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How K24 Fell In The Hands Of Kenyatta’s From The Founder



K24 logo. Photo Courtesy.

In a continuing Nation podcast series about former TV anchor Louis Otieno dubbed ‘Fall From Grace’ the founder of K24 Ms Rose Kimotho has made revelations about how she lost control of K24 to the Kenyatta family who’re said to be the current owners of the TV station.

Ms Kimotho while talking to the local media house revealed that the whole play had to do with a bank loan that she took from CBA Bank (now NCBA).

Ms Kimotho pensively explains how a Sh12 million overdraft ballooned into an unpayable amount and she had to cede ownership.

“CBA called me for a meeting and said the overdraft was now at Sh70 million. They said, ‘Your overdraft is now Sh70 million. Initially, you had an overdraft of Sh12 million. You’ll never get out of this.’ And of course with an overdraft, the interest is humongous and it (grows every 24 hours). It just kept growing,” she says in the podcast.

Ms Rose Kimotho.

She remembers a call made to her from the bank on how she was intending to pay off the loan that was ballooning by the minute.

“(It is) either an investor comes in or they buy you. And that’s what happened. And that’s how we lost K24. And what always haunted me was because of the circumstances. What could I have done better? Maybe I should not have started with a bank loan. Maybe I should not have started with a dream,” Ms Kimotho shares.

Ms Kimotho who walks with guilt that she’s behind the fall of Louis Otieno a once celebrated and top rated journalist in Kenya, says she took up the loan for the sake of Louis as he was the top most rated journalist in the country by then and a good gamble for her business to boom at the time. She accepts the poaching of the journalist from Citizen TV to K24 to boost the media house’s ratings.

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Acquisition of Louis according to Ms Kimotho was strategic as Kenya was gearing up for 2007 General Elections and with a big name and political debates influence, Mr Otieno was going to come with the audience he had amassed from his career. Little did she know that things were going to go North.

In the 2007/08 GE, Kenya experienced the worst post elections violence that saw not only thousands killed and hundreds of thousands misplaced but the revenues to the media houses shrunk and that’s where the house went cold.

“The saddest thing in the history of the country and the history of K24 is the post-election violence,” says Ms Kimotho.

“It was followed with six months of zero income and six months of costs and no income and six months of an overdraft with CBA bank getting deeper and deeper,” says Ms Kimotho.

“The dreams, the whatever we planned of K24 just went down the drain. And It always haunted me that I’ve always felt I would one day have an opportunity to work with Louis,” she adds.

NCBA is largely owned by the Kenyatta’s family who’re also major stakeholders in K24.

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