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Janet Kanini’s widower, George Ikua, talks about going into debt

By Winnie Mabel October 19th, 2022 3 min read

George Ikua, the widower to media personality Janet Kanini spoke about his experiences between 2017- 2018 when he sunk into debt.

At the time, a failing business turned his life upside down and that of his new ‘co-pilot’ (wife).

Business was initially good until 2019, when the country experienced a cash crunch, forcing him to dispose of his assets to offset his debts.

He paid off his employers with office equipment.

At this time, he revealed he had to employ tactics to survive the troubling season, and it is here that he listed the five noises every Kenyan battling huge debt had to know.

The late Janet Kanini Ikua and her husband George Ikua during a concert dubbed 'One Nation for Janet'at Canivore grounds in Nairobi on November 8,2015. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL
The late Janet Kanini Ikua and her husband George Ikua during a concert dubbed ‘One Nation for Janet’at Canivore grounds in Nairobi on November 8,2015. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL

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He said the first one was the noise of the motorcycle used by electricity meter readers.

He and his ‘co-pilot’ had to learn to listen out for the noise and know when to remain quiet in the house to avoid dealing with him.

They would play cat-and-mouse games with the meter reader. He would disconnect the electricity, and George would later reconnect it himself immediately after leaving the compound.

“The reason we listened for his motorbike was that when we heard it coming, we would disconnect it quickly before he arrived at our gate. We were the kings,” said George.

George Ikua gives his tributes during the burial of his wife Janet Kanini Ikua, former NTV presenter, at Gatuanyaga in Kieni on April 8, 2017. Glowing tributes characterized the ceremony with many describing her as a role model in the society. Photo/ JOSEPH KANYI

Like the electricity meter reader, George listed the water meter reader as among those whose noises one must take note of.

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The third noise he listed was the school bursar’s voice.

“You know you are in arrears, so before, I used to drop the kids near the school where I was proud, and I would kiss them goodbye.

But now I dropped them at the gate, and if the bursar sees me – you know he’s been calling me, and I wasn’t picking- of course, you pray that your co-pilot overlooks your poverty,” added Ikua.

He listed the noises made by the landlord as the fourth sound people in debt must be conversant with.

Ikua revealed that he and his landlord were neighbors who shared a wall, so there was no running away from him- especially when the landlord became broke.

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The late Janet Kanini with hubby George Ikua Photo/Nation

He mentioned co-pilots as the fifth group of people whose noise should be known because they have to live with someone who is in debt and constantly worry and nag about when and how things will change.

“They would ask you why you let the family go into poverty and wonder what you saw in a situation that would make you prosper,” explained Ikua.

His situation came to a head when the electricity guy caught him illegally reconnecting the lights.

The school caught up with him during a parents-teachers meeting where he was exposed as the person at the top of the list of parents who did not pay school fees, and his two children were sent away from school.

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Eventually, he and his co-pilot scrapped money together and managed to send the children back to school after two months, only returning home a day later as the country went into lockdown in 2020.

“Covid saved me. My debtors could not come after me because of social distancing. Our children relaxed now that all kids were home and not just them and as business started crashing, I started telling people how to cope and life began to look a bit better,” added George in part.

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