7 TV Stars Who Fell From Grace to Grass

  • A collage of a TV and Radio Studio.
    A collage of a TV and Radio Studio.
  • Media personalities and journalists have set the standard for the fourth estate in the country and Kenyans have held them in high regard over time.

    Many are seen as role models and the career comes with its fair share of ups and downs. Some of these lows have seen some journalists retreat from living a public life.

    One thing remains true, journalists are humans too who go through the changing seasons. Kenyans.co.ke examines some of these men and women who have been on a rollercoaster, whether in their careers or personal lives.

    Former KTN anchor Louis Otieno
    Former KTN anchor Louis Otieno.
    The Standard

    Louis Otieno

    His career started 30 years ago when he walked to his manager’s office seeking a job on the company’s popular show, ‘Post Bank Premium Bonds Draw’. The show aired just before the news on the national broadcaster, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) TV.

    Louis did not immediately land the job but his persistence and confidence saw him getting hired. A few years later, he started anchoring news on KBC and within no time he was one of the highest-paid newsmen of his time. Otieno's career took off.

    However, his career came to a halt after he was named in murder investigations involving a college student, Careen Kipchumba. 

    In 2018, Kenyans learned that Louis had lost his hearing as he was seeking help from well-wishers to raise Ksh4 million for treatment.

    After his recovery, Otieno announced a comeback in 2020. Addressing his fans through a video that surfaced online, the former TV icon revealed that he was set to return with a new show dubbed 'The Second Act.'

    Esther Arunga 

    Esther Adongo Arunga was an outstanding news anchor on Kenyan screens. Not only was she the embodiment of the new and upcoming journalists at KTN, but she was also a role model to the teenagers in the country. Her flawless news delivery and mastery of the Queens language, made Arunga, a household name.

    Her career and life came tumbling after she joined a controversial church. Her woes intensified in 2019 when her son was killed by her husband Quincy Timberlake in Australia. Arunga was charged and she pleaded guilty to being an accessory to murder and was handed a 10-month jail term but was immediately freed on parole.

    Veteran journalist Tom Mboya poses inside the revamped KBC studio
    Veteran journalist Tom Mboya poses inside the revamped KBC studio.

    Tom Mboya

    The celebrated news anchor is a single dad of three. He revealed during a past interview that he felt people expected too much from him when he was at the peak of his career. This mounted pressure on him, pushing him to the bottle

    According to the seasoned journalist, who is also a winner of the coveted CNN African Journalist of the Year Award, sunk into alcohol which he opined offered temporary relief from the struggles of being a single father.

    One day, he collapsed in his house. When he was rushed to the hospital, he discovered that he had pancreatitis which turned out to be a blessing in disguise since it forced him to quit alcohol.

    Mboya has been sober for more than 10 years and currently works as a news anchor at Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC).

    Eddy Kimani

    Media personality Eddy Kimani pleaded with Kenyans to help him get a job as a TV presenter amid the ravaging effects of the coronavirus.

    Kenyans also learnt that the celebrated media personality had battled depression. He shared his struggle with depression and his recovery that led him to discover his new purpose as a mental health advocate.

    He is currently a mental health advocate and media consultant.

    Jimmy Gathu

    He has one of the most distinct voices in the media industry. Gathu is a mentor to many seasoned journalists as well as up-and-coming ones. However, when he lost his job, he realized that despite giving many their first start in media, not all reciprocated his contribution.

    File Photo of Jimmy Gathu, Spice FM radio presenter
    File Photo of Jimmy Gathu, Spice FM radio presenter
    Jimmy Gathu's IG page

    Gathu has spoken about how life took a turn for the worst after he lost his job in 2016. The journalist admitted that a section of his friends used to make fun of him when he reached out to them for help. He added that at times people are only drawn to you simply because of what you can offer to them.

    “I was declared redundant in 2016 at the height of my game, let me tell you some people are drawn because of what you can give them so once what you can give them disappears you become less useful,” he recounted.

    He made a media comeback and he currently has a show on Spice FM dubbed Jimmi Gathu Live, every Saturday from 2:00pm – 7:00pm. He is also a lead actor in Kina, on Maisha Magic East.

    Lolani Kalu

    The renowned Swahili journalist captured the hearts of Kenyans with his grasp of the language as well as his story telling abilities. 

    Kalu spoke up on his struggles after losing his job at NTV, a situation he noted forced him to retreat to the village. His father fell sick and he also had to foot the medical bills which ate into his finances.

    When pictures and videos of Kalu in the village were shared on social media he became the subject of debate. Kenyans of goodwill pulled together and made financial contributions in a bid to boost the journalist.

    Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke, Kalu detailed where things took a nose dive in life after being conned of millions and left with the burden of having to take care of his parents without a dime in his pocket.

    He made a comeback in the industry after landing an acting role.

    File Photo of Citizen TV Anchor Swaleh Mdoe During His Past News Presenting Session
    File Photo of Citizen TV Anchor Swaleh Mdoe During His Past News Presenting Session

    Swaleh Mdoe 

    The Citizen TV journalist shocked Kenyans when he confirmed he was willing to sell one of his kidneys due to financial setbacks.

    Mdoe revealed that he wanted to sell one of the vital organs for Ksh2.5 million to enable him to service loans that were crushing him.

    “I can’t go back to the bank for a top-up so unless a Good Samaritan bails me out, this is the only other way I can think to raise it,” he stated.

    He guaranteed potential buyers that he is in excellent health and has O+ blood, off to a running start where finding a match is concerned.

    alcohol murder killed