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February 26, 2018

G-Spot: Some unsolicited advice for MP John Paul Mwirigi

Igembe South MP John Mwirigi receives car keys from President Uhuru Kenyatta during the handover of a car the President promised him on September 15
Igembe South MP John Mwirigi receives car keys from President Uhuru Kenyatta during the handover of a car the President promised him on September 15

G

ood Day to you, Mheshimiwa Mwirigi.

I hope you like to read for pleasure and if you do, I have a suggestion for you. One of my favourite satirical novels of all time, is TM Aluko’s Chief the Honourable Minister, published in the Heinemann African Writers’ Series back in 1970.

This highly entertaining novel wryly reflects on the difficulties of post-colonial African government through the story of Alade Moses, a humble schoolmaster. Moses is suddenly appointed as Minister of Works in the imaginary newly independent nation of Afromacoland.

I was reminded of this story when I read the story of President Uhuru Kenyatta inviting you to State House and giving you a shiny new Sh8 million SUV as a gift.

Everyone keeps saying that at 23, you are Kenya’s youngest-ever elected Kenya MP. Somehow, they’ve forgotten that in 1992, the voters of Nyeri Town constituency sent a 22-year-old college student, Isaac Ndirangu, to Parliament.

Nevertheless, you certainly seem to have caught the attention of the public with your independent campaign in and around Igembe South on foot and boda boda, as well as your arrival in Nairobi by matatu.

I can only hope that you will hold on to the integrity the voters saw in you and that you won’t be too dazzled by the perks of office, including the Sh710,000 monthly salary from Bunge and the accompanying perks. It would be a shame if you went the way of Alade Moses, the hero of the aforementioned novel. In fact, I would suggest that if you haven’t already read the book, you should buy yourself a copy and learn from it.

I won’t get into the debate about whether you should have accepted the gift of a car, although, let’s face it, as one of the best-paid people in the country, you can comfortably afford to buy yourself a car. I do hope, however, you will stay true to the promises you made to the electorate and never make them regret sending you to Parliament.

What I can predict, however, is that as an MP, you will have occasion to face unrealistic expectations from your constituents and others who feel they have a stake in your future. To face these and other challenges, you will need to be steadfast, to remember what propelled you to run for office.

Of course you are human and fallible like all of us, and we cannot expect you to be a superhero. You will get some things wrong and others right, and you will learn that it is all part of the journey.

However, you do have the opportunity to make a name for yourself not just in Igembe South but across the country, where certainly there are many already looking up to you. 

If you succeed, you will be a role model for other young people. If you fail, you will find that history can be cruel and you will be remembered only as the MP who received a shiny SUV as a gift from the President.

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