The bold move by Nakuru Town West MP Samuel Arama, who is seeking to have the brewing, sale and consumption of traditional brew busaa legalised has always had a life full of drama.
Those who are surprised by his latest move, could easily dismiss him as an MP without an agenda. The move has attracted praise and criticism on social media platforms.
But Mr Arama is unperturbed. He invited Nakuru residents to his home in London estate to drum up support for legalisation of busaa. And to drive his point home, guests were served with busaa.
The lawmaker has written to the Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi expressing his intention to move a motion seeking to amend the Alcoholic Drinks and Control Act No 4 of 2010 to legalise busaa.
The legislator argued that busaa does not contain a high levels of ethanol and does not risk lives of consumers.
Mr Arama claimed that busaa is still being consumed as local administration and police officers collect protection fees from sellers and brewers.
From 2013 when he was elected as an Orange Democratic Movement MP, he has always spoken his mind at times scolded his constituents and fellow politicians when they step on his toes.
“I am not a yes person. When you offend me, I will tell you on your face whether you are my friend. I will fight until I get what I believe is mine or what belongs to the people of Nakuru West,” he said.
But Mr Arama still gets along with people. Chairman of Nakuru Street Traders and Hawkers Association, Simon Sangale describes him as a “nice person”
“He relates well with everybody unlike other politicians. He will stop his vehicle and have a roadside chit chat with mama mbogas and hawkers,” Mr Sangale said.
Mr Arama and his Bahati counterpart Kimani Ngunjiri regularly host residents in their homes.
Mr Arama is always active on social media where he engages with his constituents. He sometimes engages in war of words with residents, hitting them below the belt.
But when cornered, the legislator is quick to apologise and this makes the engagement in the social media lively.
“Mr Arama hardly stays offline. If he is not dropping funny videos, he is making his controversial statements,” said Nakuru County Jubilee Secretary –General Peter Cheruiyot who is also the administrator of the Cross Fire WhatsApp group.
His tenure as MP is full of drama and controversy. Although Mr Arama is not vocal in the National Assembly debates, he does not sit and watch injustice being meted on his people.
When he believes he is right, nothing would stop him from achieving his goal. In the past, he has stormed police stations to find out why boda boda riders have been arrested and secure their release.
But Mr Arama has also found himself on the wrong side of the law. Last year, he was arrested over an alleged involvement in land fraud.
In June this year, he denied claims that he drew a gun during a heated argument with a former parliamentary aspirant Hezron Okiki at a fundraiser at Angaza Seventh Day Adventist Church.
He has also been accused of skewed bursary distribution an accusation he vehemently denies.
“It would be a terrible mistake if I favour my Kisii community. Nakuru West is not Kisii land, it has all communities,” Mr Arama said.
“My bursary kitty, it attracts needy students from neighbouring constituencies like Nakuru East, helping one or two desperate cases is not a crime,” he said.
Mr Arama’s closeness to Jubilee Administration has seen him earn goodies from President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“Mr Kenyatta is a good leader and I respect him, I have learnt a lot from his leadership skills,” Mr Arama said.
He is the only MP in Nakuru County who is not aligned to Tangatanga team that is supporting Deputy President William Ruto’s bid for 2022 presidency.
When President Kenyatta visited Nakuru County Assembly, he told Mr Arama to organise the county leadership to visit him at State House in Nairobi.
“I will work with President Kenyatta and defend his administration,” he said.
But in a controversial statement, Mr Arama said a Kisii is capable of succeeding President Kenyatta.
“The Kenyan presidency should not be a preserve of the dominant communities, Kisii community is also ripe to lead this country,” he said.
“We have the likes of Dr Fred Matiang’i (Interior Cabinet Secretary) who has shown that he has qualities to be the next president of Kenya and I will push my community to have him on the ballot box,” said Mr Arama in January after issuing more than Sh4.1million bursary cheques to needy students from his constituency.
He has criticised tribal voting patterns and unfair distribution of resources in Nakuru County.
“If today I declare my interest to vie for Nakuru governor’s seat, there will be a lot of noise and I will be branded an outsider,” said Mr Arama.
He vied for the Nakuru West parliamentary seat on an ODM ticket in 2013 and won after beating a Jubilee candidate. In 2017, he ditched the Orange party and retained the seat on a Jubilee ticket.
Mr Arama has fought accusations by his critics that his Bill is intended to make young people become zombies.
“The Bill has everything to do with creating employment and offering Kenyans a cheap local beverage. Many people are unable to buy beer,” he said.
Nakuru West is home to two of the biggest slums in Nakuru Town- Kaptembwa and Kwa Rhonda where chang’aa and busaa are sold freely.