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Nature vs nurture: Where leadership runs in the family



It quickly becomes a conversation about nature versus nurture. While most families are known for producing one prominent leader, there are homes that produce more than one.

They raise siblings who hold leadership positions, small and big, wherever they go. And it often invites debate on whether they were born leaders or taught how to lead.

An example is the family of University of Nairobi (UoN) Vice Chancellor Kiama Gitahi. Prof Kiama is the fifth born in a family of nine children hailing from Othaya, Nyeri County. The eighth born is Dr Githinji Gitahi, a man who has held senior positions in Kenya’s corporate scene, and now heads Amref Health Africa, which has more than 1,000 employees implementing hundreds of projects across 30 countries in Africa.

Then there is Nyeri Archbishop Anthony Muheria. Since being ordained as a priest in 1993, he has held a number of leadership positions in the Catholic Church, among them being bishop of Embu (2003) and Kitui (2008). His appointment as Nyeri archbishop in 2017 happened two years after his brother Patrick Njoroge became the governor of the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK).

Mr Njoroge’s term as CBK boss was renewed in June 2019, placing him at the steering wheel of Kenya’s fiscal journey until the end of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s reign.

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University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor Prof Kiama Gitahi (left) and his brother Dr Githinji Gitahi who is CEO of Amref Health Africa

Both Mr Njoroge and Rev Muheria subscribe to the Opus Dei (Work of God) group within the Catholic Church, holding strongly to its ideals of living modestly and using every day work as a chance to minister.


There is also the Wetangula pair comprising Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula and his younger brother Tim Wanyonyi, the Westlands MP. Both have a background in law, and there is a time Mr Wanyonyi used to work in his elder brother’s law firm.

Mr Wetangula had his introduction to national politics by being nominated as a Kanu MP in 1992, a post he held until the 1997 General Election, when he was elected Sirisia MP. He was re-elected in subsequent elections until 2013 when he vied for and won the Bungoma senator seat, which he holds to date.

Mr Wanyonyi, on the other hand, joined elective politics in the 2013 General Election, clinching the Westlands MP seat that he retained in 2017. He had an incident with carjackers in 1998, which saw him shot in the back, leaving him paralysed from waist down.

Mr Wanyonyi subscribes to the ODM party while Mr Wetangula leads Ford Kenya. The Westlands MP told a local publication earlier this year that they do not discuss politics whenever they talk.

“When we meet, we discuss family issues. He knows my stand on this and cannot ask why I am not supporting Ford Kenya,” the MP said.

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Still on the political front, the sons of former President Daniel arap Moi are holding various elective positions.

The lastborn in the family, Gideon Moi, is the Baringo senator and the Kanu party leader, and he was handed the symbolic baton of leadership during his father’s burial in February. The third born, Raymond Moi, is the MP for Rongai in Nakuru County. Both the Moi sons are allied to Kanu, the party through which their father ruled Kenya for 24 years.

So, are people born to be leaders or they learn the ropes as they grow? According to Mr Jeff Nthiwa, a Nairobi-based life coach, training is key.

“What I can tell you after coaching so many people to become extraordinary leaders is that leadership is not something you are born with or without. It is a skill that anyone can learn,” he told Lifestyle.

UoN scholar Purity Kithiru Gitonga delved on the matter in a 2006 project for her PhD.

“Theories of leadership other than the trait theory imply that leadership is a set of skills that can be learnt, developed and applied to organisational involvement and everyday life. Leadership is not an inherent trait. Leadership is for everyone,” she wrote in her project titled A Critical Analysis of the Meaning and Nature of Leadership.

“While there is no definitive agreement among the experts, it seems that leadership is a function of both nature and nurture. IQ and aptitude, which are largely innate, may determine the field that one enters, but not necessarily one’s success in that field,” she added.


“So, though leaders are gifted in some areas, those gifts and talents alone are not enough. Experience, correct choices and exposure to right situations are also key to leader development.”

The Gitahi brothers told Lifestyle that at least everyone in their family of four boys and five girls has had a leadership role somewhere, be it the church or the community.

“Looking at my siblings, they all have social leadership skills, but in terms of being in the public limelight, I would say it is the two of us — myself and my brother Kiama,” said Dr Githinji.

He added that the eldest brother, Dickens Ndirangu, has been in church leadership for years and at one point he vied unsuccessfully to be Embakasi MP against Muhuri Muchiri.

They believe their upbringing under their disciplinarian mother Teresa Wanjugu Gitahi, a Presbyterian Church believer who wanted all her children to get a good education, played a huge part in shaping them to be who they are.

Their mother was largely responsible for running the household because their father lived in Nairobi, running his tailoring business and a food kiosk opposite Muslim Girls in Ngara.

“Our mother was upcountry and she was a subsistence farmer, basically with under one acre of land. We grew a bit of coffee; a few bushes, then the rest of it was maize, beans, which we fed on,” recalled Dr Gitahi.

