Polycarp Igathe, Nairobi’s new master of politics of the absurd

 Electioneering periods in Kenya have over the years seen the country turned into a theatre of the absurd as politicians pull every available bizarre antics in a bid to endear themselves to the electorates.

Ainabkoi MP William Chepkut, lawyer and presidential candidate George Wajackoyah and ex-Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, just to mention but a few, have been some of the A-listers in the game.

However, Nairobi Azimio gubernatorial candidate Polycarp Igathe is fast catching up with the heavyweights in the game.

Nairobi County has seen its fair share of absurdities when it comes to leadership and when you think you had seen enough of Sonko, in comes Mr Igathe.

If Mr Igathe is not hanging on a lorry or touting, he is in a lorry full of oranges and cabbages somewhere in Marikiti market or riding on a donkey.

Just like Jesus made a triumphant entry to Jerusalem riding atop a donkey to show meekness and humility, the former Equity Group Holdings chief commercial officer on Thursday decided to patrol the capital city on a donkey-pulled cart selling water.

A once-occupier of swanky corner offices, Mr Igathe has turned into a clownish figure as he seeks to succeed Governor Ann Kananu as the fourth boss of the capital city.

If you have not had the chance to meet Embarambamba, a controversial musician and comedian, you would mistake the 49-year-old for him.

The corporate titan, used to being the centre of attention in his previous jobs, is now pulling absurd theatrics to gain favour with voters ahead of August 9.

For a man who has had luck constantly on his side and with a magic wand that kept propelling him from one job to another by being in the right place at the right time, he now has to sweat it out to get elected as governor.

After tossing himself in the ring for Nairobi’s top seat, Mr Igathe vowed never to hold rallies to woo city residents to vote for him, dismissing campaigns that involve rallies as nonsensical trivia of song and dance.

“My campaign is not about me, that's why you are not going to see my face on billboards staring down at you,” he said.

True to his word, the father of three has been on a door-to-door kind of campaign with the tagline, IgatheAkoGrao.

Mr Igathe has been eating chapatis at kibandaski, cleaning random motorists’ vehicles at petrol stations, or chilling with the youth selling eggs.

He has also been seen driving matatus, saying the journey to making Nairobi great again can only be travelled on a matatu.

But when he thinks that the incessant traffic snarl-up might jolt that journey, then you will find him riding a motorcycle.


And to the haters, he has this for you: “As a dedicated servant of the people, I will go to every corner, street, pavement, chochoro, market, church, mosque, estate and slum to meet the people, hear their grievances and wishes for a better Nairobi.”

The former Nairobi deputy governor had resigned in a huff in 2018, just months after being elected into office on the Sonko-Igathe ticket, for failing to earn the trust of his boss.

But with the antics he has been pulling, his former boss’s character – who was known for the absurd – will be surely proud of him.