Minister Who Moulded Son to Steer Citizen TV

  • Royal Media Services Managing Director Wachira Waruru, after his election as the chairperson of Media Owners Association on April 27, 2018.
    Royal Media Services Managing Director Wachira Waruru, after his election as the chairperson of Media Owners Association on April 27, 2018.
    Daily Nation
  • Among the most powerful media leaders in the country, Royal Media Services managing director Wachira Waruru ranks top, steering one of the biggest media chains in the country.

    Wachira is only one among other children born of the late former Nyeri Town Member of Parliament Waruru Kanja, who served for the longest period during the presidency of the late Daniel Moi.

    Kanja’s political career started to show at an early age when he actively took part in the fight against colonisation in the early 1950s.

    Former Information and Broadcasting Minister Waruru Kanja during an interview with the Daily Nation
    Former Information and Broadcasting Minister Waruru Kanja during an interview with the Daily Nation
    Daily Nation

    According to The Standard, on November 25, 1953, Kanja was condemned to hang when he was only 23 years old after he was accused of smuggling arms to Mau Mau fighters at the height of the struggle for independence. 

    He was then a police officer who had earlier received training at Kiganjo Police College. Luckily he was given parole from the colonial officers after the intervention of various lawyers including Argwins Kodhek.

    After the attainment of independence, Waruru established himself as an icon and firm supporter of the founding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.

    This positioned him as a point man in the region, an element he maintained as the Member of Parliament for Nyeri Constituency before passing the same allegiance to President Daniel Moi after the death of Kenyatta.

    Despite Moi appointing him as an assistant minister in his first Cabinet, in 1981, the politician fell off with the Moi government where he accused Moi of various atrocities against his opposers.

    Waruru was thereby convicted and jailed for three years on allegations of failing to declare possession of foreign currency, which was a gross crime at the time.

    The MP appealed against the sentence and had it reduced to one year.

    “What I found when jailed in 1981 was something that I could never have imagined. The conditions were terrible. It is a miracle that people still survive our prison system. It is as if they are designed to kill or destroy your soul,” he remarked as quoted by the Daily Nation.

    The MP’s star in politics was not to dim in any way as his constituents voted him back in 1988 after his release from prison and after he buried the hatchet with president Moi, he was appointed as the minister of information and broadcasting.

    According to Daily Nation, Kanja’s appointment brought him closer to Moi for the second time as the president fought to clip the growing influence of then-Finance Minister Mwai Kibaki who was slowly taking over central Kenya leadership.

    As a minister for communication, Waruru ostensibly influenced his children towards getting into the media career where his sons Wachira Waruru and Kanja Waruru later established themselves in.

    However, his close ties with the president were short-lived as he laid a scathing attack on Moi after the death of Robert Ouko.

    The verbal attack by Kanja that indirectly implied that the government took part in the murder of Ouko led to the ruling party KANU expelling, thereby losing his seat.

    The position was later clinched by a young Waihenya Ndirangu who was by then a student at Kimathi Polytechnic.

    Former Minister for Informationj and Broadcasting Waruru Kanja during a media interview in 2008
    Former Minister for Informationj and Broadcasting Waruru Kanja during a media interview in 2008
    The Standard