New York Times Correspondent in East Africa Predicts Post-Election Violence in Kenya

Jeffrey Gettleman is the East Africa bureau chief for the New York Times. (source: PBS)

Jeffrey Gettleman is the East Africa bureau chief for the New York Times. (source: PBS)

Jeffrey Gettleman, East Africa’s bureau chief for the New York Times, said on Saturday if CORD presidential candidate Raila Odinga refuses to concede defeat in the presidential elections,  it “could lead to the type of confusion and violence that erupted in 2007,” according to an article published in the New York Times.

Kenyans on Twitter, better known as #KOT, the much-dreaded social media cops who police what foreign journalists write and say about their country, were quick to pounce on Gettleman’s statement.

“Hey Kenyans there is a notorious journalist here. @gettleman,” journalist Sam Clement wrote on Twitter. “The 2007 Scenario will never be repeated.Sit here ____/ and swallow that.”

Below are a few of the tweets that faulted reporter Gettleman’s analysis of the event.

Gettleman later clarified his tweet, which sparked a firestorm of criticism from Kenyans, some saying Gettleman “just doesn’t get it” and he is still stuck in 2007.

“My comparison to 2007 is about a DISPUTED ELECTION, not about violence,” Gettleman said. “Apologies for any misunderstandings.”

In late February, the New York Times foreign correspondent wrote a front-page article in the paper, with the headline: “Neighbors Kill Neighbors in Kenya as Election Tensions Stir Age-Old Grievances.” The article also carried an image of a 9-months-old girl who was slashed by a machete when raiders from a rival ethnic group attacked her village in December.

Kenyan Ambassador to the US Elkanah Odembo responded to the article, saying it “conveys a misperception of the overall state of Kenya ahead of the elections.”

In April, Gettleman won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize  award for his reporting on conflicts, famine and mostly mayhem-focused stories. According to the  NYT, Gettleman actually nominated himself for the award.

“Though the Times traditionally decides who of its reporters deserve nominations, Gettleman didn’t wait for the bosses—he nominated himself. Does that make him an asshole?” Gawker wrote a day after Pulitzer announced its winners.

The NYT included this in its story: “While ‘some reporters might have felt his editors knew best’ about the nomination, said Joseph Kahn, the Times’s foreign editor, ‘Jeffrey put himself forward for the Pulitzers — and for that, Jeffrey, bless your heart.'”

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