EXCLUSIVE! Maina Kageni Finally Admits that he is Gay....
April 1 – MAINA KAGENI has come out of the closet and he is not afraid to tell
the whole world.
In an exclusive interview withIdentity
Kenya, Kageni, who hosts the Maina In The Morning show on Classic 105
FM said he came out to allay rumors that have plagued him for years.
‘It is a decision I have
thought about through and through; but I think there comes a time when a man
has to face the truth and let people know who he really is; I cannot continue
living a lie,’ he said.
Kageni, who said he knew he was
gay since his teenage years, said that he was forced to remain in the closet
due to his work in the media.
‘Its not easy being openly gay
when you are in the media. I have had stints on both radio and TV but none of
them would allow one to be openly gay. I had to hide it because I feared I
might lose my job.’
Kageni, together with his
co-host, Mwalimu Kingangi (Daniel Ndambuki) are the most tuned in radio hosts
in the country, according to surveys.
Maina, has for years been said
to be gay. Adding to speculation of Kageni’s sexuality is his supposed wealth
and high rolling life.
Despite being well known and
having business interests that have made him one of the highest paid media
personalities, Maina has not been seen with a woman or is not known to be
married or dating anyone.
A few months ago,Pulse
a photo of him kissing a woman at an exclusive function. The photo caused a
buzz as most thought Maina had finally gotten married.
Reacting to this, Maina says he
received many phone calls asking if he finally got hitched. ‘I am not married.
I love and respect women but the person I marry will be a man.’
to this was a photo of Maina allegedly in a close embrace with another man
(wearing a vest) that went viral on social media.
The photo showed Maina hugging
the unidentified man while seated.
‘That was a close friend who we
have shared and gone through many tough times,’ he clarified. He said the photo
was taken while the two were in Zanzibar for Christmas holidays.
During last year’s Gay and
Lesbian Awards of Kenya (KeGALA), a daily newspaper mentioned that Maina had
been nominated and won an award at the event. Maina denies this.
‘I think they expected me to be
there. The headlines read that a well known media personality who has been
battling gay rumors was present. But I was not. I appreciate the efforts of the
organizers to be bold and to recognize the work of activists.’
Reports carried then alleged
that Maina attended the event and was awarded.
Maina’s coming out can only be
described as ‘surprising’ like Anderson Cooper’s revelation he was gay last
Cooper, a famed CNN anchor and
reporter, too, battled rumors he was gay. He neither denied nor confirmed them
but in a letter, he came out as gay.
Cooper said that "being
gay is a blessing" and he "couldn't be more proud" of his
sexuality, at the time of his coming out.
"I've always known I was
gay from the time I was a little kid," Cooper, who came out in an email to
journalist Andrew Sullivan last summer, recalled. "I can't remember a time
when I wasn't aware of it, even before I knew what it was or the name of it."
Cooper was honored by GLAAD
this month with a gay media watchdog's top honors in recognition of his stature
and accomplishment as an openly gay journalist. Madonna presented Cooper with
Cooper is currently in a
relationship with Ben Maisani, who flanked him during his awarding. They are
both photographed going for trips, shopping or riding bicycles through the
streets of New York.
once talked the ‘gay question’ with former Capital Talk show host, Jeff
Koinange. In the aired interview onK24, Koinanage asked Maina if he was gay.
actually did not ask me if I was gay but what I thought of all the rumors
saying I was. I could not come to myself to tell him because once, the question
was a complete surprise and two, I could just not come out on national TV,’
Kageni, who was once rumored to
be dating sultry KTN presenter, Ann Kiguta, hopes that his decision to come out
will help in accepting gay media personalities in Kenya’s media circles.
‘I have gay friends many who
are on TV and radio but who cannot come out,’ he said. ‘The environment is not
yet accepting but many live with rumors of being gay. Others prefer to be
anonymous and date secretly.’
Maina said he has attended a
few gay parties but out of fear of being recognized – or worse, photographed –
he wore a cap. ‘It was a necessary precaution because you do not know the kind
of crowd you expect and who may take advantage of you.’
At the moment, Maina confesses
he has been seeing someone though he has had a few relationships in the past.
‘It is not easy dating for
someone like me. One of my boyfriend was so ecstatic he told all his friends
some of whom shared this to other parties and being closeted, I was afraid that
this would kill my career.’
He said that as a public
person, he was forced to drop some of his social events, or not go with any of
his boyfriend since paparazzi will be there.
‘I go to most gigs alone or in
the company of other musicians or presenters we are friends with. I am usually
afraid of showing up with a man or even get close. I keep displays of affection
Maina’s controversial morning show, has had its fair share of praise and
He has been accused of
‘breaking marriages’ for his discussing topics such as extra marital affairs on
The criticism was dealt with
fellow host, Caroline Mutoko who supported Maina saying, ‘The comments I see by
and large are “Maina is breaking up people’s marriages.” Really? He clearly has
touched a raw nerve. No one claims these people are lying, I think the days we
tried to pretend he was making up the calls are long gone.'
'All that’s left is an
uncomfortable realization that the truth is ugly and uncomfortable to deal
‘I think by talking about these
issues, people can then deal with them. Most of those who call in are people in
distress and want to share their stories. Of course, sometimes some callers may
share very sensitive information, but the fact they opened up shows they want
help,’ Maina said.
Asked about how he felt the
general public will view his coming out, Maina said he hopes that ‘nothing
‘I know I have taken a huge
risk by coming out but I look at it this way. It will help many others -
especially those in media – to deal with their sexuality. Secondly, I think
nothing changes much. People will still tune in to my show and contribute. My
sexuality does not make me any lesser a radio presenter or a person.’
His co-host and funny man,
Mwalimu Kingagi, congratulated Maina on his coming out saying, ‘I think it’s
the best decision for him and we can finally settle all those rumors. It was
tough for him working where he could not be himself. I will continue to show
him support and I wish him the best.’
Caroline Mutoko, speaking toIdentity
phone, said she was ‘excited’ for Maina. ‘I always knew he was gay but it was
something we never talked openly about. I have had to defend him off and on air
over the rumors because he is a friend and someone I care about. It’s a great step
to take for him and I am sure Kenyans will appreciate him for this.’
Maina is expected to ‘come out’
on radio tomorrow morning (April 2) on his show. He will make the announcement
briefly before tackling the day’s topic.
I said nothing changes for now. I will continue to host and write as I do and
organize events. I think that people knowing I am gay will actually be
beneficial since they won’t have to act uncomfortable around me.’
According to reports last year,
Kageni will leave the radio station next year after 12 years.
He is said to have revealed on
air that he will be leaving Classic 105 in June this year for retirement.
‘I will be focusing on my
business interests and other media works I have been doing. I will also focus
on my relationship.’
Maina is a columnist with
Nation media Groups sports newspaper, SportON.
‘I am a huge sports fan
especially football and a chance for me to write on football, is a lifelong
dream I had.’ The magazine is published every Monday and Friday.
Denis Nzioka, congratulated Maina on his decision and said it was mature and
most appropriate especially as the LGBTI community wanted mentors who can be
‘I believe Maina is
well-rounded figure and I know he is a good role model.
I just wish he finds
happiness as an openly gay man. I think we have never had any public or
well-known figure come out as gay and I think for Maina to take this step is
not only extraordinary but has injected new blood into our fights for
acceptance and to create awareness on gay people.’
Maina said he had no plans to
wed soon in the US but it’s an option he would be willing to undertake once he