S.K. Macharia is a household name in Kenya today. If there is one word that can sufficiently describe the man, then that word is tenacity. Here is one man who decided that he was going to build a media empire and went ahead to build one.
His dream, Royal Media Services, was hatched during the reign of retired President Moi. Those who know how Moi operated will tell you that it was the very wrong time to establish a media outfit, especially for a man who was perceived to be anti-establishment.
At one point Macharia’s broadcasting equipment were seized by the State, thereby switching the fledgling Citizen TV off air. This was not enough to deter SK, as he is known to many. Come 2002, Citizen TV had become so popular among ordinary Kenyans that it became the official mouthpiece of the Narc campaign, which was to send the then ruling party Kanu, packing.
The State broadcaster, KBC, which was being used by the government to relay Kanu propaganda, had lost the trust of Kenyans. It has yet to recover.
Despite a minor blip when the ODM juggernaut perceived the station to be pro Kibaki’s Banana wing in the campaigns for the constitutional referendum, in 2005, Citizen TV is the channel with the highest ratings in Kenya today.
You will also recall that incident when after Patrick Quarco’s Radio Africa poached a number of radio announcers from Royal Media’s Citizen Radio. What happened after that? Frequencies for Radio Africa’s stations, namely, Kiss and Classic were severely tampered with, leading to Radio Africa lodging a complaint with the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK). It was alleged that Macharia and Citizen were behind the whole mess.
You should also bear in mind that SK has the memory of an elephant; he does not forget it if you cross his paths. He has a reputation of being a tenacious litigant. If you doubt me, ask retired President Moi and most recently Justice Martha Koome. SK, who recently celebrated his 70th birthday, is also reputed to be very faithful to his friends, and that is why you will find a number of people in his companies, whose sole reason for earning a pay check is their friendship to SK.
In short, what I am trying to say is that SK’s life is quite colourful, and would make for great reading. And that is precisely why Moran Publishers are set to release his autobiography, aptly titled Tenacious Courage. David Muita, the managing director of Moran Publishers says the book should be released to the public by the end of the month.
“Readers should brace themselves for a very interesting book,” says Muita. “First and foremost SK is a very inspirational figure both to the young people and aspiring businesspeople.” And for the young ones Moran will be releasing a junior edition of the book at a later date.
With the release of SK’s book, one thing is clear though, it is going to be a major talking point, especially now that the country is caught up in the throes of next year’s watershed elections.
We predict that a few people will threaten to go to court. Yes, it is that explosive!