FROM GRASS TO GRACE

From car washer to Senate Majority Whip: Irungu Kangata’s journey

In Summary

• “I regret some of the things that I did in high school, particularly bullying. I remember the kind of things we used to tell Form Ones to do, like telling them to sing funny songs.”

•Bullying affected his performance while in Form One and Form Two and at one point, he was expelled for indiscipline.

Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata /MOSES MWANGI
Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata /MOSES MWANGI

Murang’ a Senator Irungu Kang’ata has had quite and animated journey in his political career.

The senator's love for history in primary school piqued his interest in politics.

“It politicised me when I saw the injustice that has been visited for many years upon the back people…that made me become a little bit militant politically,” Kang’ata said during an interview on media personality Jacque Maribe's YouTube channel 'The Hot Seat'.

Kang'ata, who doubles as the Senate Majority Chief Whip, said that the struggle for multiparty democracy by the late Kenneth Matiba and others during his childhood shaped his political journey.

“I started following people like Kenneth Matiba…I became agitated for multiparty democracy notwithstanding that I was a young boy." he said.

Kang’ata went on to join Thika High School.

He said that by then, the bullying culture was still rampant and he engaged in the activity.

“I regret some of the things that I did in high school, particularly bullying. I remember the kind of things we used to tell Form Ones to do, like telling them to sing funny songs.”

Bullying affected his performance while in Form One and Form Two and at one point, he was expelled for indiscipline.

After the expulsion, Kang’ata took the case to the Thika County education office to complain that he was not taken through due process.

“When the principal saw that he was told by the education office to subject me to the due process, I was taken before the board of governors.”

He continued that he appeared before the board with his mother, who was not feeling well.

The board gave him a chance to go back to class where he made up his mind to concentrate on his studies, and ended up becoming a top scorer in his final exams.

He then proceeded to the University of Nairobi to pursue law and was interested in student leadership.

His leading campaign against discrimination, which led to riots, led to his suspension and temporary closure of the school.

Following the suspension, Kang’ata went back to his hometown where he started washing cars.

“I went back to Murang'a and I became a car washer.”

During the suspension, the senator, who is reggae fan, had an opportunity to become a DJ, which made him popular in the area.

He ended up becoming a councilor before becoming Kiharu MP and later a senator.

Irung’u become the Senate Majority Chief Whip following  changes made during a Jubilee Senate Parliamentary Group which was chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House in May.

He replaced Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika and is deputised by Wajir nominated senator Farhiya Ali Haji.