Kingwa Kamenchu is 28 years old and she is running for President, under the Labour Party (LPK), in Kenya’s general elections come March 2013.
Kamenchu left Kenya in 2009 to pursue a Master’s degree in African studies at Oxford University. During her time in the United Kingdom, she became involved in the African Society, a social organization for students interested in discussing African issues. She has returned with intentions to lead her people, primarily focusing her campaign on solving unemployment and the land issues causing conflicts across the country.
She notes that matters concerning territorial allocations contributed to the violence in Kenya after the disputed elections in 2007, so prioritizing “the issue of land” seems to be on target.
“Dealing with things on a tribal basis has divided our social fabric. We want to go beyond these tribal issues,” she says.
Speaking about her interest in politics and how it all began, Kamenchu said, “I got involved in politics about ten years ago when I was an undergraduate student at the University of Nairobi. I ran to be treasurer when I was in my first year and I ran again to be chair in my second year. While I did not win any of these seats, it opened an opportunity for me to get involved and to learn a lot more.”
She also spoke about how different her approach is towards the election, “We are interested in doing things a bit differently. Being a bit more innovative in terms of the answers we are providing”. This is in conjunction with an active social media campaign that she has going for her.
However, socio-political commentators have noted that funding is a major issue for many politicians in the country, including Kamenchu, although she believes that not being considered a rich politician acts as an advantage to her presidential campaign.
“The fact that we do not have the resources means that we do not have the problem of being expected to give [out money],” she Kamenchu. “It means that people are giving us more attention than they would give other people.”
“Right now I am just fresh from college. I have not had a job in quite a bit,” says Kamenchu. “I have been living off the support of well-wishers. I don’t pretend to have as much experience as most of my opponents. However, if I look back at my years in university politics I see that it has prepared me for national politics.”
Research polls carried out in the lead-up to the elections have not listed Kamenchu as being among the group of main presidential contenders. However, the statistics are not deterring her. “My goal is to win the presidency,” she states.
Kingwa Kamenchu’s Presidential campaign run is considered a good inspiration to women and youths in Kenya, and indeed across Africa.