Samuel Kinuthia defeats wealthy rivals to win MP seat

Thursday August 17 2017

Subukia in Nakuru County. Samuel Kinuthia Gachobe

Subukia in Nakuru County. Samuel Kinuthia Gachobe has won the parliamentary seat. FILE PHOTO | COURTESY 

By PETER MBURU
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The Subukia MP-elect used to hawk household items in Nyahururu, he told the Nation in a candid interview.

A younger Samuel Kinuthia Gachobe sold milk, having to walk two kilometres from home every morning before going to school.

“I hawked sufurias, plates and spoons. This moulded me into the enviable leader that I am,” Mr Gachobe said.

BUSINESS
The soft-spoken MP-elect recalled: “I started hawking in Nyahururu Town in 1995 with capital of Sh3,000.”

He would walk around shouting and selling ‘mali mali’, nurturing the much-underrated enterprise into a formidable business in two years.

He opened a shop in 1997 and his business flourished in Nyandarua and Nakuru counties.

EDUCATION
In 2000, he joined Kenya Institute of Management (KIM).

He then enrolled for a leadership and management diploma at St Paul’s University and later a degree in the same course, graduating in 2015.

“I took a long time to study because I was in business and I also had more responsibilities,” Mr Gachobe said.

Formerly known as Nakuru North, the storied Subukia was at some point represented by veteran politicians such as Kihika Kimani and the radical Koigi wa Wamwere.

SECOND TERM
It has had 11 MPs since 1966 and undergone five by-elections since 1979, with MPs dying in office in two cases.

In perhaps a unique case in Kenyan politics, a sitting MP, Mr Francis Koima arap Kimosop, committed suicide in 1983.

The constituency is also known for electing MPs for only one term, with only two re-elected since 1974.

The MP-elect, whose first stab at the seat in 2013 flopped, ousted Mr Nelson Gaichuhie, who lost in the Jubilee Party primaries in April after serving for two terms.

CAMPAIGNS
Mr Gachobe garnered 27,123 votes, trouncing two wealthy opponents whose moneyed campaigns almost demoralised him as he would confess.

He knows all too well that it is a good track record that will earn him re-election in 2022.

“I did some very good ground work after Mr Gaichuhie defeated me hands down in the 2013 TNA party primaries,” Mr Gachobe said.

PRIORITIES

Core to his plans is inviting experts to test the constituency’s soil — which he says could be infertile after a long time of tilling — to improve farming as agriculture is the residents’ economic mainstay.

Developing tertiary institutions is also key as Subukia does not have a proper college.

Subukia constituency has three wards: Subukia, Waseges and Kabazi.

Of its 51,582 registered voters, 84 per cent turned out to vote at 130 polling stations this year.