The guitar that sent Governor Kawira Mwangaza home after 112 days

Robert Murega Rimberia and Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza.

Robert Murega Rimberia and Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza.

Photo credit: Courtesy

Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza's husband Robert Murega Rimberia has been the talk of the town even as the governor faces uncertain times in county leadership.

But how did Murega become the star in Ms Mwangaza's life?

Armed with only a guitar, an iconic cap, flamboyance and a good voice, Murega, who goes by the stage name Murega Baichu, sang his way into Ms Mwangaza’s heart.

It is also believed he sang his wife to victory in the Meru County gubernatorial race during the August 9 General Election.

However, critics now argue that the same guitar, flamboyance and vocals that made her win favour during the polls have driven her into a possible early retirement after the county assembly members on Tuesday overwhelmingly voted to impeach Governor Mwangaza.

All MCAs present at the assembly voted unanimously to have Ms Mwangaza removed from office for alleged gross misconduct, abuse of office and gross violation of the Constitution and county laws.

She, however, has to face the Senate.

Mr Baichu, with his trademark Panama hats, cannot exactly be classified as a musician out to win fans. His has been a journey to win love, prestige and honour.

“Only that he overdid it...we love his guitar wizardry and ability to compose in the heat of the moment…on impulse. He is a genius. That, give it to him. But he should have exited county power prominence,” says John Mutembei, a producer in Nairobi.

He says he has watched Mr Baichu play the guitar and use his vocals “and my God that chap can mellow all Pharaohs and their descendants, plus all their hard hearts”.

However, “He has ended up being a nuisance in the political scene by being seen to be too intrusive, domineering and stealing the show in the governor's office, to a point of being seen to trade barbs with elected Members of County Assembly (MCAs)".

Mr Baichu had been singing more to popularise causes in the Meru spheres of life but not for the charts.

“He cannot be said to be a dyed-in-the-wool musician competing for airwaves with other artists. His has been more of a personalised crooning and a hobby and was lucky to be discovered by Ms Mwangaza,” says Epha Maina, the chairman of Talented Musicians and Composers Sacco.

Mr Maina argues that music as an industry that comes with profits favoured Mr Baichu “by giving him a celebrity status, love, money and clout.”

He says given an opportunity to trade places with Mr Baichu, “I would without hesitance do it, but amend living that bit of controversy that is playing a huge role in Ms Mwangaza's political woes”.

Mr Baichu was hired by Ms Mwangaza as her entertainment manager in 2012 as she campaigned for the Buuri Parliamentary seat.

She was unsuccessful, and Mr Baichu followed her to her Kimbo Kibirichia home.

Mr Baichu and his guitar won more favour from Ms Mwangaza when he married her in May 2018 in a colourful wedding.

In a 2019 media interview, Mr Baichu was all smiles as he narrated how his guitar skills "swept Ms Mwangaza off her feet and into my heart".

“She would go crazy...anytime I struck a chord on my guitar. She recruited me into her church where I am also an apostle. She has been my top fan and slowly it was more love than limited to my music,” he said.

He teased that besides the guitar, Ms Mwangaza also loves his hats “and not once did she concede my handsomeness”.

In 2017, Ms Mwangaza declared her interest in vying for the county woman representative seat and, again, Mr Baichu roared to life with his guitar and vocals and traversed the expansive region hunting for votes. Ms Mwangaza won the election.

She eventually vied for the governor seat in 2022 and succeeded, beating seasoned Meru politician Kiraitu Murungi.

During the journey, Mr Baichu and Ms Mwangaza founded Kamankura Records which later morphed into Baite Media Family -the owners of the locally popular Baite TV.

Whether or not Mr Baichu will dig deeper into his charm offensive using his guitar magic to save Ms Mwangaza from her impeachment tribulations remains to be seen.

“Both Mr Baichu and Ms Mwangaza are nice is only that they have appeared to be more excited to catwalk around than reason...They have exhibited deficiencies of wisdom in dealing with the problem at hand but Meru people are reasonable and they will deal with this challenge and move on,” Mr Mutembei opines.

But he observes that “not all times does the guitar work and not all challenges bow to love and flamboyancy...sometimes it's all about the power of reason”.

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