Known to Kenyans as one of the pioneers of Kenyan TV comedy,Benson Wanjau Karira, is not laughing.
Popularly known as Mzee Ojwang’ having graced our TV screens for over three decades, the 76-year-old thespian and father of three is currently admitted at Loresho Hospital after suffering from depression and partial blindness.
According to his fellow cast of the popular Vioja Mahakamani show, Mzee Ojwang’ got into shock and depression in 2014 when the cast was fired from Kenya Broadcating Corporation where they had spent most of their lives building a career that hardly bore fruits.
“There was a new team that called us ‘old’. They gave us instructions to recruit a younger cast then without notice, fired us without any retirement benefits,” said Mama Kayai.
The cast even sought the intervention of Information, Communication and Technology Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i to no avail.
“We never met him. We only met his PA who would refer us to a later date that never was. Eventually, we were referred to another office in Nyayo House and that was the end of it. The government seems to have forgotten about us,” revealed our source.
According to sources, Mzee Ojwang’ who resides at Jogoo Road’s Posta flats, got into depression on realising they had no other place to turn to.
“He couldn’t talk or eat. He just wanted to be alone. All these complications have been caused by the harsh treatment that KBC gave us when we were fired,” said a source who sort anonymity.
On seeing Ojwang’s condition getting worse, the close-knit cast reached out to Senator Mike Mbuvi through the Sonko Rescue Team project.
“He sent a team of doctors and an ambulance to check on him. He was later taken for more specialised checkup at Loresho Hospital. The senator has promised to take care of all expenses and has also presented the matter to the President,” said the source.
According to Gerald Gitahi, a medic with the Sonko Rescue Team, Mzee Ojwang’ urgently needs counselling. “He hasn’t been responding well to food and is suffering from an acute social disconnect. Mzee Ojwang’ lost his right eye about five years ago and risks losing the second one which seems to be badly damaged.”
The senator who agreed to settle the bill told The Nairobian. “It is unfortunate that such entertainers are languishing in poverty.”
- Solomon Koko