A Kenyan of Asian origin has made history by becoming the first MP to be elected by the Kalenjin community.
Dr Swarup Mishra, the owner of Mediheal Group of Hospitals, won the Kesses parliamentary seat in Uasin Gishu County, beating his rivals overwhelmingly in the only race that was won by a non-local in the whole of North Rift.
In the Jubilee nomination in April, Dr Mishra easily swept aside his challengers including the then incumbent, Mr James Bett.
In last week’s General Election, Dr Mishra who branded himself as an adopted child of the Nandi community, ran away with the seat in a landslide victory that left his opponents licking their wounds.
He garnered 45,089 votes, with his closest challenger Mr Cornelius Kogo of Kanu, coming a distant second with a paltry 2,789 votes.
But how did Dr Mishra manage to convince members of the Kalenjin community who are known for being conservative and mostly prefer their own to lead?
“My principle has always been to serve the common man. I also listen to their needs especially in my clinic which they have come to appreciate,” Dr Mishra told the Nation in an earlier interview.
But his popularity did not happen overnight. He has been generously contributing to community projects and waiving huge medical bills for patients admitted to his hospital.
The outspoken obstetric gynaecologist has declared that he will direct his salary to a special fund to cater for the residents’ needs.
“My salary will go to the constituency kit to help poor people in my constituency,” he told the Nation.
Kesses Constituency residents have baptised him Kiprop arap Chelule so as to fit into the Kalenjin nation that praises him for being a generous man.
Mr Joe Kirwa, a resident of Kesses said that Dr Mishra has supported many development projects, which have improved the lives of the locals.
“Dr Mishra has helped many poor residents in this area. We voted for him not as an Asian but someone who has interest of people at heart,” Mr Kirwa said.
He had promised to donate a dairy cow to every household in Kesses as a token of appreciation.
“I am going to donate a dairy cow for each house hold in the constituency should they elect me as their next MP,” Dr Mishra had said in July.
Residents are definitely eagerly waiting for the promise to come to pass.
Dr Mishra was born in Orissa, India, in 1965.
He moved to Kenya 18 years ago. His wife Palavi Mishra had just gotten a job as a gynaecologist in Eldoret.
The couple started investing in the medical sector and now have hospitals in Eldoret, Nakuru, and Kigali, Rwanda.
“We did not have any money when we came in Kenya. We had $500 approximately Sh30,000 by then.
“As we are talking now our total investment in terms of the number of hospitals and the services we offer is around $100 million, which is close to Sh10 billion,” Dr Mishra, who does not shy away from flaunting his vast wealth, said.
Today, he is fully assimilated into the Kenyan culture, in particular that of the Kalenjins.
“I am more Kalenjin than the Kalenjins. My name is Kiprop arap Chelule.
“Kiprop means born during the rain while Chelule means from outside, but now fully assimilated. My clan is Kap Chepkendi,” Dr Mishra, a fluent Kalenjin speaker told Nation in a recent interview.
Away from the medical sector, he engages in politics, which he terms a hobby.
“People say politics is bad but I think and believe that politics is not a bad game but a good profession. It can be a hobby. It can be like sports. It is like golf,” he said.
“I asked residents not see me on the basis of my colour and place of origin but what I can deliver to them in terms of development and leadership,” Dr Mishra said.
Dr Mishra promised to ensure that every homestead has piped water, good road network and good learning environment in public schools among other projects.