Television journalist Yvonne Okwara Matole stole the show during the last phase of the 2022 Presidential Debate held at Catholic University on Tuesday night.
She held the DP literally by the balls as she asked questions which put the candidate more on the defensive than allowing him to rant about issues on which he often contradicts himself. In one breath the DP enumerated their successes as the Jubilee government and in another, he turned round to chastise President Uhuru Kenyatta (who is the head of the Jubilee government) for plunging the country into debt. He then went on to articulate how he intended to revamp the economy using something called bottom-up which he has never broached for nine years while he served as the Chairman of the powerful Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council (IBEC).
Away from Ruto and Okwara proved that a journalist does not have to maintain a hard stand and grounded convictions about anything to retain the credibility of an interview. She allowed the interviewee, a smooth ebb and flow but put in the hard tackles where they were much required.
At one point the DP had to tell her, miserably: “You have never been a deputy president…….”
Well, indeed, Yvonne Okwara Matole has never been a Deputy President but she embodies the remnant of crack journalism on television as we knew it before Hussein Mohammed and Linus Kaikai fell victim to exogenous factors.
Remember a little earlier on when he appeared at the compound of the Catholic University, presidential candidate Prof George Wajackoyah did not mince his words when he said: “….you the media abet corruption by taking sides on important national matters”. That bit, told directly to a senior television journalist on camera was glossed over by mainstream media.
That notwithstanding, Yvonne Okwara Matole saved the night for the Fourth Estate.
Not only is she brilliant having studied the taxing subject of biochemistry at Kenyatta University but also she epitomizes research. Before she comes on screen, whether it’s on her Explainer or commenting on a contemporary issue she takes care to do thorough research. And that was apparent when she danced Dr. William Samoei Ruto around the thorny issue of corruption.
The Deputy President of Kenya has featured in virtually every economic scandal that rocked the country in the last decade, such that when he was not mentioned in the KEMSA Billionaires scandal, he took that as a compliment and called a press conference to broadcast the fact.
So who is Yvonne Okwara Matole?
She’s married to veterinary surgeon Dr. Andrew Matole who is twelve years older than her. As you would expect among two no-nonsense career people their romance bloomed from a chance encounter when Yvonne took her pet for a routine checkup at the vet.
“People talked. People said things. That’s what comes with having a job in the limelight, but again, no one lives my life but me”, Yvonne says of what followed in the court of public opinion.
About family, she says: “My husband is my best friend, we get along incredibly well, and none of these other issues have ever mattered.”
Children? Not yet.
At one time in her career, she was denied the opportunity to be a news anchor because of her dark skin.
Last night Yvonne Okwara Matole proved, yet again, that real beauty in television journalism is in the brains.