Businessman Jimi Wanjigi Sunday became the latest politician to visit Nakuru County as part of efforts to woo the vote-rich Rift Valley region as the 2022 battle for the presidency intensifies.
The cosmopolitan Nakuru is part of Deputy President William Ruto’s political bastion and is a significant battle ground for politicians eyeing the top seat in the next election.
Mr Wanjigi, an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) presidential candidate, raided Nakuru on Sunday afternoon, hosted by County Assembly Speaker Joel Kairu. He held a closed-door meeting with Nakuru MCAs.
“My race for the presidency that is anchored on rebuilding an all-inclusive government, a resilient economy and ensuring peace and stability in the country. I know you won't disappoint me in 2022," he told the leaders at Hotel Kunste.
He assured he is ready to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta and pledged to keep the country united and steer development.
“I have what it takes to lead the country into the future. This time round, I will be active and will no longer play the role of a kingmaker,” the billionaire said.
Mr Wanjigi has in the past financed ODM leader Raila Odinga, President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto.
In the last two general elections, he was the man pulling the strings from behind the scenes in tricky negotiations on coalitions for candidates eyeing the presidency.
In the 2017 General Election, Mr Wanjigi was always beside presidential candidate Raila Odinga, and was the brains behind the management of his campaign, under the official title of resource mobiliser.
In the past two weeks, he has toured Thika and Baba Ndogo in Nairobi, where he met influencers including business and political leaders.
During his tour of Nakuru, Mr Wanjigi also held a consultative meeting with these influencers.
The Nation established that more than 17 Nakuru MCAs endorsed Mr Wanjigi’s presidential bid following the meeting.
The MCAs from different parties, among them Jubilee ODM, assured the politician of their support in the presidential race.
Led by Speaker Kairu, they vowed to advance his agenda of establishing an all-inclusive government uniting all communities.
The MCAs said their endorsement was based on the realisation that Mr Wanjigi is best-suited to fix the economy , with the public grappling with rising prices of essential commodities.
“Our endorsement is out of the realisation that our economy needs someone who understands how to do [revive it] and knows how to run a government. Wanjigi is the person our country needs,” said Speaker Kairu.
Before the endorsement, the MCAs presented a list of issues they want addressed by Mr Wanjigi once he becomes President.
Among them are high taxes and laws that have made importation of goods by SMEs difficult, the high unemployment rate and creation of small industries to spur a production economy.