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Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge and his brother, Nyeri Archbishop Anthony Muheria. PHOTOS | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

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He described her as a woman who did not hesitate to punish errant behaviour.

“She was a disciplinarian and would not allow us to mingle freely with people she thought were not of good standing or good discipline, even in the neighbourhood. If she found that the child you were hanging out with in her view was somebody who was wayward, she would make it her singular duty to see that friendship end, and I think that kind of shaped our early upbringing,” Dr Gitahi said.

Prof Kiama said the mother inculcated the spirit of working hard in the family.

“Our mother ensured we woke up very early to do a certain task, whether it is to pick coffee, going to get fodder for animals, going to look for firewood, cultivating the farm, harvesting potatoes or any other task,” he said.

And though none of their parents had had formal education, they ensured all their children went to school. All the nine went to Gatugi Primary School, which is near their home. That would be the start of a journey to Nyeri High (O-level) then later Mang’u High l (A-level) then UoN’s School of Medicine for Dr Gitahi.

For Prof Kiama, Gatugi Primary was the launching pad to Kenyatta High, then Nakuru High and later UoN’s College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences. After obtaining his veterinary medicine degree in 1990, he joined UoN as an assistant lecturer and rose to full-fledged lecturer status five years later.

He became a senior lecturer in 2002, an associate professor in 2012 and a full professor in 2016. During this time, he held various leadership roles among them being the associate dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (2003-2010) and being the principal of the College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences (2016 to February 2019).

His appointment as the UoN vice chancellor to succeed Prof Peter Mbithi took a dramatic turn when Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha negated his appointment, but he later retained the position. He officially took over office in June.

He spoke to ‘Lifestyle’ in between meetings.

So, who is the first person he informed when he learnt that he would be heading Kenya’s oldest and largest university?

“That was obviously my younger brother, Dr Githinji Gitahi,” he said, laughing heartily. The laughter was a clear illustration of why, in the village, their family is fondly known as the “laughing family”, or the family of ever-happy people.

Added Prof Kiama: “Even before I applied, he would say I would become VC because I had worked with him for a long time and mentored him quite a bi. We also share a lot as friends.”

As for Prof Kiama’s younger brother, being a medic was good, but he soon realised that he needed to nurture his leadership side more. After obtaining his medicine degree in 1996, during which time he had been the vice-chairman of the Association of Medical Students of the University of Nairobi, he practised briefly at Kenyatta National Hospital then left for the private sector, securing a job at Avenue Healthcare.

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“I started working there as a medical officer in the outpatient. But over time, I think my leadership skills started to come up. So, whereas I was working, I started being given roles.”

“I began the job as a medical officer but started being given roles to manage the outpatient side, and the hospital. And that is how I developed my management skills,” he said.

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Ruaraka MP Tom J Kajwang’(left) and his brother Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang’ PHOTOS | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

He also developed a passion for communication, and that drive saw him engage in radio interviews while working with medicine manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline.

While at GlaxoSmithKline, he developed an interest in marketing and decided to pursue a master of business administration (MBA) in the field. He would later be the Africa regional director for Smile Train International. Then he became the general manager for marketing and circulation in East Africa for the Nation Media Group, the company that publishes, among others, this newspaper and Taifa Leo that his father often carried whenever he returned home from the city.

He joined Amref Health Africa as the CEO in 2015 and has been at the helm since. His love for commenting on health matters has seen him take an elevated position during these times of the Covid-19 pandemic as he has been giving media interviews to discuss the deadly virus.

In all, Dr Githinji said the environment they grew in played a part in moulding them as leaders, and that their parents might have also transferred to them some leadership traits.

“My mother is highly respected in her local church. At some point, she was a treasurer collecting offertory. I remember thieves coming for it at one time,” he narrated, laughing.

“My father was also involved in leadership. Here in Nairobi as he did his tailoring and ran his kiosk, he was involved with local councillors and stuff,” he added.

Dr Githinji also believes that his mother’s steadfast faith played a part. “All of us grew up knowing that every Sunday you go to church,” he said. “Therefore, there was an element of fear of an unknown superpower that actually ruled over your life, and you knew that even if your mother didn’t see you, there was another power that saw you.” Being a large family where sharing was encouraged, Prof Kiama said, might have also contribute to moulding the leadership skills in the family.

By Sunday Nation

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Eddie Butita leaves The Trend after 5 years



It is everyone’s prayer to see their friends and neighbours succeed in live and move from one stage to another one, on a higher level.

The aforementioned is the same when celebrities or people we have supported passionately thrive in their careers.

Eddie Butita leaves The Trend after 5 years

Eddie Butita was a panelist at The Trend for five years. Photo: UGC
Source: UGC can say the same about Churchill Show comedian Eddie Butita and his fans on their relationship over the years.

