In Summary

  • Mr Mwirigi had no money to his name and so he wasn’t a threat to them.
  • I also suspect that there are those that out rightly laughed at him when he asked them for their vote.
  • They probably told him that he was wasting his time and energy, that there was no way he could possibly beat the experienced politicians he was competing with.

The highlight, for me, in this election, was the surprise win of John Paul Mwirigi, the 23-year-old who is set to become the next Igembe South MP - Mr Mwirigi is a university student at Mt Kenya University, where is studying education.

He beat at least four seasoned, (and much older) politicians, who I imagine were flush with money and other goodies to woo voters with during their sophisticated campaigns.

As his contestants zoomed around Igembe South with a convoy of fuel guzzlers branded with their faces, Mr Mwirigi sold his agenda on foot, moving from homestead to homestead, explaining to those that opened the door why he had chosen to confront the goliaths face-to-face, and what he would do for them should they elect him.

I suspect that his opponents did not lose sleep over him, confident that he was no threat; after all, from years of experience, Kenyans in mashinani, (rural areas) tend to vote for the one that comes with the biggest money bag.

Mr Mwirigi had no money to his name and so he wasn’t a threat to them.

 I also suspect that there are those that out rightly laughed at him when he asked them for their vote.

They probably told him that he was wasting his time and energy, that there was no way he could possibly beat the experienced politicians he was competing with.

And what did a 23-year-old know anyway? More importantly, what was he giving them? Who faces the electorate empty-handed?

There was also the fact that he was an independent candidate while his rivals were competing under the umbrella of some of the country’s mega parties. Only a fool would compete with this, right?

Come August 8 however, this young man was right at the top of the hill with 18, 867 votes against the 15,411 votes that his closest contestant garnered.

BELEIVED HE HAD WHAT IT TOOK

Obviously, majority of the residents of Igembe South believed that he had what it took to take them where they wanted to go.

Those interviewed by the media following Mwirigi’s win explained that they had decided to give him their vote because they were confident that he knew their problems, (he comes from a humble background) and that he would address them. What a refreshing reasoning.

It did not matter to them that he wasn’t popular or that he did not have handouts to offer them, or that he was young and inexperienced; what stood out for them, what won him over, was that he had tasted the problems they grapple with on a daily basis and that from keenly listening to him, they had come to the conclusion that he was the right man for the job. If this were the criteria we used to elect our politicians to office, we would be a very prosperous nation.

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