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Trader spends Sh12m in Uhuru Kenyatta’s power bid

Businessman Ephantus Thuku during Jubilee campaigns before the August 8 General Election. [Allan Mungai Ngige, Standard]

A Nyeri businessman who spent more than Sh12.8 million to campaign for re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto is happy that his efforts paid off.

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Ephantus Thuku commonly referred to as Adonai has no regrets for committing his fleet of matatus and state-of-the art vehicle to ensure Jubilee retains power.

Mr Thuku says he can now rest easy and focus on business. He ran a well-oiled campaign dubbed Team Adonai na Uhuruto caravan.

Thuku was instrumental in spearheading campaigns for voter turnout in Nyeri.

“98 per cent voter turnout was my mantra, I am glad that Nyeri voters were turned out in such an overwhelming manner,” he said.

Intervention

Since January, Thuku has held rallies across the county including in Makueni, Samburu, Kisii, Laikipia and even Kisumu and Kibera where he called for peace and drummed up support for Jubilee.

However, it was not all smooth for the businessman and his nine-member team, at one point he ran out of money and contemplated selling one of the matatus. Thuku was determined to finance the campaigns and even rejected an offer of Sh120,000 per day from a Nyeri politician to popularise his bid.

Today, he is content that the huge sacrifice was not in vain following the declaration of Kenyatta as winner of the presidential election. But that win is now being challenged at the Supreme Court by ODM presidential candidate Raila Odinga.

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“My motivation was to ensure Kenyatta was elected and the country held together after August 8. The petition is a small setback that we will overcome,” Thuku said.

It might be difficult to wrap your head around the enormous sacrifice that Thuku made, having never met the Jubilee leaders. “Sh12.8 million is just what I can defend with receipts and statements but the actual figure rises to Sh18 million,” he added.

A chunk of the funds went towards fuelling the five matatus and a Toyota Land cruiser V6 that were used to traverse the country during campaigns. A significant amount was used to pay the Team Adonai that was involved in the campaigns.

“I could give each one of them Sh1,000 because these are men and women with families and they expect to go back home with something,” he said.

Pastors too had their take home as they were part of the caravan.

The businessman also targeted voters aged above 70 through door-to-door campaigns in rural areas.

He places the number of new voters that he helped register at 4,000.

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“As team Adonai we can confidently say we ensured all the elderly voted in Nyeri. Some of these old people did not vote in 2013 because there was no one to ensure they got out to vote,” Thuku said.

Martha Wanjiru, 91, a resident of Huhoini in Tetu Constituency, had not voted in any election since 1987 but following the intervention of Thuku she exercised her democratic right on August 8.

Thuku also ensured John Mugo registered as a voter.

“I was unable to go to where the voters were being registered but they picked me, ensured I was registered and took me back home,” Mr Mugo said.

To celebrate Kenyatta’s victory, the businessman plans to mount the Kenyan flag on his vehicle and drive around Nyeri County “because it is Kenya that has won this election.”

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