‘I am optimistic’, Tabitha Karanja opens up on losing child, joining politics

Keroche Breweries CEO Tabitha Karanja. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Keroche Breweries CEO Tabitha Karanja has expressed her optimism that justice for her daughter’s death will be served and has high hopes as she makes her first attempt to clinch a political seat.

The Keroche boss lost one of her daughters, Tecra Muigai, in 2020 under unclear circumstances. Doctors who performed her autopsy confirmed that she was hit by a blunt object on the head.

During an interview on Citizen TV on Wednesday, March 9 night, Tabitha (though hesitant to speak about it) disclosed that she had moved on.

She added that the family had decided to get justice in her memory.

‘God has given me strength and I believe this is what (the late) Tecra would have liked me to do. We believe we will get justice. It is clear we will get it. We’ve been to those inquests we can see,” Karanja said.

Then added “When I see someone has lost a daughter, I point and just say nothing and nobody can give them peace but God,”

The Keroche boss has been making headlines in the last week after she raised an alarm over the 250 jobs at stake if her disagreement with the Kenya Revenue Authority over Sh322 million tax arrears continues without intervention.

In her interview, she said that she was ready to settle the dues but was requesting a grace period to clear the pending taxes.

She went ahead and dismissed talk that her woes with the taxman were political saying “This is a business war,”

“We are willing to pay our dues and are requesting a grace period. Keroche breweries have been closed from 31st January 2022,’ she said.

Then went on “If nothing is done, we will be forced to drain out the beer in the tanks worth Ksh.500M because of power bills. They (KRA) overreacted because we just requested a realistic payment plan. We tried looking for Commissioner Githii Mburu before going to the press to no avail,”

She expressed her disappointment in how the matter had spilt to the public but expressed her optimism ahead of a meeting between Keroche and the taxman scheduled for later in the day.

On joining politics, she dismissed the narrative that she was joining politics to protect her business.

She also defended her decision to join the Kenya Kwanza political formation which she said was made after ‘listening to the ground’.

“I believe when I’m in parliament, I will be able to represent other businesspeople and ensure the laws are favourable. I will be vying for senator Nakuru County on a UDA ticket because that is what the ground says,’ she said.

KRA warned 36 banks against lending the company, a couple of weeks after the tax collector shut down operations of the Naivasha-based breweries over Sh300 million tax arrears.

The revenue collector’s move had placed about 250 employees of the brewery at risk, prompting the boss to address the matter publicly for a solution.