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Up close and candid with Boniface Mwangi: Rebel with a Cause

My Man
 Boniface Mwangi, Kenyan Activist                      Photo: Courtesy

It took months to secure a seating with now notorious activist Boniface Mwangi but even the fact that I had an appointment did not stop him from having our conversation in his car and he is a speed junkie!

Many people love Boniface Mwangi and hate him in equal measure. In the weeks leading to our chat he has launched a book – Unbounded - walked off a live TV set; finalized his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exams and announced that he is running for office.

Small wonder that on the day of our interview he has spent the entire day at the police station, because someone had given himself up, saying that he had been paid to murder him.

"Seriously, this world is made of crazy people, someone confessed to me that he had been hired by powerful politicians to kill me, that's why I was at the police station," he says as we drive down Thika Highway en route to the US embassy, where Boni is headed to apply for a visa. He is set to travel to America but confides that he is broke.

"This book has cost me everything but I am glad it is finally out and maybe people can understand Boniface Mwangi better," he says. When I ask him if he is afraid of the frequent death threats, he responds in the negative.

"Death will come and it will eventually find me so there is no need to worry much about it," he says. "My wife worries about me but this is the man she married and our vows said for better or worse!"

We park at Warwick Centre to grab a quick sandwich. As we wait for our orders, we talk about a recent episode in his dramatic life during which he insisted that movie goers stand up and sing the national anthem. He received massive backlash from Kenyans. But he is unapologetic.

"The middle class are not patriotic; we must respect the flag and actually pray for this country. I know many people take it for granted but those are the pillars that will make this country great again," he says.

Boni is in plans to travel to the UK, US and South Africa to popularize his book.

"I must recoup my money and also get ready to convince the people of Starehe that I am their best bet," he says. "I'm as serious as death about vying for that seat! But I do not want to discuss my plans prematurely. That said, I am in this to win it and to change perception. Maybe the system can change or maybe not, but I can't know until I try," the activist says.

 Photo: Courtesy

Many people are not happy about his latest announcement. Some have called him a traitor but that is nothing new for this firebrand. He assures me that he will be on the ballot. But even as he asks the people of Starehe to vote for him, he still has to contend with battles on the court front.

"I only have three cases currently. I will manage," he says with conviction.

I am left sipping juice as he goes into the embassy and returns half an hour later all smiles.

We take off towards Waiyaki Way headed to yet another appointment.

As we eat the sandwiches, the boy in him is unmistakable. "Food is heaven," he says. "Any man will tell you there can only be two ways to a man's heart; good food and, well I will not spell out the second one!"

When he is not being an activist Boni is a quiet soul. He calls himself a loud introvert who is now determined to graduate from activism to politics.

"I had to ask my wife about going into politics and it took me seven years to convince her. It may not look like it but her blessings give me strength and even when times are hard I am happy knowing she has my back," he says.

So there you have it, this man Boniface Mwangi is as tough as nails on the outside but as soft as mush on the inside.



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