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Meet Tracy Wanjiru, JKUAT student who faced off with DP Ruto

Tracy Wanjiru, 23, at UDA headquarters, Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

In the full glare of cameras, Tracy Wanjiru announced she will face Deputy President William Ruto in the quest for the United Democratic Alliance presidential ticket.

Ms Wanjiru had presented herself at the party’s headquarters in Nairobi where suitability interviews were being conducted.

Apart from the DP and herself, another applicant was Jephnel Nyakwama.

Armed with the required documents, Ms Wanjiru sat through the interview conducted by the party officials.

The election board disqualified her on grounds of not attaining a university degree, which is a constitutional requirement for presidential hopefuls.

Ms Wanjiru held onto the hope that time is ripe for young people to lead the country.

“It was a good experience. The officials were cordial and inclusive,” she said, adding that youth, women and persons in minority groups have what it takes to lead.

Ms Wanjiru is a student at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Applied Bio-Engineering.

“I knew not having completed my university education would lock me out of the contest but the party allowed me to file my application and go through the interview process,” she said.

Ms Wanjiru explained that her drive to go for the highest seat was to represent the voice of the youth, women and people with disability.

Tracy Wanjiru was disqualified from the UDA presidential ticket race. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

“When every presidential candidate was declaring their interest and parties revealing their nominees for the seat, I did not see a woman, young person, or anyone from a minority group. “I am convinced it is time for these other groups to stand up.”

Asked if she was the best to lead the country, Ms Wanjiru said: “Idea wise, I am the best fit for the position, but with regard to education, perhaps not.”

The Standard caught up with Ms Wanjiru at a Nairobi hotel where she narrated how she ended up with a spinal injury.

She was born with Mitochondrial Myopathy, a genetic condition. Ms Wanjiru has been in and out of hospital since childhood.

Her situation was aggravated by an accident in 2020 where she hurt her spine. Had Ms Wanjiru gone through vigorous campaigns to become the fifth President, her status would influence healthcare policies, she says.

Tracy Wanjiruis is pursuing a bachelor's degree in Applied Bio-Engineering at JKUAT. She was born with Mitochondrial Myopathy. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

One time, while hospitalised at a city hospital on the recommendation of her doctor, she recalls how a nurse pushed her.

“I was feeling drowsy and I went to inquire from a nurse stationed in our ward and he was rude. He pushed me and asked me to get away from him yet it is his job to attend to me,” Ms Wanjiru said.

She says she fell on the concrete floor, injuring her spine further. What followed was a series of severe headaches.

“After a while, I realised I was getting weak. I also couldn’t walk for too long. I knew something was wrong with my legs when I tried getting up and fell.” 

She says she will try running for President again once she clears school.