Big-name, seasoned politicians aren’t the only ones gearing up for the next General elections. Some of Kenya’s most famous faces including artists, comedians and media personalities are among celebrities who have thrown their hats into the ring.
Whether they manage to convert adoring fans and massive social media followings into votes, only time will tell. In previous election cycles, a few well-known personalities such as singer Jaguar (Charles Njagua), reporter Mohammed Ali and comedian KJ (John Kiarie) have slugged it out and made it to Parliament.
Their recognizable personalities and star power give celebrities an instant edge in terms of visibility, but visibility is no guarantee of success when it comes to Kenya’s murky political arena.
Kiss FM presenter Jalang’o (real name Felix Odiwuor) has made no secret of his intention to become the elected MP for Lang’ata Constituency, Nairobi in 2022.
In November 2020, the comedian graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Community Development from Daystar University. A degree is a legal requirement to run for Parliament. In 2021, he officially joined the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and hopes to secure the party ticket for the Lang’ata race.
He is likely to face off for the ODM nomination with Silas Jakakimba, a lawyer and aide to ODM Party Leader Raila Odinga.
In addition, Jalang’o has repeatedly stated that hosting the morning show on Kiss FM alongside Kamene Goro will be his last radio job. Most recently, he told Radio Jambo‘s Massawe Jappanni: “On February date 9 next year, I will quit my radio job. I will miss my mic, but when I go to parliament, I will open Bunge FM.”
CMB Prezzo, real name Jackson Ngechu Makini, is one of Kenya’s most celebrated rappers with a slew of hit records under his belt. At the moment, however, becoming the MP for Kibra Constituency in Nairobi is as much a priority for him as hitting the studio.
After the death of former Kibra MP Ken Okoth, Prezzo was unveiled by the Kalonzo Musyoka-led Wiper Party as its candidate in the 2019 by-election. It turned out to be a false start as he was pulled out of the race even as Wiper maintained that they had one eye on the 2022 elections.
Since then, Prezzo has repeatedly confirmed his intentions to plunge himself fully into the political arena in 2022. He told Radio Citizen‘s Willy M Tuva that he was keen on creating opportunities for the community in Kibra and cited his past philanthropic work in the area.
While he is more famous for his music and celebrity scandals, Prezzo also has a bit of a political background. In 2013, he was a cog in former Mungiki leader Maina Njenga’s political machinery at a time when Njenga was opposed to President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto’s campaign. He took part in protests alongside other political figures including lawyer Paul Muite.
Frasha (Real name Francis Amisi) is one-third of Genge group P-Unit which once ruled the charts with tunes such as Kare, You Guy and Gentleman. Nowadays, however, the trained physiotherapist is immersed in the world of politics.
In 2017, he defected from the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) to Maendeleo Chap Chap (MCC) whose party leader is Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua. He also campaigned to become the Member of County Assembly (MCA) for Athi River ward, but dropped out of the race a few days to the election.
Frasha, however, was named Youth Leader for Maendeleo Chap Chap and has been voicing his opinions on a range of political issues. He is reportedly weighing up another stab at the Athi River seat in 2022.
Frasha’s messaging has been heavily centred on the youth, asking them to make the right choices at the ballot. In a repeated slogan, he asks them “Utakuwa kwa meza ama kwa menu” (Will you be on the table or on the menu?).
VDJ Jones is a DJ and entrepreneur, who runs his own outfit Superstar Entertainment. He is also responsible for a slew of Gengetone hits including Wale Mang’aa and Kwa Kwa.
He is considered a greenhorn when it comes to politics, but recently declared his intention to vie for the Nairobi Gubernatorial seat. His messaging is also focused on the youth with Jones presenting himself as a solution to their problems
“Ladies and Gentlemen, I want to announce my candidature for Nairobi Governor come 2022! It takes youth to understand the frustrations of another youth. Nothing is impossible when you believe, let’s do this!” he shared.
His bid has, however, been dismissed by some as a publicity stunt.
Former Citizen TV presenter Jacque Maribe has been dogged by scandal the past two years, and is currently out of remand on bail after being implicated in the murder of businesswoman Monica Kimani, alongside her former partner Jowie Irungu.
However, she may well be on the ballot for Murang’a Women Representative in 2022. She has hosted various delegations of women from the county, and has admitted to weighing up a bid for the seat.
Notably, Maribe hails from a political background. Her father, businessman Maribe Mwangi, contested for the Kiharu parliamentary seat in 2007 but lost to Barnabas Muturi Mwangi of Sisi Kwa Sisi Party.
“It is an opportunity. Given the opportunity why not? I have not ruled it out but what I am saying is I have not officially declared it…I’m receiving a lot of messages with people asking if I will run. You never know. The proper response from me is, ‘See you at the finish line!” Maribe stated in a past interview when questioned on her reported political ambitions.