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From street child to State House: Story of Mugithi artist Ngaruiya Junior

Ngaruiya Junior, who said he turned down a Sh15 million offer to join Azimio, went from being a street child to working at President Ruto's office

President William Ruto with Ngaruiya Junior during a past event

Ngaruiya Junior is Mugithi singer who has dominated Kenya’s Kikuyu gospel music scene and has become known as the "King of Kigooco."

Before the runaway success that has seen Ngaruiya rub shoulders with the high and mighty among them President William Ruto, the musician had a troubled past that saw him battle homelessness, street life, among other challenges facing Kenyan youth.

Born in Kwambira, Limuru, he grew up in a pastor's home, but his early life was characterized by rebellion that led him to quit school in primary school.

In multiple interviews, Ngaruiya recalled that he got into bad company which was the gateway to his errant behaviour including stealing his father's tithes and offerings.

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At the height of his conflict with his father, the singer ran away from home to start life as a street child.

The turning point in Ngaruiya's life came when his aunt from Kimende died, and he attended her funeral, where he was unrecognizable in his dirty street boy clothes.

He met his grandmother at the funeral and begged him to return home, which he did on the condition that he be allowed to relocate to Subukia, in Nakuru with his granny.

He would later join the Full Gospel Church, Ngaruiya began singing with the church's youth group where he professed the Christian faith.

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Later, he got employed at a local business, which increased his visibility in the community, and through connections, he got employed by a pastor in Nyahururu to lead praise and worship in his church.

With time he saved enough money to record his debut album Jehovah wi Ngai Munene, which he sold at crusades and village funeral committees.

In a past interview with Jeff Kuria, Ngaruiya said he would buy newspapers to check on upcoming funerals where he would attend and help console mourners with his songs.

By the time Kikuyu radio stations took notice of his talent, he had established a name for himself.

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In 2013, his popularity saw him selected to be the official MC at the Mbele iko Sawa political rallies which campaigned for then-candidates Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto.

He was also heavily involved with the duo’s 2017 campaigns, composing songs for them.

When the bromance between Kenyatta and Ruto turned sour, he opted to stay loyal to the latter, earning himself the friendship of the former deputy president.

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During a past with KBC, Ngaruiya said that Ruto told him that he wanted to be his bosom friend, with whom he would share details about anything including his personal life.

Ruto is a friend of my family. He normally calls my father out of the blue just to find out how he is doing. He told me that above all else, whether I support him or not, the most important thing is that we are phone,” Nagruiya said.

In 2022, the singer turned down what he described as an attempt by Azimio to win him over by offering him over Sh15 million.

His loyalty to President Ruto would finally pay off after the head of state won the August 2022 Elections.

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Ngaruiya now works in the office of the president and is in charge of entertainment and music.

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Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or:

Email: news@pulselive.co.ke

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