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Memusi: Success didn’t come easily…

Memusi Kanchorri speaks about his rise from obscurity to the august House

Like any other child, I grew up making mistakes in life, including inciting students to go on strike. I remember being expelled from school at Olkejuado High School just a month to my final exams. I did my exams nevertheless, but I was only getting to school to do my exams, then I am shown the door. Given the person I am today, every crook can turn out for the better and become an important person in life.

After graduating from Nazarene University, where I completed my degree course in Bachelor of Commerce, Banking and Finance options, life was not easy. I grappled with most issues that young people are going through today: Unemployment and lack of capital to start business. I indeed “tarmacked” for a whole year, dropping my CV anywhere I could, only to receive letters of regret, to my disappointment.

I never lost heart, and that is the beauty of being young. The youth do not know failure; even when they fail, they keep trying.

After many hustles, I thought of selling charcoal. I shared the idea with my dad, who offered to give me the capital to start the venture; he gave me four goats and a cow that I sold to begin the business.

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I then began ferrying sacks of charcoal from Ilmisigiyio area to Kajiado town. Given that my capital base was low, I made an arrangement with the charcoal dealers to pay a deposit and then settle the remaining amount after making sales.

While still in the business, a glimmer of hope finally shone. I received a call from Barclays Bank inviting me for an interview; much took place in the process, but I was finally confirmed as a file manager. My duty was to manage files and arrange documents.

The posting was a mix of excitement and disappointment – I was a degree holder, having specialized in banking and finance, so how was that related to file management? I persevered, though, and was later promoted to a cashier, which was yet another disappointment.

I had all the hopes on earth that, being a degree holder, I would be given a decent job!

I kept working hard, and giving my best. With time, my efforts were appreciated and I rose through the ranks to become the assistant manager of Premier, Barclays Bank, a capacity I served in until I resigned in 2008. I then went to work as the personal assistant of the late Cabinet Secretary Nicholas Biwott, who was famously known as the “Total Man”, and whom I had met when working at Premier.

My work as the PA was really enjoyable. It was flexible and I could get time to rush home whenever I needed to. I was running several businesses at home, including greenhouse farming and selling water from my borehole; I was the first person to do greenhouse farming in Kajiado.

My journey into active politics began when I developed an interest in community issues. My first project was building dormitories for Ilmarba Primary School. When I first visited the school, its management told me the challenges they were facing; among them, the pupils were not passing well in exams as they walked long distances to school and back home every day, thus eating into the time in which they could be doing their studies. They suggested to me that the solution was to have at least class seven and eight students board.

I bought their idea, and I mobilized friends who helped me raise the money to build dormitories.

After assisting on several occasions, my peers begun noting that I could be a leader, so they suggested that I should run for the seat of Member of Parliament, but I declined. I had a feeling that I was not a politician; in fact, as they continued insisting, I fronted my brother who was a lawyer to run for the seat. I told him that it was better for him to run because if he failed, he would go back to his practice; as for me, being a businessman, my business could go down.

He entertained the thoughts for about two months, then came and said that he was not going to vie.

After he declined, the same group came back pressing me to run for the seat. They said that I was well-positioned to tackle the demands of the post, and that I had been to many places and interacted with so many people.

That is how I found myself in politics. In 2010, I decided that I would run for the parliamentary seat and so began doing my groundwork. I ran in 2013 but lost to the late Joseph Nkaiserry. I went back to salvage what I could in business.

Later, when Nkaissery was appointed Cabinet Secretary, the opportunity presented itself. People came and told me that they had not voted for me in 2013, but given that Nkaiserry was not on the ballot this time round, they promised to vote for me.

Coincidentally, the day Nkaissery was appointed, we were to meet with him for lunch. At around midday, we called him but he said he couldn’t talk and told us to watch the news at one o’clock; it was then that we saw that he had been appointed the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government.

My reason for meeting him at that time was to make peace with him, and to inform him that if he was going to run again in 2017, then I would support him since my business had gone back to doing well and I was not willing to re-enter politics.

In a nutshell, that is how my journey has been. I encourage the people of Kajiado to make the best of their time. At a tender age, when youhave the energy to do anything and everything, when the mind is fresh and can absorb so much, one can make a meaningful impact in life.

Do not take addictive drugs, do not misuse your bodies, and do not be idle. Engage in sports, use your energy to build your tomorrow, and immerse yourself in books. The knowledge that you acquire today will help you in the near future, if not today.

Edited by Jonathan Teikan

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