Fourth time lucky: Is Isaac Mwaura a political tactician or just fortunate?
By landing a Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) nomination in the Kenya Kwanza administration, former nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura might well be Kenya’s luckiest politician of the past decade.
He has not been elected to any post since he became a nominated MP in 2013 – and it’s not for lack of trying – but he has managed to be on a government payroll in virtually every year since then, except the stretch between May 2021 when he was booted from the Senate to March 2023 when he lines up to join the Executive as a CAS in the Office of the Prime Cabinet Secretary.
In fact, he has been on the government payroll since 2010 when he was picked as an advisor to the then Prime Minister Raila Odinga. Then, he was a member of the Mr Odinga-led Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).
After the March 2013 General Election, ODM nominated him to be a Member of Parliament to represent special interest groups.
In Parliament, he got close to the then president, Uhuru Kenyatta, whose Jubilee Party was not seeing eye-to-eye with Mr Odinga’s Coalition for Reforms and Democracy.
So close did he grow with Mr Kenyatta that he was welcomed to State House after his June 2015 wedding alongside his wife, Nelius Mukami— a political science graduate of the University of Nairobi.
Mr Odinga also attended the wedding at Citam, Thika Road.
Mr Mwaura would later ditch Mr Odinga for Mr Kenyatta, joining Jubilee Party in the run-up to the August 2017 General Election.
Left him injured
He wanted to become the Ruiru MP. He lost in the April 2017 nominations that were marred by drama that left him injured.
But the Jubilee Party would give him a key role in the campaigns and later nominated him to the Senate.
He was a nominated senator from 2017 to 2021 when he was sacrificed for aligning with the then deputy president William Ruto –who had fallen out with the party leader, Mr Kenyatta—and describing Jubilee as a dead party.
He renewed his effort to be Ruiru MP ahead of the August 2022 General Election but he equally did not go past the United Democratic Alliance’s nomination stage four months earlier.
He looked destined for the political cold. He unsuccessfully applied to hold various government roles including a role in the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) and principal secretary.
But lady luck seems to have smiled at “Muthungu wa Ruiru” as he was on the list of 50 nominated CASs announced on Thursday.
With a bachelor’s degree in special education and two master’s degrees – one in development studies and another in social and public policy– Mr Mwaura looks like a master in knowing how the cookie will crumble after elections. Or is he the ultimate survivor?
Whatever the case, what stands between him and the dream job is vetting by parliament.
“By the end of the day these things you do not do them because of anybody, you do them because of your own personal survival,” Mr Mwaura told Nation in a 2021 interview.