Saturday, April 13, 2024

Bungoma journalist who took up watchman job to make ends meet

To many, Benson Lusenaka is an accomplished radio journalist. To some, he is a diligent church minister, while to others, he is a meticulous watchman.

Since 2020, his role in the private security sector has become more pronounced, almost making people forget his other two persona.

Last week, Mr Lusenaka was elected the Western Kenya Chapter Chairman of Kenya Correspondents Association (KCA), an association in the Kenya Media Sector Working group representing correspondents, mostly working in the rural areas of Kenya.

I am still a journalist. I am also still a good preacher. But here I am as a watchman too

Lusenaka

But how does Lusenaka manage to wear all these hats at the same time?

Lusenaka the ‘watchdog’

In the 18th Century, Edmund Burke, a renowned Anglo-Irish philosopher coined the term ‘watchdog role of the media’.

The term was to imply the role of the media in monitoring the activities of the government and putting in check those in power.

However, the role has been extended in all sectors, with the media providing an accountability platform for the entire society.

Benson Lusenaka, a journalist in Bungoma seems to have taken this term literally.

Lusenaka is not only providing the ‘watchdog’ services as a media practitioner but also as a watchman.

My first client was Kimilili MP Didimus Barasa who employed all the seven guards, both at the CDF office and at his private home and business

Lusenaka

In 2020, Lusenaka founded Lunam Security Company, a firm providing private security services within western Kenya.

Today, he has over 60 security guards in his firm, providing guarding services in tens of assignments in Bungoma and Trans Nzoia Counties, with offices in Bungoma, Kimilili and Kitale.

When Lake Region Bulletin caught up with him, Mr Lusenaka was in his company’s main offices in Kanduyi, Bungoma County.

“I am still a journalist. I am also still a good preacher. But here I am as a watchman too,” he said.

Interestingly, it was the church minister role that earned him the media job. And the media job earned him the watchman job.

Where it all began

In 2004, Lusenaka, then a young man was approached by InterChristian Fellowship Evangelical Mission (ICFEM), a Christian-based Non-Governmental Organization that sought to recruit him to join its media team.

The call up followed a pastoral teaching session by Lusenaka during one of the organization’s fellowship missions.

“The organization was doing a lot of work in the community in Western and Rift Valley regions, and they also had a publication,” said Lusenaka.

Lusenaka was one of the 50 youths picked for the project, but who had to undergo basic media training before being dispatched into the field.

“At the end of the training session, only ten of us were left. It was the ten who joined the publication,” he added.

Lusenaka at his Lunam Security Company office in Bungoma

Lusenaka worked with the organization till 2009, when the publication was folded.

“We had been focusing on community-based stories, such as agriculture, education, and Christian teachings,” he said.

In May 2010, Lusenaka joined Webuye-based Radio Mambo as a reporter in parts of Bungoma, where he worked till 2014 when he joined Nyota FM.

And in 2020, in the middle of Covid-19 pandemic, when many employers were hit with financial crunch, Lusenaka chose to think out of the box.

He joined the private security sector, registering Lunam Security Company as a means of making ends meet.

He started with seven guards, while he acted as the supervisor, who manned deployments, shifts, and the general coordination of the assignments.

“My first client was Kimilili MP Didimus Barasa who employed all the seven guards, both at the CDF office and at his private home and business,” said Lusenaka.

This motivated Lusenaka who began extensive recruitment and training of more guards.

Through his church ministry networks, he managed to get clients in the religious sector as well as schools.

“We are currently guarding over five churches, and over seven schools,” he said.

He soon ventured into intensive marketing of his services and managed to get clients from among members of private businesses.

Lusenaka and Lunam Security Company staff at the firm offices in Bungoma

Undying hope

Today, he focuses more on guarding services, while working on an expansion plan that would see the firm provide other security services such as CCTV installation, dog handling, and courier services among others.

It is one step at a time, and we believe we will get there. As of now, if we get clients who want services we cannot provide, we collaborate with our friends who have such services

Lusenaka

“It is one step at a time, and we believe we will get there. As of now, if we get clients who want services we cannot provide, we collaborate with our friends who have such services,” said Lusenaka.

The private security sector is flooded, with some companies having more sophisticated services. But with this, Lusenaka has found a niche and is fairly competing for assignments.

“The main challenge is the competition. This means we have to do our best to fight for space,” he says.

He however notes that he wants this firm to be the leading security firm in western Kenya.

Kevine Omollo
Lake Region Bulletin is your one stop multi-media platform for news from Lake Region Counties of Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay, Migori, Kisii, Nyamira, Vihiga, Kakamega, Busia, Bungoma, Trans Nzoia, Nandi, Kericho and Bomet. Email: komollo@lakeregionbulletin.co.ke omollokevine@gmail.com

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