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 well as 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Launched as the three countries that originally made up East Africa — Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya — were working towards the revival of a regional bloc following the collapse of the East African Community in 1978,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.
The EastAfrican 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, The EastAfrican 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, The EastAfrican 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.
The EastAfrican 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 The EastAfrican.
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.
The EastAfrican’s 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.
Pamella Sittoni is the Executive Editor, Daily Nation.