The comedian on Friday, September 18, triggered mixed emotions among his fans after announcing his exit from popular NTV show, The Trend.

In an Instagram post seen by, the comedian said he was ending his 5-year stint on the show as a panelist to start another exciting journey in his comedy career.

Butita who has been a panelist on the NTV show that airs every Friday, thanked Larry Madowo who believed in him and gave him his first ever show.

He also thanked Amina Rabar and other crew members for being an integral part of his growth on TV and being great to him for all the years they have worked together.

”It has been five years of a good ride on the trend #TTTT it all started with just a one appearance and became a permanent job. I would like to thank Amina Abdirabar and the panelist team for being more than collegues our time together was worth it I learnt laughed and changed a lot that I was able to. It is time to give chance to other talents to get an opportunity to grow and shine with greatness,” he wrote.

The comedian also used the opportunity to thank NTV’s management for giving him a chance to work with the broadcaster.

”Special thanks to NTV Kenya for the opportunity we are still together in this journey. Thank you Larry Madowo for believing in me and giving me the first chance to be on the show the rest was history. Big thanks to my fans, I have got more in store for you this is just the beginning of another Chapter in my Comedy Career. Adios el tendencia,” he added.

His exit from The Trend came just a day after he broke the internet with a charming birthday message to his lover, Mammito.

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“I got kicked out from home,” Bien’s brother Melvin painfully admits facing great rejection and resentment from their father



Sauti Sol’s Bien-Aime Baraza’s eldest brother, Melvin has come out to reveal how his father rejected him at a very tender age.

The eldest of the three boys of the Baraza family took to his social media page to tell his story as a child, growing up without the foundation of a father’s love who was present but with no love towards him.

Melvin Alusa Baraza

Sharing a sweet photo with one of his daughters lying on his back, Melvin attested that a father’s love is the foundation of his children. A love through which the young ones build on and are able to face storms the world throws at them.

Melvin with his daughter

The sad narrative

However, that was never the case of his childhood.

I grew up facing great rejection and resentment from my father. I was fearful, felt unworthy and for the better part of my childhood longed for his affirmation, painfully narrated Melvin.

Unfortunately, the more he kept seeking affirmation from his father, the more it got worse.

…it only got worse to the point of being kicked out of the home I knew at the tender age of 17,” he continued.

Bien Aime’s eldest brother, Melvin

Looking back, it is not the tears or the pain he underwent that matters, but the lessons his childhood taught him that have seen him become a present and loving father to his 6 children. Because for him, breaking the curse of rejection is what matters most!

Today God has blessed me with 6 children whom I love with my life, an opportunity to break the curse of rejection and change the narrative.

Melvin Alusa Baraza with his children

His post caught the attention of many including his brother, Bien Aime who could only comment:

bienaimesol ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

The Baraza sons

Mixed reactions

Fans and followers, felt for him, painful memories of the past that might never fade away but he keeps a strong face for his young boys and girls.

waihenya A father should b the most important/best influence to his children. Lakini wasita babaaa?? 👨‍🎓👨‍🎓💪💪Hapo sawa
msosendo Sending you love and light!!! 🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
betty.wangeshi ❤❤❤❤❤Mello you have indeed broken that curse and you’re such an inspiration to many 🥰🥰🥰. To all those deadbeat dad’s it’s your loss not the child’s!!!!

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Beautiful Anita Nderu leaves Team Mafisi confused after declaring that she is a member of LGBTQ Community



Kenyan media personality Anita Nderu has sparked mixed reactions online after announcing she is a member of the LGBTQ community.


Nderu, a former presenter at Capital FM, revealed this through a post on her Twitter page on Thursday, saying she hopes her kids will not be subjected to what she has gone through for being LGBTQ.

“I hope my kids never have to go through what I have gone through for being LGBTQ+,” Anita wrote.

Her announcement comes weeks after she came under heavy criticism from social media users for hosting two gay men on her YouTube show. Anita later defended her show, saying her guests were only friends who decided to show their real selves.

In July this year, Nderu said she would not apologise for hosting members of the LGBTQ community on her cooking show, ‘The overdressed cook’.

The video, which was meant for viewers over the age of 18, caught the attention of many, which led to her trending for days.

Speaking to Massawe on Radio Jambo, Anita said she respects people’s opinions but she will not apologise.

She said she has always been open about different things happening around, and so this being pride month, she decided to invite some of her friends on the show.

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“I simply asked my friends to come on my web show and be themselves. What any of us have chosen to do on the show is how each of us is. Nothing about my show is scripted. What you see from the guests, food to outcome is what actually genuinely took place,” she said.

Anita has not been secretive about being a staunch supporter of Kenyan lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) persons.

“As people, we should celebrate our differences, encourage authenticity & wonder at the diversity of humanity. We all have a right to love and be loved. Have an amazing day,” she added.

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