After a month’s consultation with family and friends, the 57-year-old Karanja said she has decided to run for political office.
“For months we have been involved in consultations with close friends and I feel it’s time I gave this seat a shot,” Karanja said.
The Nakuru County senatorial seat is currently held by Senator Susan Kihika, a Kenyan lawyer and politician who was the first female speaker of the Nakuru County Assembly before her election to the senate in 2017.
Noting how harsh laws and unfair business practices have chased investors out of the Kenyan market, Karanja said she plans to introduce new laws to bolster economic growth and promote investments in the country.
“I have been at the centre of the unfair business practices and given a chance I would introduce laws that would protect investors and increase business opportunities,” she said.
Keroche Breweries is a Kenyan brewer and alcoholic beverages manufacturer founded by Karanja and her husband Joseph in 1997 as a fortified winemaker.
The company is the second-largest alcoholic beverage producer in Kenya and a major competitor of the British-controlled EABL, holding a 29-percent share of Kenya’s alcoholic beverage market.
Since 2015, Karanja’s Keroche Breweries has had a long-running battle with the government over tax returns targeting one of its famous brands, Vienna Ice vodka.
In August 2019, Karanja and her husband were arrested for tax evasion to the tune of Ksh14 billion ($126.18 million). They were accused of “mis-declaring” tax and VAT between 2015 and 2019. They were released on a Ksh12-million ($108,156) bail.