Agnes Nkanya had high hopes when she resigned from her Sh40,000 civil service job in pursuit of Sh144,375 monthly pay as a Member of the County Assembly for Magumoni ward in Tharaka Nithi in last year’s General Election.
Bold and full of hopes, she bid goodbye to her 10 years permanent and pensionable civil service job at the agriculture ministry that would have seen her in active employment till 2062 and placed her bet in a five-year term political office, which flopped.
Ms Nkanya, a 30-year-old single mother of one daughter, emerged at position three in the hot contest which attracted six contenders with her being the only female and youth.
Magumoni in Chuka/Igambang’ombe constituency is the most populated ward in Tharaka Nithi County with a total of 22,846 registered voters, six locations and 14 sub-locations.
It is the ward where Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki and Chuka/Igambang’ombe MP Patrick Munene come from.
Today, having spent all her resources in the campaigns leaving her financially deflated and with no clause to invoke to return to her civil service job, Ms Nkanya works in building sites and in the evening cleans cars at a nearby carwash until late in the evening to earn a living.
From her civil service pay of Sh40,000 per month to eyeing Sh144,375 as MCA, political fate drove her to now earn Sh500 - on a lucky day- at a construction site and carwash.
Ms Nkanya was one of the luckiest youths in the country having landed a casual job with the agriculture ministry at the age of 20 immediately after completing Form Four, which saw her pursue a degree course while at work.
Having found herself in a position she has never imagined, Ms Nkanya is now a frustrated lady but working hard to meet basic needs while hoping to go back to her decent life.
“I don’t regret resigning from civil service because my motivation was to help my people but I have never imagined I could find myself in this hard situation,” Ms Nkanya told the Nation when we visited a construction site in Ndagani in the outskirts of Chuka town on Tuesday where she has been working for the last three weeks.
Having no construction skills, Ms Nkanya does the manual work of digging the house foundation, carrying construction stones and mixing concrete.
Being not used to such hard work which is mainly reserved for masculine men, she is extremely exhausted by evening but has no choice as she has to return there the following morning.
She said it was not easy to come out boldly and look for such a job in an area where many people know her but the situation compelled her.
“Some people thought I was either joking or seeking sympathy after losing the elections but with time they realized that I was serious,” she said.
She said the other four competitors who lost in the polls had somewhere to fall back on because they had extra resources and some who are well connected got jobs elsewhere.
Ms Nkanya contested on the Devolution Party of Kenya (DPK) reportedly associated with Prof Kithure Kindiki, the Interior and Coordination Cabinet Secretary.
The DPK was under the Kenya Kwanza Alliance which won the presidency and formed government and Ms Nkanya was one of the industrious campaigners of President William Ruto.
She was part of the Youths for Ruto, a group of young people who went around the region, zealously mobilized youths in the region to vote for President Ruto and the Kenya Kwanza Alliance candidates.
However, with the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) being the dominant party in the county, Ms Nkanya would not be allowed to address the political rallies orgainsed by Kenya Kwanza Alliance and the chance would only be given to the UDA candidate.
When the poll results were out and she had lost, Ms Nkanya publicly conceded defeat and vowed to continue supporting President Ruto and the other Kenya Kwanza Alliance leaders who had won.
She now appeals to President Ruto, Governor Njuki and Prof Kindiki to give her some work to feed her family.
She is now appealing to Governor Njuki to consider reinstating or employing her afresh in the Ministry of Agriculture.
“I cannot pretend I am not suffering. I plead with the President, Prof Kindiki and Governor Njuki to help me please,” she said.
She also runs Agnes Nkanya Foundation which deals with gender issues that include fighting female genital mutilation, giving teenage girls from poor families sanitary towels and helping women and men who find themselves in gender-based violence.
However, she is currently not able to donate anything due to her financial situation but hopes that once she gets ‘better,’ she will continue with the charity work.
She pointed out that solving teenage girls' challenges were top on the list of her campaign manifesto and that she had not given up on the issues.
Besides paying school fees for her daughter, Ms Nkanya has sponsored four girls in secondary school through her foundation and they are also struggling.
Mr Moses Kamau, a site manager at the Ndagani construction site told the Nation that Ms Nkanya asked for the job like any other person and though he mainly hires men due to the nature of the work, he gave her the chance after she explained that she dearly needed it to feed her daughter.
He said Nkanya is among the most disciplined workers and that she arrives at the site early and though the work seems hard for her, she puts in a lot of effort.
“She never revealed to me that she contested in the last elections or she was a civil servant. I sympathise with her and because she is a very hardworking lady, I will retain her until she finds a better job,” said Mr Kamau.