Having been billed as a formidable and forceful power-broker with web-like commercial and political links across Asia, Europe and Africa, Jimi Richard Wanjigi’s entry to the State House bid come 2022 is a major game changer, political pundits contend.
The Informer learnt Wanjigi could have planned his political ambition way back in October 2019 while attending Russia-Africa Business Summit in Sochi, Russia, that brought together leading global business moguls and political leaders including presidents from world over.
His would be key contenders among them Raila Odinga of Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and Deputy President William Ruto are not only his close associates but he also served as their strategist in 2013 (President Uhuru-Ruto ticket) and 2017 presidential contest for the latter and former respectively.
However, this time round, in what is expected to be a fierce political contest, Wanjigi will face the respective duo and other flag bearers in a contest of political wit and resources.
Wanjigi was among the few insider key planners for the President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto election in 2013 under the TNA and URP coalition that trounced the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) with Raila and Wiper Party Leader Kalonzo Musyoka being the presidential candidate and his running mate respectively.
“Going by what happened in 2017 whereby Raila went to Wanjigi’s home in Muthaiga at the height of political tension in the country is an indication he’s a man worth his salt. Similarly, his input in 2013 presidential contest supporting President Uhuru and Ruto’s candidature that carried the day speaks for itself. Whatever coalition Wanjigi forms will jolt the political landscape. However, if he goes it alone, his bid will be inconsequential.” Gilbert Smith, a student of Political Science at the University of Nairobi observed.
Although very little is known about him, the 55-year old billionaire is the Chief Executive Officer of Kwacha Group of Companies, a privately held family office with interests in various sectors of the Kenyan economy including agri-business, financial services, industrials and real estate.
Besides his business acumen, Wanjigi is also not new to controversies.
In 2018, he faced ten charges of being in possession of eleven illegal firearms.
The same year, Wanjigi broken the silence over bizarre obituary notice of him carried by daily Nation terming it as a death promise.
He said Nation Media Group is aware of the actual people behind threat to his life.
While appearing at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) headquarters, the heavily guarded businessman confirmed he had already engaged a team of lawyers locally and internationally to deal with the matter.
“I don’t think this is just an advert. We must put it into context. First and foremost I am alive contrary to the wishes of nation Media Group. Nation Media Group yesterday issued a death promise.” Wanjigi said shortly after appearing at CID headquarters.
He, however downplayed to elaborate if he has engaged the help of police to investigate the matter.
Instead, he castigated the law enforcement agencies saying over 300 people had died since August last year during the first round of presidential polls and police are yet to investigate the deaths.
“I report where? Over 300 people have died since August and no death has been investigated. I only require the Nation Newspapers to tell me who placed the advert because I have my own capacity and that of my friends. My lawyers here and internationally are handling the matter.” He added.
The bizarre death advertisement had subtle contradiction of Wanjigi’s name indicated as Wanjagi but the description of his home and businesses reflected that of Wanjigi.
Interestingly, the notice was also carried a day after the claimed funeral day.
The advertisement was published on page 49, obituaries section.
“We refer to the publication of a death and funeral of James Richard Wanjagi bearing the picture of Mr Jimi Wanjigi that was erroneously published in the Daily Nation of February 7, 2018. We regret the pain and anguish this may have caused Mr Wanjigi and his family and sincerely apologise for this.” An internal memo by the NMG management read in part.
The notice carrying death and funeral announcement of one James Richard Wanjagi, whom the advertiser said died on January 30 after a failed armed robbery in Nairobi’s Karen estate, and was buried on Tuesday February 6, 2018.
The notice mentioned the claimed Wanjagi’s relatives whose identities matched those of Wanjigi.
In 2017, Wanjigi’s residence in Muthaiga was raided by police officers and put on a lockdown for three days in search of alleged guns a move Wanjigi dismissed as political persecution.