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Mariga’s turbulent plunge into politics is nothing new to many Kenyan celebs


Former Kenya international midfielder McDonald Mariga breathed a sigh of relief on Monday when he was cleared to contest for the vacant Kibra parliamentary seat.

His clearance by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) ended an anxious wait for Mariga whose nomination by the Jubilee Party had been invalidated last week.

And so Mariga now remains on course for political career that will see him following in the footsteps of other celebrities who have transitioned into politics.

Celebrities becoming politicians is not a new concept here in Kenya.

Some have won, while many other have seen their political ambitions going up in smoke.

Here are few Kenyan celebs who have turned to politics in recent years.

1. Mohammed Ali

The former KTN investigative journalist, who went to become Member of Parliament for Nyali constituency in the coast in the 2017 general election, initially lost the ODM nominations under controversial circumstances.

He jumped ship and vied as an independent candidate and won.

Even then his win was contested in court, before his victory was upheld.

Before joining politics Ali, though this work, exposed many hidden corruption cases in Kenya though his well investigative TV series Jicho Pevu.

Nyali MP Mohammed Ali in this picture taken on February 16, 2019. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI
Nyali MP Mohammed Ali in this picture taken on February 16, 2019. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI

2. Charles ‘Jaguar’ Kanyi

He is a recording artiste who went on to become the Member of Parliament for Starehe constituency in 2017.

Jaguar first made it to limelight as a recording artiste in 2004 when he recorded and released his first single Utaweza Kweli.

In 2005 he recorded and released several singles among them his most popular hit single Kigeugeu.

With Kigeugeu in the airwaves across the country, Jaguar was now a household name in the country.

He vied for and won the Starehe seat against another celebrity candidate activist Boniface Mwangi.

Musician-turned-politician Charles 'Jaguar' Kanyi who is the sitting Member of Parliament for Starehe constituency. FILE PHOTO
Musician-turned-politician Charles ‘Jaguar’ Kanyi who is the sitting Member of Parliament for Starehe constituency. FILE PHOTO

3. Sabina Chege

She started out as an actress in the local TV series Tausi.

She later become a radio presenter, before joining politics in 2013 when she was elected the Woman Representative for Muranga county.

She retained the seat in the 2017 general election.

Ms Chege is also the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Health in the National Assembly.

Murang'a Woman Rep Sabina Chege in this picture taken on February 20, 2019. PHOTO | KANYIRI WAHITO
Murang’a Woman Rep Sabina Chege in this picture taken on February 20, 2019. PHOTO | KANYIRI WAHITO

4. Gathoni wa Muchomba

Wa Muchomba moved from the radio waves to become a Woman Representative in Kiambu County in 2017.

Before trying out politics Wa Muchomba had been the queen of vernacular radio stations from 1999 when she was working for Kameme FM.

In the 2017 general election, She declared her interest in the Kiambu Woman Rep seat which she ultimately won.

Kiambu Woman Rep Gathoni Wa Muchomba. FILE PHOTO
Kiambu Woman Rep Gathoni Wa Muchomba. FILE PHOTO

5. McDonald Mariga

The former Kenyan international whose current market value as a footballer is said to be Sh34.3 million made an unlikely move some time last month following the death of former Kibra MP Ken Okoth.

Before the Kibra by-election, Mariga kept a low profile, only making headlines because of his football career.

Right from the onset, Mariga’s political move has been fraught with numerous obstacles which have further divided the Jubilee Party.

His candidature has been the subject of opposition both within and without the party circles.

But with IEBC’s clearance, Mariga can only hope to become the next Kenyan celebrity Member of Parliament.

Kenyan international midfielder McDonald Mariga. FILE PHOTO
Former Kenyan international midfielder McDonald Mariga. FILE PHOTO