Third Eye

Jimi Wanjigi and ODM factor in Mt Kenya

Monday, August 16th, 2021 00:00 |
Business tycoon Jimi Wanjigi. Photo/PD/file

Over the weekend, I had an insightful trip to Murang’a and Karatina. Well, as a young man from Suna East in Migori County;  I got to learn that my experiences as a struggling Kenyan,  are the same as my  brothers from the mountain. 

I learnt that most of us have access to the basics that we need and that an enabling environment and how we seize the opportunities, makes the difference. 

One young man caught my attention because he looked indifferent and so I sought his indulgence.

He struck me as someone who had it all figured out, but as I later learnt, he had just made the most of the opportunities.

I learnt that he is lecturer and he has a horticultural farm in Murang’a that has employed 17 young men and women in the county. 

He supplies mboga to small-scale traders in Murang’a town and its environs. I later learnt that the cab guy, who had ferried me to this beautiful village in Murang’a was his employee. 

As fate would have it, when I hailed a cab from Nairobi, I stumbled on this man who had put Murang’a as his destination and it turned out that I was headed to a function that his boss was also attending. What an eye opening trip? 

During the journey, he told me about his family in Murang’a and how he works Monday to Friday in Nairobi and then does an early Saturday morning to Murang’a to be with his family and supervise harvest at his boss’s farm on Saturday.  

But I will save the story about his boss for another day because I could not help but indulge this ‘new friend’ on matters politics. 

Surprisingly, when he learnt that I am from Migori, we ended up talking about ODM, Raila Odinga, Jimi Wanjigi and how he has witnessed serious development in the last four years. Not only in his native Murang’a, but the larger Mount Kenya region.

I asked him why he would talk about the entire region yet he probably, was only familiar with the road network between Murang’a and Nairobi.

He told me that his boss, who I later met at the function, has farms all over the region and they traverse the area with ease, as they bring vegetables and fruits from their farms to the many mama mbogas in Murang’a and Nairobi. 

Back to 2022 politics, he refused to talk about Raila but instead went on and on about Wanjigi. Well, I thought it was the same old story of Raila in Mount Kenya, but I was wrong.

The man was laying the ground for assertions he later made with convictions that got me surprised. 

He painted a picture of a new consciousness in the region, arguing that since Wanjigi declared his interest in the presidency on an ODM ticket, caucuses have emerged to support his candidature. 

By design or default, ODM and Raila’s network have emerged in a region that Baba found to be elusive.

I had never looked at Wanjigi’s entry to the 2022 race that way and my curiosity led me to a deep dive of the scenario.

Most pundits will tell you that it is impossible to emerge from nowhere and contest the highest seat in the country.

But my deep dive tells me that political clout is amassed when there is a crisis and Wanjigi has built it by showing up during crises when the masses needed bold leaders. 

He endeared himself to ODM supporters and many Kenyans when he braved the wrath of the establishment and stood up against a Jubilee victory, that was perceived by Nasa supporters as illegitimate. 

He was on the streets, faced harassment and was at the airport in solidarity with the self-proclaimed revolution general; Miguna Miguna.

These are the hallmarks of entrenching one as a force in the political domain. 

Crises help build political brands that resonate with the people and in the current dispensation, Wanjigi is probably ahead of Nasa principals, who disappeared on Baba when it mattered most.

Where this puts him in the grand scale of succession is still not clear, but he’s certainly one Mount Kenya candidate to watch and the networks he will create for ODM, will be invaluable in the General Election.[email protected]

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