t be mad with you kwani no one I know actually reads the Kenya Times….ama?” Last year, Kenyan blogger’s work was plagiarized by one of East Africa’s respected newspapers. […]

  • Jenna Major

    Plagiarism isn’t imitation, it is theft. An imitator is trying to be like you. A plagiarist is just stealing your stuff. San Antonio Attorneys

  • […] Kenyan Bloggers would make for an interesting discussion.  This goes as far back as 2005 with the plagiarism of a prominent Kenyan blogger by a columnist for one of Kenya’s most respected […]

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