Change and prom­ise: The times they have been ex­cit­ing

The East African - - OPINION -

This is a special year for this news­pa­per as it pre­pares to mark its 25th an­niver­sary in Novem­ber, and an op­por­tune time to re­flect on its jour­ney as wellas cast an eye at the fu­ture. Launched as the three coun­tries that orig­i­nally made up East Africa — Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya — were work­ing to­wards the re­vival of a re­gional bloc fol­low­ing the col­lapse of the East African Com­mu­nity in 1978, the news­pa­per’s goal was to cham­pion this dream. The East African Com­mu­nity was formed and has since ex­panded to in­clude Rwanda, Bu­rundi and South Sudan.

Not­with­stand­ing teething prob­lems, the re­gion of­fers im­mense prom­ise for its cit­i­zens and mem­ber states. No won­der we now proudly pro­claim that trade and com­merce, cul­ture and the arts, education, and even pol­i­tics, know no bor­ders.

has been a ring­side wit­ness to some of the epochal mo­ments in re­cent East African history: From the Geno­cide against the Tutsi in Rwanda in 1994, to the re­birth of the East African Com­mu­nity in 1999; the Arusha Ac­cord of 2000 that brought peace to Bu­rundi; the pro­mul­ga­tion of a new Con­sti­tu­tion in Kenya in 2010; and the birth of the Repub­lic of South Sudan on July 9, 2011.

This news­pa­per has been the au­thor­i­ta­tive chron­i­cler of the lives and times of the men and women who have shaped the des­tiny of the re­gion. But more im­por­tant, has cul­ti­vated a sense of be­long­ing, con­tribut­ing to the evo­lu­tion of the true East African com­mu­nity: Men, women, youth and chil­dren who draw strength from our na­tional and cul­tural di­ver­sity, a peo­ple with a shared vi­sion for growth and pros­per­ity.

Aided by tech­nol­ogy, par­tic­u­larly the In­ter­net, this com­mu­nity has spread across the world, com­pris­ing both East Africans in the di­as­pora and cit­i­zens of other re­gions and con­ti­nents seek­ing to learn more about East Africa.

To­day, oc­cu­pies the pride of place as the most re­spected re­gional news­pa­per, with its rich of­fer­ing of a mix of news anal­y­sis, com­men­tary and fea­tures cov­er­ing busi­ness and the econ­omy, pol­i­tics, de­vel­op­ment, cul­ture and the arts, all put to­gether by a dy­namic team of writ­ers, ed­i­tors, graphic designers and pho­tog­ra­phers from the re­gion and Africa.

It is home to the re­gion’s most re­spected colum­nists, put­ting out in­sight­ful com­men­taries that ed­u­cate, in­form and pro­voke our col­lec­tive con­science, some­times step­ping on the toes of our lead­ers, and some­times sim­ply mak­ing us laugh or cry.

Over the years, our car­toons and po­ems — rich in com­men­tary and satire — have spo­ken vol­umes with a few words and sim­ple il­lus­tra­tions, their sting more painful than a bee’s.

re­mains the go-to plat­form for the re­gion’s in­tel­li­gentsia seek­ing to learn more, to ex­plain pol­icy, ex­change views and ideas and in­flu­ence the des­tiny of the re­gion.

For me, this year is sig­nif­i­cant too as I take on the next pro­fes­sional chal­lenge after six ex­cit­ing years as Ed­i­tor of

I have been priv­i­leged to lead a formidable team in steer­ing the news­pa­per through this pe­riod as it con­fronts the chal­lenges and em­braces the op­por­tu­ni­ties pre­sented by the chang­ing me­dia land­scape. We are en­cour­aged by the growth in read­er­ship, par­tic­u­larly on­line, over these years.

found­ing prin­ci­ples — to be a news­pa­per ded­i­cated to se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion of po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic is­sues, ex­am­in­ing where gov­ern­ments are suc­ceed­ing and fall­ing short, and pro­vid­ing ex­clu­sive news re­ports from the re­gion and be­yond — have held con­stant.

As en­vis­aged by the found­ing ed­i­tors, we give our read­ers im­por­tant busi­ness in­for­ma­tion, mar­ket statis­tics and fi­nan­cial com­men­tary and pro­vide an over­view of world events, leisure, travel, en­ter­tain­ment and re­gional sport.

We have main­tained the same ideals of pro­fes­sion­al­ism, qual­ity jour­nal­ism and fidelity to the truth the news­pa­per es­poused when it was launched in 1994, even as we im­proved the con­tent and look and feel of the news­pa­per to re­main rel­e­vant in chang­ing times.

As I pass on the ba­ton to new Man­ag­ing Ed­i­tor Ochieng Ra­puro, I thank you, our read­ers, ad­ver­tis­ers, staff, colum­nists and well-wish­ers for mak­ing this jour­ney so ex­cit­ing. The best is yet to come. Asan­teni.

Our colum­nists ed­u­cate, in­form and pro­voke our col­lec­tive con­science with their in­sight­ful com­men­taries, some­times step­ping on the toes of our lead­ers, and some­times sim­ply mak­ing us laugh or cry

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