Little known 32-year-old Peter Salasya floors Washiali preferred successor

Peter Salsya.

Mumias East MP-elect Peter Salasya (centre) is all smiles as he displays his certificate at Shianda Polytechnic in Kakamega County August 11, 2022. On the right is Defense CS Eugene Wamalwa and Bumula MP-elect Jack Wamboka.  

Photo credit: Isaac Wale I Nation Media Group

When the National Assembly Majority Whip Benjamin Washiali decided that he would not defend his Mumias East parliamentary seat in the August 9 elections, he was clear that he wanted a seasoned politician to succeed him.

He, therefore, endorsed Dr Benson Mapwoni to succeed him. In the race was yet another familiar name: David Wamatsi of ANC who in 2013 was a running mate of Soita Shitanda for the Kakamega County gubernatorial race.

But they did not foresee the surprise that awaited them. In the Tuesday election, the two politicians were floored by a relatively unknown, less wealthy young man, Peter Salasya of DAP-Kenya.

He did not even have a house to start with and his supporters had to collect money to help put up a semi-permanent one before Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa stepped in and converted the structure into a permanent one.

Favourite candidate

The 32-year-old garnered 12,140 votes to win the Mumias East race while Mr Wamatsi of ANC came second with 9,043 votes and Mr Washiali’s favourite candidate, Dr Mapwoni only managed 5,118 votes.

“I can’t believe that I am now headed to Nairobi to represent the people of Mumias East as their next Member of Parliament. My opponents called me names and claimed I was a mad man because I was campaigning on foot for lack of a vehicle,” said Mr Salasya.

Born on January 15, 1989, Mr Salasya is the second last born child in a family of seven children.

He attended Shianderema Primary School up to 2005 when he sat for his Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) before joining Lubinu Boys High School. His father John Salasya died in 2007 when the now MP-elect was in Form Two.

“It was by the grace of God that I managed to complete school. Many times I was sent back home for school fees, sometimes staying home for many days as my mother moved around looking for money,” he recounted.

He joined Egerton University and graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor of Commerce degree. He also holds a Higher Diploma in Human Resource Management from Sigalagala National Polytechnic.

After university, Mr Salasya worked as the operational officer at Diamond Trust Bank up to 2017 when he ventured into politics.

During the 2017 General Election campaigns, Mr Salasya campaigned on a handcart pushed around by his supporters.

He came up in the third position after Mr Washiali and Mr Wamatsi who was in the second position.

In the campaigns for this year’s elections, Mr Salasya got a surprise of his life when his supporters collected money and constructed a semi-permanent house for him.

Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa also came to his aide after Mr Salasya defected from ODM to DAP-Kenya. The CS offered him a vehicle to help him with his campaigns.

He changed the house that was being constructed by the villagers into a permanent one, changing the life of a man who had been spending his nights in friends’ houses and moving on foot.

“When I met Mr Salasya for the first time, I was not sure that he was serious. People were calling him names and he looked like he did not have any future. But he has disapproved of my fears and is now the new MP for Mumias East,” said Mr Wamalwa when he accompanied Mr Salasya to collect his winner’s certificate from the Mumias East tallying centre at Shianda Youth Polytechnic.

Door to door campaign

To make up for his lack of cash, Mr Salasya had opted for a door-to-door campaign and according to reports, he knocked on the doors of almost every household in his Mumias East constituency requesting votes.

He promised to work hard to transform the lives of the people in his community.

“Some of his rivals who lost at the ballot, conceded defeat promising to support him for the good of the people of Mumias East.

Mr Lucas Radoli who carried the ODM flag in the constituency was the first to concede defeat followed by Mr Mapwoni.