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Citizen TV’s Purity Mwambia – I was on the verge of homelessness in exile in America

Citizen Television’s former investigative journalist, Purity Mwambia, appeared at a conference organised by the United States Department of State to discuss the unique challenges faced by women in the news industry.

Ms Mwambia was part of a panel discussion hosted by the Bureau of Global Public Affairs on 30 May 2023, and one of the sessions was on women living in exile because of their journalistic work.

“Thank you for this opportunity. My challenges are not very different from other investigative journalists in exile.

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“First of all, when you come here from your country where you’ve done big stories, you’ve quoted all these people who are doing some corruption, big shots in the government… but believe me, when you come here, it’s like your voice is silenced.”

She continued, “It’s hard to navigate the US media landscape, especially for global journalists. It’s so hard. I’ve been here for two years and I’ve only been able to do one story with one of the local companies.

Some who come here say it is like the American dream but has its own challenges. You find yourself in a place where there is no one to talk to, no one to run to.

Personally, I was brought here by an organisation and they abandoned me. They left me, I’m on the verge of homelessness because I don’t know what to do next,” she added.

“Every day when I walk past all these metro buses and I see these homeless people. It’s one of those stories I would have loved to tell as a journalist, but now I walk as if I’m literally in their shoes, not knowing what’s going to happen to me,” Ms Mwambia began.

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She also told the conference that life was different for her after working with big media houses and now being treated like an apprentice and not an equal, as if her 20 years of journalism had been wasted.

She also felt that America was more supportive by providing more than money to exiled journalists so that they could work freely and independently as they followed a story wherever it unfolded.

She also mentioned that they were given media spaces where they didn’t have to talk about their past experiences before they could settle down to work and create systems for them to be able to work in and out of America as they followed stories.

Ms Mwambia went into exile in 2021 after doing the Guns Galore expose for Citizen Television. Her investigative journalism work exposed corrupt police officers who gave their guns, uniforms, and handcuffs to criminals to commit crimes in return for a cut.

Following the expose, senior police officers assassinated her character, and she became a target for various government security agencies.

She then fled, only to resurface in America on 30 May 2023.

Her appearance comes months after Kenyans questioned whether she was safe – and why the radio silence.

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