Africa’s most influential political cartoonist strikes back after being sacked

Sacked cartoonist Gado finds new stage

Published in Politics by

The most influential political cartoonist in East and Central Africa, Godfrey Mwampembwa, better known as Gado, found a new platform after being sacked by Kenyan newspaper The Daily Nation. Gado now publishes his critical political cartoons in The Star.

A few weeks ago Gado lost his job at the Daily Nation and its regional sister publication The EastAfrican after almost 25 years. Although the newspapers deny it, Gado is convinced that political pressure caused the newspaper’s decision. Publication of The EastAfrican was forbidden in Tanzania, officially because of violation of the country’s newspaper registration laws. However, the more likely reason was the publication of a cartoon by Gado in which former president Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania was depicted surrounded by a harem of women representing corruption, incompetence and cronyism.

The Nation’s decision must be seen in the context of restrictions of the freedom of press in Kenya by president Uhuru Kenyatta’s government. But as the saying goes: weed does not perish. Gado, who was awarded the Prince Claus Award in 2007 and was called ‘the most important cartoonist of Africa’ by his colleague Jonathan Shapiro – who will speak at WDCD Live Amsterdam 2016 –, now is back in The Star. In his first cartoon, Gado depicted the president and his deputy dismembering the free press.


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