Last week, Eagle presidential aspirant Peter Kenneth named his running mate, 33-year-old RONALD OSUMBA. Afterwards, the question on everybody’s mind was, who’s this guy? MAUREEN AKINYI unveils the suave corporate lad
When you were unveiled, most people, especially on social media were asking who this nondescript character is. So who is Ronald Osumba?
I am a Kenyan with a passion for my country. I come from a humble background, born and raised in Kibera and educated through charity at Starehe Boys’ Centre. I am a husband and a father of two, and I believe I have what it takes to change Kenya.
Tell us about your educational background and your childhood.
I was born and bred in Kibera. I attended Olympic Primary School and then proceeded to Starehe Boys Centre. After high school, I proceeded to Moi University where I graduated with degree in Business Management. I have also done Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA) and a holder of diploma in Biblical Studies.
What are you bringing on the table as Peter Kenneth’s (PK) running mate?
I bring in strong and steady leadership, and management experience from the corporate world, as well as an understanding of the issues facing Kenya, having worked with several development focused organisations.
I have the ability, energy and passion to steer Kenya forward, and I strongly believe that the time for Kenyans to be involved in determining the destiny of their country has come.
I am told you are one persistent character and you go for what you want as long as you believe you are on the right. Tell us something about that.
I have always been one to pursue my dreams with a singularity in focus and clarity of thought. The late Dr Griffin, the founder and former director of Starehe Boys Centre, always taught us that we must pursue with perseverance and determination. I believe that everyone must be willing to pay the price for standing by what is right. And I never relent on such a pursuit.
You’ve been in the media and corporate world, tell us about those stints.
I have been in the private sector for ten years where I led successful teams in areas of business development, thought leadership and brand management. I have worked in senior management roles at the Cooperative Bank of Kenya, Impax Business Solutions and Health Data Systems. My last position was at Safaricom where I was the senior sales manager for public sector. I have since resigned.
In media, I was the host of Hatua, a human rights in action TV show. The show gave me an opportunity to interact with Kenyans from across the country discussing pertinent issues like reforming the justice system, education, healthcare, leadership and development.
At what point did you take an about turn to join politics?
Like many Kenyans, I have spent endless hours on pointless chatter, complaining about our leadership but doing little about it.
But now, I am tired of simply chattering in the background. I am tired of waiting to vote for the right leader. I am tired of choosing the lesser evil to lead my country. I know what my country deserves, and I want to be that person for my country.
When and how did you meet PK?
Peter and I met by chance in the corporate world and then went ahead to forge a strong friendship based on our vision to see better leadership in place in our country. He is my brother, my friend and my mentor.
What made PK particularly settle for you as his running mate?
The running mate decision was made by the coalition management team. Peter knows that I have great focus, good work ethic and a genuine commitment to solving Kenya’s main issues. We also have a common belief in servant leadership and leadership that is accountable to the people.
While naming you as his running mate, PK said that the coalition had been guided by shared values. What values?
Peter and I believe that leadership should be based on integrity, vision and passion to work for all Kenyans. We must also encourage a spirit of excellence in public service.
What other leadership positions have you held before?
I am chairman of the board of Youth Enterprise and Sustainability Kenya and have also been the funding advisor of the United Nations Youth Association of Kenya. I also serve as member of the Starehe Boys Centre management committee and patron of the Gem Youth Network. While at University, I founded the Kenya Model United Nations and was its first secretary general. I also chaired the student electoral commission.
What do you think is ailing Kenyan politics and how do you intend to bring change?
Our politics has been individualised and does not focus on the people of Kenya or issues that affect them. We will provide an alternative leadership that is inspired by the values of integrity and driven by a spirit of excellence. We need to provide hope that our institutions can work once again.
Money is a big factor in Kenyan politics, how do you expect to go about that?
This has been the problem of Kenyan politics; that we have commercialised democracy. We stand for what is right and not what is popular, and believe that democracy cannot be bought. We have also received a lot of support from Kenyans through small donations to help us in this campaign.
So what should the young people expect from you if all goes well?
I am them. I have travelled the same journey through tough times. I have the same hopes and dreams. Kenyans should expect leadership that is accountable and responsive. They should expect a leadership whose main focus is to grow the economy and create opportunities for everyone in all sectors of the economy. They should expect leadership that is based on integrity and a passion to work for all Kenyans.
To many sceptics, PK is just a wannabe presidential candidate. What’s your take on this?
Peter’s track record does not need further trumpeting. I believe Kenyans know the difference between a good leader and ‘business as usual’ politicians, and will make the right choice by electing PK on March 4.
What next for you if the Eagle Alliance fails to clinch the presidential seat?
I have no doubt that we will win this election because Kenyans know what is right and that we have what it takes to fix Kenya’s problems and take us out of historical