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I will do away with KDF when I become the president

 Solomon Gichira, one of the eight presidential candidates in the August polls told CHEPTOEK BOYO about what he would do within 100 days in office, his attempted suicide and why Waiguru would make the best female president

Why do you want to be the next Kenyan president?

I decided to venture into politics and specifically, vie for the presidency because I am not happy with the way the country is being governed. Issues that matters to the Kenyans have been pushed aside.

A certain clique of politicians, both in the ruling party and the opposition, is pushing matters of self-interest at the expense of a majority of Kenyans.

The majority of ordinary Kenyans are suffering from insecurity, scarcity of food, and poor health services and infrastructure. I feel development has been privatised and it is time we liberated it from the clique of tenderpreneurs and the politically-correct businesspeople.

The government spends so much money, but the quality of work and services offered are not commensurate to the investment. I can make the best president because I have been through the motions that an ordinary Kenyan goes through - from humble background and joblessness, and I have an agenda for the people.

Why did you settle for a 26-year-old running mate?

My running mate is Kelly Watima Nandasaba. I chose him because he is a leader in his own right. He was a student leader at the University of Nairobi and he is not a captive of ethnicity. I believe in youthfulness and energy.

We keep on telling the youth they are the leaders of tomorrow without telling them tomorrow is today. By picking Kelly as a running mate, I’m trying to tell the youth that their tomorrow has arrived and they can pick on any leadership position they want and go for it.

In these elections, we have many people who are less than 35 years old running for different positions, which should be encouraged. I am looking forward to Kenya having a young president like France.

You recently sued IEBC chair Wafula Chebukati. Why?

We have had challenges with IEBC for quite a while and for some reason, they seem to be putting obstacles to dissuade us from running for presidency. I sued him because we got a court order on June 8 compelling him to accept our nomination papers and signatures.

But when we submitted the papers, he looked for other excuses to lock us out of the presidential race. We went back to court because he has been contemptuous of its orders and action should be taken against him.

We are seeking a ruling to have him committed to civil jail. We are still in court. We collected a total of 57,365 signatures from across the 24 counties, which way above the required 48,000 signatures.

There were allegations that you tried to commit suicide. Is that true?

It is an ongoing matter in court. On May 26, we got a court order compelling IEBC to accept our signatures which they had rejected with the excuse that our signatures were not in MS Excel, a requirement that they brought to our attention on May 17 while submission were starting on May 18, ending May 22.

We went to court and filed a case on May 20. On May 26, we got a court order compelling IEBC to accept our signatures and we presented it to them on the same day. On May 27, I was meeting with my lawyer at 10am to have all the nomination papers in order, but he delayed and I decided to go to IEBC offices to check when I was scheduled for presentation of my papers.

When I got there, I was shocked to find out that Chebukati was not aware of the court decree and I made another copy and submitted it to IEBC at 4pm. I was served with a letter by the chairman’s secretary and since the secretary could not help me when I demanded more answers, I decided to walk to his office.

But before I could open the door, I was roughed up and ended up next to a window. When my lawyer made a comment to the effect, “Are you trying to throw him out of the window?” they came up with the misleading story that I was trying to commit suicide.

I was then arrested and taken to Central Police Station where I stayed for two nights. On May 29, I was arraigned in court and the case is still ongoing.

How are you campaigning?

We are doing on-ground campaigning. We have coordinators in all the counties. We are not holding big rallies like the president and opposition leader Raila. We are concentrating on people’s barazas and door-to-door campaigns.

If Kenyans were to elect you as their president, what will you do in the first 100 days?

I will push for a constitutional referendum and reorganise how the government is constituted because right now, it works only for the rich.

In regard to security, we do not need the KDF. I will increase the number of police officers instead. We have more insecurity within our borders and external threat is minimal. I will reduce the retirement age to 45 years because employment should not be a place you stay until you die.

It should be a place where you train, get skills and capital then retire and create employment for other people. That way, we will reduce the labour force in the public sector and make it more youthful by creating opportunities for younger people.

On constituency representation, we only need MCAs, governors and the president. The Senate and National Assembly are unnecessary.

How would you rate yourself out of 10?

7.9, because I have an agenda for the people - the youth, women and forgotten poor. The poor are taken for granted in this country, they are only considered important when it comes to voting, paying taxes and as a source of cheap labour.

Like Reverend (Timothy) Njoya said, people are no longer forced to become slaves, but asked to choose who they want to enslave them. That is what we want to end.

What do you think of Jubilee Party and NASA?

Political parties have become instruments of enslavement to manipulate people’s emotions by claiming they can fix their problems.

The parties are also used to cage people in tribal cocoons. When you keenly look at the two parties, you will realise they are tribal formations and personality cults, which means they do not serve the interests of the people.

Who do you think will make the first female president?

Former CS Anne Waiguru, because she has gone through political baptism by fire, which a female politician needs to go through. She can now navigate through the political minefield.

She has also made a name for herself. In politics, it doesn’t matter how you make your name.

She is someone to watch because Central Kenya has no apparent successor to President Uhuru Kenyatta since Peter Kenneth’s time is gone and Martha Karua’s time is over. Waiguru is the only one who stands a better chance.

What do you think of the SGR?

It made a statement that we can do things by ourselves and do not need to hang on our colonial legacy.

But it was unnecessary at this point in time. Our priority should be national reconciliation, unemployment for the youth and security.

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