Media personalities are among Kenyans who have thrown their hats into the ring for the 2022 General Elections. From news anchors and reporters to comedians, they haven’t been left out as the polls draw closer.
The current parliament includes a number of former journalists and media personalities, including former KBC anchor Naisula Lesuuda, former print journalist Ayub Savula, ex-investigative journalist Mohammed Ali and former comedian and marketer Anthony ‘KJ’ Kiarie.
Here, Business Today looks at some of the television and radio stars looking to occupy various seats in 2022.
Former K24 sports news anchor Tony Kwalanda has announced his candidacy for the Member of County Assembly (MCA) seat for Manda-Shivanga ward. The ward is located in Malava Constituency, Kakamega County.
In recent months, the Switch TV journalist and media consultant has been involved in donating various healthcare and construction materials to schools in the area among other activities. He has also rallied fans and supporters to support his bid by contributing to his campaign war-chest ahead of the polls through a till number.
MC Jessy, real name Jasper Muthomi, has his eyes set on becoming the next Member of Parliament (MP) for South Imenti Constituency.
The Jessy Junction host is best known for his long-running stint on the Churchill Show. Jessy has expressed his intentions to deliver tangible development in South Imenti and to advocate for youth-friendly policies in Parliament.
He cites his experience in media and marketing including consulting work with government agencies and corporates as proof of his ability to lead, create and execute ideas. Jessy was in November endorsed by a section of elders to vie for the seat.
Felix Odiwuor aka Jalang’o is one of Kenya’s most sought-after media personalities. He is a comedian, MC and TV and radio figure. He hosts the morning radio show on Kiss FM alongside Kamene Goro and runs a popular online channel Jalang’o TV.
Jalang’o wants to become the next MP for Lang’ata Constituency on an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) ticket. Silas Jakakimba, a lawyer and aide to former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, has also expressed interest in the ODM ticket.
Jalang’o has ramped up campaign activities online and on the ground in recent months. He announced plans to leave his radio job in February 2022 to hit the campaign trail.
Former K24 news anchor Mwanaisha Chidzuga is eyeing the Matuga MP seat on a United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party ticket in 2022. Chidzuga has already hit the campaign trail, distributing campaign merchandise and pushing her agenda for her constituents.
She is the daughter of the late Zainab Chidzuga, who served as Kwale Woman Representative between 2013 and 2017. Mwanaisha has received the endorsement from a section of the family to go for the seat. Her brother, Hassan Chidzuga, is notably also keen on the same seat – setting the stage for heightened lobbying.
“What is happening is that everyone is just declaring their interest in the seat. There is no rivalry or bad blood. It just that she has come out first to declare her bid…I am also declaring that I will be vying for the seat. We will sit down and decide who will run for the seat on behalf of the family,” Hassan stated in September 2021.
Fred Akali is a popular presenter on Royal Media Services (RMS) Luhya vernacular radio station Mulembe FM. In 2022, he wants to be elected Member of the County Assembly for Kisa Central Ward in Kakamega Constituency.
Akali welcomed guidelines from the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) advising journalists running for various seats on not misusing the media to advance their interests or attack others, with a push for aspirants to quit newsrooms ahead of the polls.
“To me, it is a good thing. If you are not careful, there is a very thin line between your profession and interests, so one can leave early and concentrate on political interests. During campaigns, one can get carried away, and it’s the most prudent thing to do,” Akali stated.