SIMBA Arati’s story reads like a thriller. The Dagoretti North MP was a naughty boy in his childhood. So naughty was he that his parents, out of concern for his future, shipped him out of their Kisii rural home to Bura in Tana River to live with an aunt and go to school. “I never used to attend class because of my naughtiness,” the 35-year-old MP says.
“I was so naughty…my parents feared that I would drop out of school because I was beyond their control – they took me out to live with an aunt.” And as if his parents had a forewarning, Arati would later be expelled from Nyamache Secondary School, forcing him to complete his studies at Suneka Secondary. In secondary school, he admired Anyang’ Nyong’o’s beard and what he calls the professor’s “seven degrees of politics”.
But the MP complains that the gods conspired and he never g rew a beard like Nyong’o’s. After high school, he eked out a living in Nairobi hawking vegetables. From the proceeds, he sponsored himself to the Kenya Polytechnic, where he graduated with a diploma in Tourism Management.
“As a naughty boy, I have this knack for doing exactly what I am told not to do,” he says. In first year, he jumped in the deep end of student politics and stood for the secretary generalship of the Kenya Polytechnic Students’ Union. He lost, but he claims adamantly that he was rigged out. Whe n he decided to challenge Raila Odinga as party leader in ODM’s internal elections in 2014, no less a personage than President Uhuru Kenyatta dismissed his bid as a ruse.
“We had gone to State House as a caucus of Kisii MPs when the President picked me out and said he thought I was not serious and that my candidature was a ruse aimed at showing a non-existent competition.” “But my interest was to free our party leader from the rigours of running the party to focus on the Presidential bid,” he says, dismissing claims that he was among those being used to undermine Raila in the party by external forces.
“Used by who?,” he asks.”What we had was a healthy competition and even if I had lost, I would have been a strong Number Two in the party.”
1981: Born in Gucha, Kisii county. 1987: Joined primary schools in Kisii and Bura, Tana River, and eventually did his KCPE in 1994.
1995: Admitted at Nyamache Secondary School, but later expelled and transferred to Suneka Secondary School, where he sat his KCSE in 1998.
2004: Enrolls at the International University of Business Management in Guangzhou, China.
2007: Contested for councillor and loses. He is nominated as councilor to the Nairobi City Council.
2010: Stands for Nairobi Mayor and loses to George Aladwa.
2015: Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University, Master’s degree in International Relations.
QUOTES FROM PARLIAMENT CONTRIBUTIONS
2013: I have all the reasons and I want to stop here by saying that the Jubilee Government is bound to fail totally in this exercise with the people they have brought before this House for approval. The exercise of nominees and, indeed, the exercise of governing this country, I want to confirm that the only system which could have worked was the CORD system,” opposing the nomination of Joseph ole Lenku to the Cabinet.
2014: “The clarification I want to seek from the leader of the Majority party is, how well prepared is the government in terms of saving the girl-child from the cut? This is because we know very well that it is a culture in many communities. I want to know if there is allocation of money for educating communities to know what they are doing is wrong.”
2015: “I indicate that most of us who come from urban areas like Nairobi, Mombasa and Mavoko . . . most of the people who vote in these areas are residents who happen to be there for the whole year. If we push this election to December, all these people will have to travel upcountry because of the Festive Season.”