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Streetwise vendor sets eyes on seat in Juja by-election

By Fidelis W. Kabunyi | May 17th 2021
James Marungo Kariuki. [Fidelis Kabunyi, Standard]

For James Marungo Kariuki alias JM, who is eyeing the Juja parliamentary seat in the  Tuesday by-election, lack of media coverage does not seem to bother him.

Streetwise Kariuki, 37, is now tapping into his skills and business knowledge as he seeks to carve a niche in politics.

“I have been selling mutura along Kenyatta Road and Juja for about 10 years. This is where I get to hear problems facing Juja residents who cannot reach their representatives; these elected leaders disappear to the city once elections are over,” Kariuki says.

His day starts at 5am when he rushes to the Kiamaiko Market to buy meat and prepare it ready for meat pies, which he sells up to as late as 10pm.

His dream to be in Parliament started in secondary school where he nurtured it by holding leadership positions.

He attended Kihape Primary School in Mukuruwe-ini and remembers his barefoot journeys to study under a tree. He later joined Ngoru Secondary School where he sat his KCSE exam.

Kariuki later proceeded to study Information Technology but dropped out due to lack of fees.

He started off as a land agent and managed to convince over 3,000 buyers to purchase plots at Juja farm where he earned a reputation for his simple and unpretentious transactions.

The vendor has been conducting door-to-door campaigns and has also been reaching out to voters through social media.

In an interview with The Standard, Kariuki who once worked as a fruit seller using a mkokoteni, recalls his struggle to pay his school fees. 

"I had to pay my own school fees for my computer classes," he said. 


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