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Briton facing murder hires top PR firm that managed Uhuru’s campaigns

A Briton charged with the death of his girlfriend at his Karen home early this month has hired a top public relations firm in London to manage the media coverage of the trial.

Richard Alden, a former chief executive of Wananchi Group, has retained the services of BTP Advisers, the firm that managed the 2013 presidential election campaign of Jubilee coalition candidate Uhuru Kenyatta.

The London firm says on its website it has experience in “influencing decision makers for our clients” and “helping politicians and business elites to understand and manage electoral campaigns.”

The firm has posted a feedback letter from TNA chairman Johnson Sakaja on its website, in which the nominated MP pays a glowing tribute to how the firm helped President Kenyatta, the Jubilee coalition candidate, overcome the charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) that had plummeted his public approval and emerge victorious in the 2013 election.

“We trusted BTP Advisers to help communicate our new political party not only to Kenyans but also to the world. From 16% behind in the polls, our coalition claimed an outright victory in the first round. It demonstrated the importance of having the right team behind you,” Mr Sakaja said.

CHARGED WITH MURDER

He added: “BTP’s incisive and friendly professionals were with us every step of the way, advising on party structure, policy, campaign events and media relations. As polling day neared, and emotions ran high, BTP’s consultants made sure the ship was kept steady and our message resonated with voters. Their enviable network of media contacts ensured our voice was always heard.”

Mr Alden, 52, is charged with killing his girlfriend Grace Wangechi Kinyanjui at his Windy Ridge Road home in Karen on June 4. He has denied the murder charge and was released on Thursday on a Sh2 million cash bail with two Kenyan sureties. He had been in custody at the Industrial Area Remand Prison.

The former Wananchi Group chief executive was arrested after Ms Wangechi died from a gunshot wound at his house. It had initially been reported that the woman was playing with the firearm and taking “selfies” before she “accidentally shot herself”, but investigators later dismissed the theory and charged Mr Alden with murder.

In its first effort at shaping media coverage of the murder trial, BTP Advisers issued a statement on Thursday in which it claimed the victim was found to be “unresponsive at the Alden family home in Karen”.

They refused to comment on claims by Mr Alden’s lawyer Evans Monari that the victims died while taking selfies.

“We now begin the process of collating the evidence that will clearly demonstrate Mr Alden had no part to play in the tragic death.

“We have every confidence that, once the evidence is presented before the authorities, Mr Alden’s name will be cleared as soon as possible,” the statement quoted lawyer Tom Okundi.