The youthful MP-elect for Igembe South has promised to keep his ear to the ground to ensure that he makes the right decisions that impact on the lives of his people.
In an exclusive interview with The Standard in Maua town, John Paul Mwirigi, 23, said his priority will be to improve the life of ordinary mwananchi by ensuring there are better health facilities, roads, education, and infrastructure and building more markets in the banana-rich constituency.
But although he knows the direction he would like to steer the constituency, Mwirigi urged residents to ‘freely’ give him ideas on how to transform the area.
“l want to serve as the leader for Igembe South for a long time so this will force me to deliver so that l still enjoy the leadership crown. I will involve the people at the grassroots in my leadership, l will meet them and get their ideas on what their priorities are before initiating any development projects,” he explained.
Deplorable and pathetic
Mwirigi replaces Mithika Linturi, whom he claims did not deliver to the satisfaction of the people during the two terms he was at the helm. Mr Linturi is now the Meru senator-elect after he beat city lawyer Mugambi Imanyara.
“Despite having a representative in Athiru Gaiti ward, roads are in a deplorable and pathetic state and that is why l need to bring change and help the people. l will be very available to listen to the constituents and ready to accept their ideas,” Mwirigi added.
The youthful MP-elect’s journey to the top was difficult. He campaigned mostly on foot and at times used a borrowed bicycle or boda boda to transverse the vast constituency.
He says his bid was complicated further by wealthy politicians who worked hard to ensure that no one gave him an ear or a chance to express his policies.
“On August 2, l asked God to protect me from the many forces that were against me. l had no money and l asked God to offer security to my votes,” he said.
He claimed that senior Meru politicians funded his opponents’ campaigns to ensure he did not get the seat.
“Wealthy politicians knew that l was full of ideas to transform the constituency which has lagged behind because of poor leadership, so l was not wanted. They were even buying votes in my strongholds but l thank the people for being focused,” he said.
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Mwirigi, who will no doubt be the youngest legislator in the august House, describes himself as a young hustler who has put himself in the shoes of ordinary mwananchi and is ready to work for his constituents regardless of their political stand and ideology.
He even promises to bring on board the ‘wealthy politicians’ whom he says were determined to see his downfall.
“To be defeated does not mean you be enemies. l am ready to work with my competitors who lost,” said the soft-spoken man who was born in January 1994.
Mwirigi, a Bachelor of Education student at Mount Kenya University, vied as an independent candidate and bagged 19,947 votes.
He was competing against Jubilee candidate Rufus Miriti, Mzalendo Mwenda (PNU), Mutuma Kubai (Maendeleo Chap Chap), and former Meru Deputy Governor Raphael Muringi.
Mwirigi says he sleeps in a granary and works as a casual labourer at Athi tea factory, where he earns Sh350 a day. Motorbike owners sometimes hire him to ferry clients around Maua town.