A new political wave is sweeping through Nakuru County as youthful hopefuls from the region position themselves ahead of the 2022 elections.
A new crop of young politicians has entered the fray in what might change the region’s political landscape.
For a long time now, the political scene in Nakuru has been mainly dominated by older, veteran politicians aged 50 years and above.
But some youngsters are now determined to claim a stake in the politics of the region, regarded as the country’s political hotbed.
One such budding politician, is Molo MP Kuria Kimani, who, in an interview with the Nation said that the region is headed for a new political wave.
In 2017, when he contested the Molo parliamentary seat on a Jubilee Party ticket aged 28, his critics wrote him off as a non-starter and a political greenhorn.
However, Mr Kimani, popularly known as KK by his constituents, proved his critics wrong when he won the hearts of thousands of voters who overwhelmingly voted him, successfully ousting the incumbent MP Jacob Macharia, a seasoned politician.
Now Mr Kimani has cut himself an image of a go-getter and a no nonsense politician certain of political survival.
And in parliament, he is an equally vocal and an eloquent debater.
A recent survey that focused on the period between September 2017 and December 2018 ranked him among the top ten vocal youthful parliamentarians.
In an interview with the Nation, Mr Kimani revealed that time for the youth to rise up and take elective political positions is ripe.
“The youth need not be afraid in seeking political office. We have a powerful potential amongst ourselves and we are ready to take up the region by storm. The electorate has expressed willingness to go beyond age and tribal lines in electing a leader who will serve them exceptionally,” said Mr Kimani.
‘’I am currently focused in serving Molo Constituency but I am still ready to serve in a higher position including that of Nakuru governor or Senator,” he added.
Other budding and outspoken politicians said to be eyeing various top positions in the region include Lake View Ward MCA Peter Karanja Mburu, nominated MP Gideon Keter, nominated Senator Victor Prengei and youthful Kanu politician Joseph Kimani Njuguna Kimani alias Kimani Wa Kimani.
The Nation has established that Mr Mburu and Mr Keter, who have been making political inroads in the county, are both eyeing the Nakuru senatorial seat, currently held by Ms Susan Wakarura Kihika.
Ms Kihika is said to be salivating for the Nakuru gubernatorial seat, currently held by Governor Lee Kinyanjui.
In an interview with the Nation, Mr Karanja said that he is ready to serve the electorate in a higher political seat.
“We are ready and prepared to change the region’s political landscape. Those who came ahead of us have done their part. It is our turn and we are ready to serve. I am considering vying for the Nakuru senatorial seat in 2022,” he told the Nation.
The Lake View MCA, who in the 2017 general election trounced Mr Simon Wanyoike Wanango – a seasoned politician – has earned himself the tag of the most vocal ward representative in the current Nakuru County Assembly.
Mr Mburu has earned the respect of Nakuru residents due to the many Bills and motions he has tabled at the county assembly and his agitation for development in the county.
Among Bills he has sponsored include one aimed at establishing a disaster management fund.
He also tabled a motion to open Lake Naivasha corridors and a Bill that paved the way for the digitisation of building plans in Nakuru County.
Through a motion he sponsored, the less privileged in Nakuru County will soon enjoy free National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) medical cover.
In the motion that has already been adopted by the county assembly, the county government will be compelled to start identifying the beneficiaries at the ward level.
“MCAs are always called upon to raise funds to offset hospital bills for the poor. The county government should set aside funds to provide free medical cover through NHIF for poor residents,” said Mr Mburu.
He is also a fierce critic of Governor Kinyanjui’s administration and style of leadership.
Nominated MP Keter, who was born in Kitale (Kimilili Constituency) and raised in Nakuru County (Kuresoi South Constituency), is also flexing his muscles to succeed Senator Kihika in 2022.
The youthful lawmaker, who was nominated by the Jubilee Party to represent the youth, says young people should not relent in their quest to change the region’s political landscape.
“Our people are tired of the leadership that had been there for decades, thanks to the empty promises they kept being fed. It is time for a political whirlwind which l am sure will sweep through the entire county,” added Mr Keter.
On the other hand, Kimani Wa Kimani, who served as a youth political advisor to former Governor Kinuthia Mbugua, has also shown interest in elective politics.
“I am aware of the problems bedevilling our people, mainly corruption and blatant pilferage of taxpayers’ money, abuse of office, nepotism among others. I am ready to tackle the problems afflicting the society,” he told the Nation.
In the 2017 general election, the youthful politician unsuccessfully contested for the London Ward seat.
“For long the youth have been side-lined, making them gullible to the machinations of politicians. It is now our time,” he added.
Other young people who have shown interest in various political seats in the county include Ms Anne Njeri Karigu who is in her late 20s, popularly known as Karigu Keru.
In 2017, she vied for the Nakuru woman rep’s seat but lost to Liza Chelule in the Jubilee Party primaries.
Ms Karigu became popular among the youth who admired her beauty and brains.
Mr Jesse Karanja, a political analyst, says social media has greatly influenced the youth’s interest in politics.
But he believes there is need for the older crop of leaders to give room to younger politicians, a view Jubilee Party Secretary-General Peter Cheruiyot shares.
“Young turks should not be underrated in the 2022 general election. Their wave could sweep through the entire county and they may end up taking many top political positions,” says Mr Karanja.