September 19, 2019

God’s doing: From a tout in the 90’s to millionaire Cabinet Secretary- Mwangi Kiunjuri’s changing fortunes

By Pharis Kinyua: Jamhuri News

Devolution Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri is indisputably a high ranking government figure with his net worth standing at sh798 million according to a wealth declaration form he signed upon being appointed as CS in 2015.

His assets mainly landholdings in Nanyuki, Nairobi and Sagana are valued at sh798 million.

But today’s wealthy Kiunjuri has a humble background which he says he is proud of.

After completing his form six (A-Level) in the late 1980s, the 48-year old was hired as a teacher by an Indian where he was to earn sh35 a day.

He did not do this for long and he decided to join his peers who were touts in Nanyuki town where they would earn between sh100-200 in a day.

“When I completed form 6, I was offered a job as a teacher at a school owned by Patel in Nanyuki. I was earning sh35 a day. But my friends whom I was living with were earning better; they were earning sh100-sh200 a day doing hiyo kazi ya tout Kidogo,” he says.

He did this for one year before joining Moi University in 1990 for a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and graduated in 1994.

In his four-year course, he would occasionally return home and get back to the touting business which he is proud of to date.

“I was tout; that I don’t deny throughout my university. I am very proud of it,” he remarks happily.

He, however, developed a soft spot for politics during his campus days at a tender age of 19 years.

He went against the political tide at the time and joined the Democratic Party (DP) which was rivaling retired President Daniel Moi’s KANU.

Later, he joined Safina Party under the youth wing together with Mukurwe-ini MP Kabando wa Kabando and Wafula Buke and became the party’s activist.

A few years later, he felt the need to expand his political wings and he successfully vied for Laikipia East seat in 2002 where he served for three terms until 2013.

During his stint as MP, he was appointed as an assistant minister in the ministries of Water and Irrigation and also that of Energy.

He lost bid to become Laikipia Governor and was out in the “cold” for two years.

But in his two years of self-searching, Kiunjuri developed a liking among Mt Kenya voters due to his good mastery of Kikuyu proverbs and riddles which hilariously sensitize and caution the Mt Kenya community on matters politics.

Fast forward to today, he has been at the center of controversy. He has been accused of engaging in politics which is not allowed by the constitution since he is a cabinet secretary.

But he defends himself saying he does not in any way engage in politics. In fact, he notes he is not a politician. but a leader.

“I am not a politician, I am a leader, ” says the CS adding that what he does is articulate Jubilee issues which are misrepresented to mean he is campaigning for Jubilee.

He has also cleared the air on rumors that he is positioning himself to deputize William Ruto in 2022.

He says that is just a rumor but it makes him happy to have people thinking he has such political prowess to hold the seat come 2022.

In the meantime, he adds, he will not be going for any elective seat since President Uhuru Kenyatta asked him not to leave the cabinet for Laikipia governorship.

But in 2022, he will be in active politics. He does not say if or not he will be running for the second most powerful seat in the country but all indications point to such contingency.