Kingwa Kamencu: Joker-in-Chief?


What you need to know:

  • From weeping at the launch of her presidential bid to promoting the ‘Underwear-free movement’, Kingwa Kamencu seems to be her own fierce opponent; but is she? JOHN MUCHIRI finds out more

First things first, how is your presidential campaign going?

People have reacted with mixed feelings. Some say they believe in me, others dismiss me, while some mock me by calling me “Madam President” when they meet me in the streets. It’s been very interesting.

Who funds you?

I do it myself, my close friends, my family and well-wishers too. It has been a humbling year, everything has been moving well. I used to think I need bodyguards, fleet of chase cars and all that.

Are they necessary?

Not at all. I don’t really need them. I can only campaign for myself. If I don’t have a car, I will use a matatu or walk. It doesn’t take anything off me.

Any threats in your life so far?

Not yet. My opponents think I am a joke. I like that, because I can do whatever I want.

Do you think you are a joke.

Not at all of course. I see myself as force that is growing slowly. In the next few months, everything will be very different in a good way and I’m confident about that.

Lots of people have ridiculed you so far. What do you say about that?

I have suffered that a lot, I felt quite bad about that. I’ve been thinking, here I am, doing something that many people have not dared to do, yet I get so much hate. It has pained me so much before.

How have you overcome that?

I have realised that it cannot be about people, I have to start believing in me and grow from the criticism around me. I have no one to impress and nothing to lose too.

A lot is going on in your social life. You have been telling off people using explicit language on your Facebook page of late? Is there a problem?

I am trying to get away from the hypocrisy our leaders have. We are human beings. I will answer you the way you ask your questions. You don’t just say anything that you want and expect me to say have a nice day. You engage me, I engage you.

You are supposed to be the people’s president…

And that’s why I have another official page, which is more diplomatic. I have to be real.

Talking of real, what’s the reality about the underwear-free movement you are running?

It’s mostly about beginning a discussion on African traditional values. Using this campaign, I have sparked a lot of healthy debate and that was my point. We lost so much as Africans when colonialism came in. We killed our gods and values.

Are you wearing underwear now?

Yes I am.

So what’s this campaign all about again?

Haha, it has nothing to do with not wearing underwear, it’s just symbolic, meant to spark discussion on African lost values as I have explained. When I become president, people should expect me to tell them not to wear underwear.

Your birthday party last Wednesday didn’t have many people as expected.

Yes, it was a small thing, just a few of my close friends came, fellow like-minded people and so on.

Did you finish your studies at Oxford University?

When I announced my candidacy late last year, I had one more year to go, so I went back to finish, that’s why I have been quiet. I’m done with school now, so I’m ready for the top seat.

Before we go there, a Dr Ben Knighton from Oxford University came to Kenya complaining about you immediately you launched your presidential campaigns. Do you know him?

Yes, he was married to a friend of mine at the university called Wanja. What was the complaint about?

That you were a major reason their marriage fell apart

That’s not true. They got divorced due to their own personal differences and I had nothing to do with it. Wanja is the one who called to tell me about it.

But he says he found both you and Wanja in a very compromising position in his house.

Haha, I can’t believe that I have to talk about this. Well, I remember he once found us in the sitting room, where I was massaging Wanja’s back. That was just it.

Go on…

This is somebody who has been married before and got divorced, did I cause that divorce as well? All I can say is that I had nothing to do with their divorce.

Okay, are your parents okay with your presidential ambition?

I grew up as a very rebellious child throughout to high school. My parents knew I had this energy to do something extra-ordinary in me. When they realised that I have started to use that energy in a positive way, they have always supported me, especially from the time I joined campus.

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