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Why veteran Vioja Mahakamani ‘judge’ is unhappy

Veteran actress Lucy Wangui has blasted the government and leading corporate firms for not “doing enough” to promote the industry in Kenya.

Speaking during an interview on wide ranging issues this past week, Ms Wangui, who is best known for playing the role of a no nonsense magistrate in the local sitcom Vioja Mahakamani, said this lack of support has left the Kenyan entertainment industry lagging behind other African countries such as South Africa, Nigeria and Tanzania.

“You know in Kenya nowadays, if the President doesn’t speak, nobody else follows up. There is very little the government does to ensure we have the right environment to discharge our talents. Some of us have been entertaining Kenyans since the era’s of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel arap Moi, Mwai Kibaki and Uhuru Kenyatta, but when you die as was the case with Mzee Ojwang’ (real name Benson Wanjau) people notice you are poor and have nothing,” Ms Wangui said.

“And then there are the corporate; In Nigeria, the banks have done a great deal to promote the movies, and you can see how it has grown to become an international brand. Here in Kenya, no bank wants to invest in the industry, they don’t take as serious,” she lamented.


Mr Wanjau, who is remembered for his role as Mzee Ojwang Hatari in another local comedy Vitimbi, passed on in July last year at the age of 78.

At the time of his death had been ailing since the beginning of the year and struggling with huge hospital bills.

The comedian eventually succumbed to pneumonia at the Kenyatta National Hospital, months after he had undergone a successful eye surgery.

Ms Wangui also hinted of a dispute between her colleagues in one local production and a local television station despite a long association between the two parties.

On the brighter side, the veteran actress said she plans to help nurture talents especially from the less privileged in the society,

“I have been visiting prisons and trying to do auditions to help see whom we can work with in future,” said Ms Wangui who also revealed that Sauti Sol’s Sura Yako is her favourite track.