Many Kenyans were surprised when it emerged in court last year that Citizen TV news anchor and special projects editor Waihiga Mwaura turned down a Ksh1 million bríbe offered to journalists in Kenya’s contingent to the 2016 Olympics in Rio, stating that his needs were taken care of by the office.
The remaining seven out of eight accredited Kenyan sports journalists who travelled to cover the event were reportedly happy to pocket $10,000 each. The details emerged as the then Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario and National Olympics Committee of Kenya (NOCK) head Stephen Soi were sued for misappropriation of public funds.
The presenter is a staunch Christian, and constantly cites his faith as a key cornerstone of his life and career. It therefore doesn’t entirely come as a surprise that he rejected the graft offer.
Mwaura, who has a degree in Computer Science, landed in media almost by chance. The son of Bishop Waihiga Mwaure, a 2022 Presidential Canditate, states that he was informed of an opportunity to audition for a presenter position by someone at the church, and while he didn’t immediately land the role, one of the recruiters remembered him and later called him in.
Prior to joining Royal Media Services (RMS), Mwaura had worked as a sales agent for KenCall Ltd and a Graduate Management Trainee operations officer at Stanbic Bank.
Speaking to Egerton university Christian Union (CU) members at a forum in 2020, Mwaura stated that he got into media without any ‘godfathers or godmothers’ and would doubt himself as he wasn’t from a media background. He joined RMS as a Sports presenter at Citizen TV in 2009, and cut a niche for himself with investigative reports and interesting features.
In 2012, he won the CNN Multichoice sports award in 2012 for his story on Maasai Morans who took up cricket to beat various societal ills. Mwaura states that this win emboldened him in his career as he considered it a sign from above to no longer doubt himself.
He would go on to rise up the ranks at RMS, taking on various roles and winning more accolades including the prestitigious BBC World News Komla Dumor Award in 2018. He explained in 2020 that he was able to turn down shady deals because of his strong faith.
“There is absolutely God’s way to success…A fellow media practitioner once told me unless you find ways to make money in this industry you will díe poor, so I take his words to God, and I told him this is what this man is telling me, he is saying that unless I cut corners, I will not eat of the good of the land, what say you? That is God’s way to success,” he stated.
Mwaura also credits his faith for keeping him in a job even as the competitive nature of the industry as well as sagas saw many of his peers fall by the wayside.