People usually quit their jobs as soon as they are elected to political office, but for one Nakuru County Assembly member, washing toilets remains his cherished work.
Flamingo Ward Representative Moses Gichangi, a politics first-timer, arrives at his workplace of choice on Gusii Road in Nakuru at 6am every day, and — oblivious of his new status — goes about cleaning the toilet before settling outside to spruce up his clients’ shoes.
His way of life has left his friends and foes puzzled, especially the people he serves, as many earn much less than he does.
“Why would a member of the County Assembly continue washing toilets and handing tissue paper to customers when his MCA salary enables him to lead a comfortable life?” says Mr Peterson Ruchu as his shoes are cleaned by the politician.
ROLE MODEL TO YOUTHS
But Mr Gichangi asserts that his love for cleaning shoes and toilets is in line with his vision to be a role model to the youth.
“I am a good role model to my fellow youth who quit the jobs that brought them riches once they get money, only to fall from grace to grass like a pack of cards,” says Mr Gichangi, a holder of a Bachelors degree in Business Administration from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.
He has worked as a toilet attendant for the last six years, during which he has been encouraging young people not to choose jobs based on their education or salary.
The toilet business started off as an environmental project for the youths but has ended up creating jobs for many.
“Before I was elected to the County Assembly, I had managed to recruit a group of 10 youths who came together and formed an environmental lobby group. We not only clean toilets but also hold clean-ups in the estates,” he says.
Mr John Mwangi, a long time client of the politician, says he is lucky to be served by a mheshimiwa, “which is a rare privilege only recorded in the Bible”.
“Gichangi is a long time friend and nothing much about and around him has changed. He does his job and attends to all of us like he always did before,” he says.
Like in any other business, there are a number of challenges the politician-cum-businessman faces, with some customers being arrogant and disrespectful.
Drunkards, for example, vomit on the floor of the public toilet while other clients deliberately misuse the facility.
Mr Gichangi says discipline has enabled him and his co-workers to handle any type of client though. The same virtue came in handy during political campaigns in March, where Mr Gichangi did not bother hitting back at his rivals, some of whom labelled him a toilet cleaner.
The politician says his dream is to change the attitude of many youths who believe only white collar jobs pay. In his ward, he has started a major drive to urge youths to save money in self-help groups to start businesses.
His campaign has been received well by the locals, and some of his colleagues have borrowed a leaf from him.
Mr Gichangi urges young people to take advantage of the easy terms and conditions for starting a business, where title deeds, log books and share certificates are no longer required while applying for government loans.
At the toilet, they work in shifts and Mr Gichangi prefers the morning one because, at this time, the assembly is usually not in session.
At the House, he is the chairman of young people in politics, and he has been encouraging youths and women to take up leadership roles. Being new in politics, the lawmaker carries along several documents and goes through them before entering the House.