Like Martin Luther King, a young politician in Othaya has a dream; a vision of representing the Othaya people in the National Assembly. His campaign caravan consists of a wheelbarrow, with a mounted loud speaker, a battery, amplifier and one microphone. The wheelbarrow is painted with his posters all over and the battery covered with cartons to shield it from rain or harsh climate.
He is vying for the Othaya parliamentary seat competing with high-class politicians Gichuki Mugambi of the Jubilee party and Wambugu Wainaina, an independent candidate and DP candidate Peter King’ara. Joseph Minjire Gaku, 22 years old is confident he will clinch the seat currently occupied by Mary Wambui on an Agano Party ticket having been cleared by IEBC to vie for the position.
If he succeeds, he will enter history books as a politician who has shared the same seat with ex-President Mwai Kibaki whose track record is still evident up to date. He says he decided to campaign using a wheelbarrow since its services are required by the rich and poor as well and he will serve people from all walks of life and also, that is all what he can afford.
He states that his friend lent him the wheelbarrow and he pays for it on daily basis though he didn’t disclose the exact amount he coughs up. He says that he is not intimidated by his rivals who are campaigning using luxury vehicles and dishing out money to woo the voters. “I am not intimidated by the big spenders and fuel guzzlers, my fate lies with the Othaya people,” he explained.
The Water Engineer student at the Kenya Water Institute says that he meets over 300 people in his daily routine of traversing the four wards in Othaya, Chinga, Iria-ini, Karima and Mahiga hunting for votes.
Unlike other politicians who have huge budgets, Minjire says his budget is only Sh50,000, an amount he believes will help him trounce Gichuki Mugambi, lawyer Peter King’ara and Wainaina who is popularly known for his deep pockets. “As they say, politics is absolutely a dirty game and all you have to do is play with numbers,” he states.
His strategy is to interact with the people directly and solve their problems saying that he understand the issues affecting people on the ground since he spends most of the time with the area residents. In the Jubilee party primaries, another candidate Simon Muturi Muthee who is eyeing the Gatitu Muruguru ward was campaigning using a bicycle and he trounced other candidates to clinch the party ticket.
“No matter where you come from, your dreams are valid,” he recalls Hollywood star Lupita Nyong’o saying after winning an Oscar award.
This article was first published on Capital News.