By Prudence Minayo
Raphael Tuju is a veteran Kenyan politician. He was a renowned media personality before he plunged into the murky world of politics where he continues to thrive. The politician is independent and doesn’t go with the popular political tide. Tuju was a supporter of former President Mwai Kibaki when his political backyard was firmly behind ODM leader Raila Odinga. He once again supported Uhuru Kenyatta in the last two presidential elections.
He is currently serving as the secretary general for the ruling Jubilee party. As the secretary general of the party, he recently condemned the Deputy President of Kenya William Ruto saying he had crossed the line for holding a meeting at the party’s headquarters in the absence of Uhuru. He went on to say that a recommendation had been put forward to the NEC for the removal of the Deputy President William Ruto as the deputy party leader.
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“ We have seen him going around the country launching the hustler movement. These are campaigns and open defiance to the President,” he accused the DP.
Tuju was awarded the second highest civilian title in Kenya, Elder of the Golden Heart (E.G.H) by President Mwai Kibaki for his many years of service in the area of health, human development and public service.
Raphael Tuju was born on 30th March 1959.
He went to Majiwa Primary School and Nakuru West Primary School before joining Starehe Boys.
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Tuju holds a Master of Arts Degree in Mass Communication from the University of Leicester, United Kingdom.
Tuju started his career as a journalist in the 1980s and 1990s. He produced and directed a number of documentaries, and commercials for both Television and radio for the private sector, public sector and international agencies.
Tuju presenting news in 1991
He was a head consultant in the design and implementation of various communication programs. Tuju worked with a number of big organizations such as, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), World Health Organization (WHO), World Bank and United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Apart from this, he was also a columnist for the Standard newspaper.
He once stated that he was the first producer in Africa to win an international Emmy award for a television production.
After accomplishing much in the communication world, he plunged into the political arena.
In 2002, he successfully ran for the Rarienda Member of parliament seat. During his tenure as the member of parliament for Rarienda, he established a major water project, built a number of secondary schools and introduced a mobile hospital to reduce infant mortality as a result of HIV/AIDS and malaria.
From 2003 to 2005, he was the Minister for Information and communication and Minister for Tourism and Wildlife. Later 2005, he was appointed the Foreign Minister during a cabinet reshuffle.
Before the referendum vote in 2005, he formed the Progressive People’s Party (PPP). This move was meant to sway people against the ‘No’ movement which was led by Raila Odinga.
In 2007, he ran for the Rarienda parliamentary seat under the Party of National Unity led by former president of Kenya Mwai Kibaki. He lost the seat and was also replaced as the Minister for Foreign Affairs by Moses Wetangula.
From 2008 to 2011, he worked as the president’s advisor on issues relating to media and the management of diversity.
In 2012, he decided to run for the highest position in the country, the presidential seat. He formed a new political party known as Party Of Action (POA) but fell out of the race within months.
In 2017, he was appointed the secretary general of the Jubilee Party.
In 2018, president Uhuru Kenyatta appointed him a cabinet secretary with no portfolio.
Raphael Tuju married Rose Akinyi on 15th November 1986. The two were together for 27 years before going their separate ways in 2013. In 2013, it was alleged that his wife had been having an affair with Tony Ogunda. The two separated in 2012 but Tuju sought to make it official in February 2013 claiming she had become adulterous and violent.
In the divorce suit, he claimed his wife had been cheating on him with a mannerless young man, who she had even brought into his matrimonial bed while he was away. (Source: The standard)
Together with his ex-wife, he has three children, two daughters and a son.
In February 2020, he was involved in a grisly road accident on the Nakuru-Nairobi highway on his way to the burial of the late former president of the republic of Kenya Daniel Arap Moi.
Speaking to The Star after the accident, he said that he had suffered 13 broken ribs and lost a lot of blood internally.
“ I lost a lot of blood through internal bleeding. I survived through the grace of God. There is no other way. I have realized He loves me,” he said.
One rib was pierced and destroyed his right lung affecting his breathing necessitating oxygen support. Tuju said it was a very painful experience.
Having worked in various capacities both under the communication industry and the government, it is no surprise that he has considerable wealth. He owns a multi million mansion nestled in a 10-acre land in the leafy suburbs of Karen. On the well manicured lawn runs a mock waterfall fed by a slow- flowing river. The beautiful place is a true work of art oozing luxury and class.
“ I did not use a contractor. I lived across. Every morning, I would come in and supervise, and I got a friend who was not paid to help watch over the whole thing.
“ Everything is more about style than money. I like to remind myself that I will live only once, and so I am going to build a decent house for myself,” he revealed in a past magazine interview.
This year, it was revealed he risked losing his multi-million empire after a bad investment. In an article by Business Daily, it was revealed that he had launched a court fight to block the auctioning of his properties over a botched Kes1.53 billion loan deal meant for the development of luxury homes in Karen.
The Kijabe Mission
The CS without portfolio is on a mission to raise funds to purchase medical equipments that will modernize the care at Kijabe Hospital. This is the hospital that dealt with his emergency when he was involved in the near fatal accident as he was heading to former President Daniel arap Moi funeral. In an interview on Citizen TV, the Jubilee SG said through his 50km walk he hopes to bring in corporates, friends and other government officials on board to raise funds that will be channeled to Kijabe Mission Hospital to buy modern equipment and save more lives.
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