Home » Rose Kamotho: How we lost K24 and Kameme TV to the Uhuru’s family

Rose Kamotho: How we lost K24 and Kameme TV to the Uhuru’s family

by Paul Nyongesa
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In the ever-evolving landscape of media ownership, the story of how K24, a prominent Kenyan television station, came under the ownership of the Kenyatta family is one that has long been shrouded in speculation and controversy. However, a closer look at the circumstances reveals a complex tale of financial challenges, a ballooning overdraft, and the impact of political turmoil.

K24 was initially set up with financing from a local bank in which the Kenyatta family held a significant stake. This financial connection would later prove pivotal in the station’s fate.

Rose Kimotho, the founder of Regional Reach, which owned K24 and Kameme FM, embarked on an ambitious journey to position K24 as a major news and elections coverage center during the 2007 General Elections.

This vision required substantial capital, and an overdraft of Sh. 12 million from CBA Bank (now NCBA) was secured to fuel this dream.

However, what started as an optimistic endeavor soon turned into a financial nightmare for Kimotho. The overdraft’s interest rates and daily compounding led to its rapid growth, causing it to balloon to Sh. 70 million. Kimotho, faced with an insurmountable financial burden, was left with limited options.

In 2009, with the weight of the overdraft and the fallout from the 2007 elections still looming large, Kimotho made a heart-wrenching decision. She announced the sale and transfer of Regional Reach’s assets, which included K24 and Kameme FM, to TV Africa Holdings. This company had ties to the Kenyatta family, further fueling speculation about the nature of the transaction.

Kimotho’s decision to relinquish control of her media empire was not made lightly. She recounted how “bank officials” confronted her with the harsh reality of her financial predicament, asking how she intended to repay the colossal debt. It was at this juncture that the options of bringing in an investor or selling the business were presented. The overwhelming burden of the overdraft left her with little choice but to part with her cherished media outlets.

The story of K24’s ownership transfer underscores the impact of political instability on the media landscape.

The post-election violence in Kenya resulted in a six-month period of zero income for K24, while the station continued to accumulate costs and the overdraft with CBA Bank deepened.

Rose Kimotho’s regrets about the circumstances leading to the loss of K24 serve as a poignant reminder of the challenges faced by media entrepreneurs and the complexities of financial decision-making in a volatile industry.

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