From corporate world to politics: Keroche CEO picks UDA in Nakuru race

Keroche Breweries CEO Tabitha Karanja in Naivasha on January 6, 2022. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

After months of "listening to the ground" Keroche Breweries CEO Tabitha Karanja has settled for United Democratic Alliance as her political vehicle.

Karanja is vying for the senator seat in Nakuru County. She picked the party ahead of a major rally in Nakuru town to be led by Deputy President William Ruto, ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi and Ford Kenya's Moses Wetang'ula.

The businesswoman said she had done a lot of "soul searching" and consulting before settling for UDA, which she said would address residents' problems. “UDA fits my ideologies which include supporting upcoming traders."

Karanja said she had been courted by other parties and coalitions but she settled for UDA, which she believes will help her win. She cited Ruto's bottom-up economic model, which she said is in line with what she did to set up Keroche.

Karanja said there are greater minds that will continue to propel the Naivasha-based company as she shifts her focus into politics.

“I have managed funds for years as the CEO for Keroche and it's time to now monitor how they are used in the county". Karanja said weak and unfair laws are the weakest link between the government and investors looking to set up businesses in the country. “I am not seeking this seat to protect my company, but to formulate laws that are friendly and supportive to investors."

The CEO said she is ready for the murky political waters. “I have fought all manner of battles to make Keroche what it is today. I am confident I will make it in the coming elections."

In what appeared to be an endorsement, Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika introduced Karanja to the public, with Ruto crowning her with a UDA cap. The CEO promised to work well with Kihika who is seeking the governor seat.

Ruto said Karanja is a classic example of how the bottom-up economic model works, having built Keroche from a small company. She shot to the limelight in 2015 after winning the Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship.