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.


Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.