June 30, 2024


Is the BBC’s “smearing’ of Jusper Machogu something to do with the audacity of this young Kenyan farmer to express views from an Africa and African perspective?

More by Martin Minns

The BBC and the heresy of Jusper Machogu

The BBC and the heresy of Jusper Machogu

Jusper Machogu

Jusper Machogu, a 29-year-old farmer from Kisii in the South West of Kenya, has raised the wrath and indignation of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The charge: heresy!

Mr Machogu, you see, is a ‘climate change denier’ and as such he must be burnt at the stake.

In addition to being a farmer, according to the BBC, Jusper Machogu ‘has a knack for social media’ (he has 25,000 followers on X) and has become known as a flagbearer for fossil fuels in Africa.

Heavens! The heretical contagion is spreading!

Fossil fuels for Africa

“Climate change is mostly natural. A warmer climate is good for life”, claimed Machogu in one of his posts on X (formerly Twitter) under the hashtag #ClimateScam. “There is no climate crisis”, he says, it’s a “hoax” and a “scam”, a ploy by Western nations to “keep Africa poor”.

Since first Tweeting about climate change in 2021, Jusper Machogu has launched his own campaign called “Fossil Fuels for Africa” calling on the continent to access its own vast reserves of oil, gas and coal.

“We need fossil fuels to develop Africa”, Jusper Machogu argues.

Africa is one of the lowest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions exacerbating climate change.

BBC Verify

Enter Mr Marco Silva, a climate disinformation reporter in the BBC’s ‘Verify’ unit (the BBC have some 60 reporters handling ‘disinformation’), the man behind a documentary on the BBC World Service that was aired (and re-aired) recently and the basis for a full-page article in The Star newspaper (Kenya), ‘How a Kenyan farmer became a champion of climate change denial’.

There is more to Jusper Machogu’s campaign than meets the eye according to the BBC. He isn’t just “a young farmer with a knack for social media”, who “regularly posts videos of himself, weeding his land, planting garlic, or picking avocados”, but it is his “denial of man-made climate change that has helped supercharge his online profile.”

Fair enough, Jusper Machogu reportedly has 25,000 followers on X (formerly Twitter).

Funding Jusper Machogu

It gets worse, according to the BBC’s witch-finder general. Since beginning his campaign Jusper Machogu has received thousands of dollars in donations, “some of which came from individuals in Western countries linked to fossil fuel interest.”

How do the BBC’s Verify reporters know all this? “By tracking conversations involving Mr Machogu’s X handle.” The Big Brother Corporation is always watching you, always watching you…

BBC Verify also found that “most users engaging with Machogu’s account are actually based in the US, the UK and Canada.” Cue sinister music probably in D-Minor.

Of course, if the BBC’s Verify team had checked and dare one say it, “verified”, they might have spotted that of the nearly four million people making up the Kenyan Diaspora worldwide, the top four countries they reside in are the US, the UK, Uganda and Canada.

What does $9,000 buy?

Back to those “thousands of dollars” Jusper Machogu has raked in. Well, actually it’s about $9,000 over two years Mr Machogu told the BBC, some of which he spent on furnishing his home and he “claims” (the BBC’s word) he used to make donations to help “local families by building a borehole for water, distributing gas bottles for cooking, or connecting their homes to the electricity grid.”

Think about it. $9,000 over two years. That’s nearly enough for a Business Class flight ticket for two delegates to a climate change conference (what, did you think they fly Economy Class?) and there were 84,000 of them at the COP 28 in Dubai, plus the 400 or so private jets that flew in carrying the great and good. And they all rushed to their hotel rooms and whacked on the air conditioning.

How many BBC Climate Disinformation reporters could be employed for $9,000 is difficult to calculate. Perhaps the BBC will verify.

Just for fun I worked out that if the BBC receives funding from the UK government (for which read British “taxpayers”) of 5.73 billion GBP per year (which it does), that’s USD722 billion, divided by $9,000, which would fund 80.2 million Jusper Machogu’s for two years.

But the BBC is in effect suggesting that Jusper Machogu is being bought and paid for by $9,000 over two years.

Meanwhile, multi, multi millions of dollars, Pounds and any other currency you can think of are poured into thousands of university departments, research institutions, campaign groups, government departments, and millions more forked out to employ climate journalists and climate change disinformation reporters. Climate change is big business.

Conspiracy theories

Many of Jusper Machogu’s followers, says the BBC, also promote other conspiracy theories online, such as about vaccines, Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine.

Is that Jusper Machogu’s fault? Do you think that some supporters of Just Stop Oil, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and a host of other campaign organisations don’t sometimes indulge in conspiracy theories?

Why worry?

Why does it bother me, this hounding of Jusper Machogu by the BBC?

I agree with BBC. Climate change is happening. Our climate is affected by the greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. Verification of facts is important, more so in the age of social media than ever before.

So again, why does it bother me?

“[His views] are definitely coming from a place of lack of understanding”, Joyce Kimutai, a climate change scientist from Kenya was quoted as saying in the BBC article.

“This is not a religion, this is not just a belief”, Ms Kimutai continued.

But in some measure climate change has become a new religion and if you don’t accept the full tenets of the new faith, like Jusper Machogu, you’ll be cast out as an unbeliever.

You must “drink the wine and chew the wafer” in the churches of the new religion and then don’t forget to genuflect before the green high altar.

The Sadducees and Pharisees are agreed.

Then there’s the question of the right to free-thinking and free speech, and the principle of disagreeing with what someone says but defending their right to say it.

And then, and then… nagging me, concerning me and making me uneasy in ways that I can’t fully define and express but is the BBC’s “smearing’ of Jusper Machogu something to do with the audacity of this young Kenyan farmer to express views, however ill-informed, from an Africa and African perspective?

Kenya Forum readers may also like to see:

Big Brother is still watching you (29/10/2023)

Climate Change impact on mental health (29/5/2024)

Kenya’s economy could be affected by climate change – World Bank

How does climate change affect Kenya? (9/8/2023)

Africa needs oil. There I said it! By John Njogu, Expert column, The Star newspaper (26/6/2024)





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