Successful Journalists Who Failed in Politics

Former Citizen TV anchor David Makali
  • Life at times demands for one to take risks and venture into unfamiliar territories. Whereas some risks may plough back big rewards, at other times the results may not be forthcoming.

    Some journalists took the gamble of walking away from their already successful careers to try their hand in politics with many vowing to change the status quo.

    Even though the gamble paid off for some like Mohammed Ali, others missed their shot and were forced to look for other avenues for income.

    Here are five journalists who joined politics but lost.

    David Makali

    Former Citizen TV anchor David Makali.

    During his heydays, journalist David Makali graced our screens every morning on Citizen TV hosting the Breakfast show as well as Cheche alongside Uduak Amimo.

    To get to that level, however, the outspoken political analyst had previously worked as the head of content at the Star newspaper where he opted not to renew his one year contract.

    In the run up to 2017 general elections, Makali left his media career to try his hand in politics vying for the Bungoma Senate seat.

    Makali ran for the position through the Amani National Congress (ANC) party but resigned a few days after losing the seat to Moses Wetangula.

    In 2019, Makali was appointed by ICT Ministry Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru as the chairperson of a taskforce for improvement of Government Information and Public Communications functions. He holds the position to date.

    Kendagor Obadiah

    Former Citizen TV reporter Kendagor Obadiah
    Former Citizen TV reporter Kendagor Obadiah.

    In 2016, former Senior reporter for Citizen TV decided to leave fame for a shot at serving his fans in a different capacity as the Kapenguria Member of Parliament.

    At the time, Obadiah explained that he was inspired by rampant cattle rustling and developed the zeal of changing the status quo.

    “I have covered raids between the Pokot and Turkana, hunger facing my people as well as low standards of education. I feel it is the right time to get to leadership position,†stated Obadiah.

    Obadiah lost the seat to Chumel Samwel Moroto.

    David Ohito

    Former Standard Editor David Ohito
    Former Standard Editor David Ohito
    The Standard

    After a record 22 years in the newsroom, David Ohito, who had rose through the ranks to a managerial position, left the mainstream media and declared his aspiration to vie for the Ugenya Parliamentary seat.

    David Ohito is a career award-winning journalist who worked at The Standard media Group as a writer, bureau Chief, News Editor and Digital Editor.

    During the 2017 general elections, Ohito lost the Ugenya MP seat to David Ochieng’ and now works as the Chief of Staff for Mandera County.

    He also served as a member of the panel of judges of the CNN Africa Journalist of the year Awards and is a former Vice Chair of the Kenya Editors Guild.

    He holds a Masters Degree in Communication from University of Nairobi and a Bachelors Degree in Government and Public Administration from Moi University.

    Boniface Mwangi

    Activist Boniface Mwangi in police uniform in a video shared online on April 2, 2020
    Activist Boniface Mwangi in police uniform in a video shared online on April 2, 2020

    Activist Boniface Mwangi has received success in two different fields including journalism and activism but politics has seemed to evade his sights.

    Mwangi is known for his photos of the post-election violence that rocked Kenya in 2007–2008. He has twice won the CNN Multichoice Africa Photojournalist of the Year Award and is the youngest Prince Claus Laureate.

    New African Magazine named him one of the 100 Most Influential Africans of 2014 and 2016 and he is also a senior TED Fellow. Time magazine recognized him as a Next Generation Leader in 2015 and he was selected as Kenya’s Top 40 under 40 men in 2016.

    In 2017, the photojournalist decided to leave his lens behind for a shot at Starehe Parliamentary seat after raising Ksh6.7 million but conceded defeat to popular musician Charles Kanyi (Jaguar).

    Mwangi also worked at KTN during his heydays.

    Anderson Ojwang

    Former Standard Bureau Chief Anderson Ojwang'
    Former Standard Bureau Chief Anderson Ojwang’.

    Anderson Ojwang left his career in journalism in 2016 to try his hand in politics by vying for the Karachuonyo Parliamentary seat.

    The former journalist had risen up the ranks as a Bureau Chief at The Standard.

    For his decision to run, Ojwang’ explained that he was motivated by the need uplift the economic standards of the residents noting that ” Karachuonyo becomes a producer rather than a consumer constituency.â€

    During Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party primaries in Homa Bay, the former journalist came in eighth after garnering only 816 votes.

    Karachuonyo seat is now held by Andrew Adipo.


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