May 25th 2017

Media / Watchdog

Journalists mourn dear colleague, human rights defender Job Weru

Immediately upon graduation, he joined the Standard as a correspondent based in the Nyeri bureau. He proved to be an astute reporter of news, features and investigations. He mentored many interns who passed through the Standard bureau but also others working for rival media outlets.

By Cynthia Gitaucgitau@kenyafreepress.comMonday, 10 Apr 2017 17:41 EAT

The Standard newspaper group and the entire media fraternity is in mourning following the passing of Job Weru, a reporter in the group’s Nyeri bureau who was known among colleagues for his professionalism, hard work and mentoring young members of the profession.

Mr Weru, 36, who was well known among the media, political and human rights community in the entire Mt Kenya region, passed away today at the Nairobi West Hospital where he was undergoing treatment. His body was subsequently taken to the Outspan Hospital where a postmortem will be conducted on Wednesday April 12 to ascertain the cause of his death.

He is survived by his parents, Mr and Mrs Kirira Weru, his wife Anne Muringo and two little daughters, Esther and Mary.

Born and raised in Mureru in Laikipia County, the late Weru was a passionate journalist from his days at St Mary’s Boys School in Nyeri Town, according to recollections of his schoolmates. From there he went to Consolata Institute of Communication and Technology, also in Nyeri, where he undertook a diploma course in media studies, public relations, marketing and advertising between 2001-2003.

Upon graduation, he joined the Standard Newspapers as a correspondent based in the Nyeri bureau, covering Nyeri and Laikipia regions. He proved to be an astute reporter and was useful to the bureau in news, features and investigations. He mentored many interns who passed through the Standard bureau but also others working for rival media outlets.

A passionate defender of human rights, Mr Weru also worked as a network monitor with the Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU), an NGO campaigning against state torture and extrajudicial killings. A manager at the agency said the late Weru was instrumental in unearthing some of the most horrific abuses at Nyeri prisons and the killing of Mungiki and terrorist suspects.

Colleagues have described him as a hardworking individual who possessed a big smile always and helped those who needed his assistance. “You [have] never seen a fellow so jolly, so full of life, so pure of heart, so full of adventure, so helpful, so full of charm. May peace that surpasses human understanding be with your loved ones,” KTN reporter Carol Nderi, who informed the country about her colleague's sickness three days ago, eulogised him on her Facebook page.

The Standard Nyeri bureau chief Francis Ngige described the late Weru as a dedicated journalist and a close friend. "I don't remember the last time I felt this low and devastated. I have lost a dedicated colleague and a friend," Mr Ngige wrote on his Facebook page.

Cecilia Njeri, who passed through Mr Weru's hands as an intern, wrote: “You have left a gap that no one will ever replace; you’re a friend to all and a mentor. I remember how you used to encourage me. You are one of the people who has made me be where I am today.”

Samuel Kirimi, who got Mr Weru's assistance in tracking his disappeared brother, wrote, “I am unable to believe it, remembering the full page article you wrote for me in The Standard daily about my lost brother Patrick Mworia. I had anticipated he would return so that we rewrite again the comeback story but now it’s all God's plan. Such was a good gesture and help to our family, and we pray earnestly that God will rest your good soul in eternal peace.”

Mwenda wa Gichuru, who went to college with the late and later worked with him in Nanyuki, wrote: “A friend full of life, always jolly and friendly. Committed to his work and always making colleagues smile. I’ll miss those golden moments we had in college and later in Nanyuki as reporters.”

For some, Mr Weru's death was one too many for the larger Naro Moru region, which just last week buried another journalist, Janet Kanini Ikua, whose husband hails from the area and therefore called the place her home.

The programme for his interment are yet to be announced.

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