Michael Njogo Gitonga is no doubt President Uhuru Kenyatta’s perfect lookalike; the height, skin colour, eyes and general mannerism.
In his Umoja estate neighbourhood, the locals have nicknamed him Uhunye wa mtaa. Uhunye is also what many youths use to refer to Kenya’s fourth president Uhuru.
- Original While the two have such a striking physical resemblance, Gitonga is an ordinary jobless Kenyan whose financial and social status are nowhere close to that of his lookalike. Few Kenyans would have taken note were it not for his photos going viral on social media platforms, thanks to the internet, followed by appearances in a section of media outlets.
That was it, the usual internet celebrities we have witnessed in Kenyan who disappear from our memories as fast as they appeared. In an interview with TUKO.co.ke YouTube channel, he admits his striking resemblance with the president makes people ask for handouts from him.
Gitonga (l), popularly known as Uhunye wa mtaa, rose to fame owing to his striking resemblance with President Uhuru Kenyatta (r). Photo: UGC. Source: UGC
Obviously, the rapid rise to fame, thanks to the internet does not make matters better for him considering it is believed every celebrity has money. The request for handouts has only increased. Perhaps in a different world, says Hollywood, Gitonga would have featured in a movie as President Uhuru Kenyatta and made a fortune. Who knows? Lucky for him, unlike many internet celebrities Kenyans have witnessed, Gitonga’s fortunes are set to change for the better.
Away from the publicity, the 38-year-old had received from a section of the public, which was curious to establish whether or not Gitonga was related to the head of state, Maridady Motors saw something different in him. “When he was brought here, he said he had tried a taxi business but the vehicle became a problem after it aged.
When he mentioned a taxi, it was a keyword for us because we sell cars. That is when the story of trying to give this guy a second chance with a new taxi came into play,” Maridady Motor’s CEO Eric Ngigi told the Journalist in an interview.
Maridady Motors CEO Eric Ngigi. Photo: Maridady Motors. Photo: Maridady Motors. Source: Facebook
It emerged that Micheal, besides operating a taxi in vain, has tried his hand in other businesses, for instance running a butchery but it did not go far. With a family to feed and bills to pay, the sudden celebrity status was not enough. Needless to mention the fact he cannot even get the casual jobs he would get due to COVID-19.
Maridady motors, a popular vehicle dealership located at Ridgeways along Kiambu Road that deals in new and quality pre-owned vehicles figured a way to empower Gitonga with something long-termly sustainable.
Gitonga (r) and comedian Professor Hamo (l) when they visited Maridady Motors. Photo: Maridady Motors. Source: Facebook His celebrity status has thus earned him a new car, aimed at ensuring he can resume his taxi business. But he had to be trained by the best first. “We realised there was a gap…we needed to train him. This includes training him on how to operate a taxi as a business since it has been four years since he was last behind the wheels.
He also needs an attitude change and a revamped outlook in life. I thus personally conversed with him on bouncing back. Training in Finance Management is being done by a banker called Mr Benjamin Mwendwa who volunteered his services. We are doing this to ensure that he does not go back to the drains shortly after getting a windfall due to poor decision making as we have seen happening to many other people who got a chance like his,” Ngigi went on.
Gitonga (r) during a training session on Finance Management by a banker called Benjamin Mwendwa (l) Photo: Maridady Motors. Source: Facebook
Do you remember the story of Githeri Man? Yes! The famous guy who rose to stardom after being spotted on the queue at a polling station with his favourite githeri meal and later received a Head of State Commendation. Despite landing dozens of business deals, his moment of glory was shortlived and unfortunately, he skidded back into squaller. In a move to prevent such a situation befalling the president’s lookalike, Ngigi revelled that Gitonga was being trained in financial management, given refresher courses in driving and also been counselled by the renown life coach Mrs Anne Muratha.
Gitonga (l) during a counselling session with life coach Anne Muratha (r). Photo: Maridady Motors. Source: Facebook
Uhunye is now leading men in changing their perception to counselling. After getting his first session with the family therapist Wamuratha, Uhunye decided to tag along his first Lady to the second session. What’s your take on men going for counseling?
Ngigi dismissed as false claims that the company was pulling a publicity stunt by helping Gitonga bounce back in life and business. He avers that entrepreneurship is not an easy path and that entrepreneurs in Kenya lack psychosocial support particularly when things don’t work out.
Gitonga (seated) during a driving refresher course. Photo: Maridady Motors. Source: Facebook According to the Maridady Motors boss, building optimism is part of CSR projects the company has been undertaking for years adding that it was not going to be the last. “We are not looking for a show or publicity as some people have already claimed.
We already have a name. We are sure this gesture has the capacity to trickle down and be felt by generations that will come after him, furthermore, we all have fallen before and received assistance too,” said Ngigi