Having vied for the presidential seat in the hotly contested 2017 general election, Eliud Muthiora Kariara will forever be etched in the memory of Kenyans as the youngest ever presidential aspirant. At the age of 35, he sought election into the country’s top job only for his dream to be thwarted by the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) with little explanation. Not one to throw in the towel, Muthiora explored the next most viable option and became Kavinga Kaluyu’s running mate.
Born and raised in Kuria, Kariara witnessed the effects of tribal clashes right from a tender age, partly in 1992 and later in 1993 when the clashes got worse forcing his family to move to Nairobi, then Kedowa and finally Isibania. An alumni of Kanga High School, his excellent performance saw him join the University of Nairobi where he pursued a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and majored in operations research.
Love for sports
Being an ardent football fan, Muthiora was nicknamed Giggs like the renowned former Manchester United player. Much later, Kariara gave meaning to his nickname:
G – Great
I – Individuals
G – Go
G – Great
S – Someday
In form 1 he played for Border FC, present-day Isibania FC. He later on proceeded to play for World Hope FC, present-day City Stars and Kawangware FC in the premier league. Muthiora reached his peak in football when he joined Wazito FC where he played for the inaugural team. Presently, he is a member of the Wazito FC senior team. A multi-talented sportsman and enthusiast Muthiora has previously served as a football and handball goalkeeper. Besides this, he has played basketball and participated in 10,000 m races and cross country.
Life as a new student was characterized by frequent demonstrations, power outage and school closures, which were all a huge disruption to his studies. It was this set of circumstances that inspired Kariara to provide solutions to the school’s recurring headaches. In 2004 he vied for the SONU Secretary General for Sports and Entertainment position but lost, leading him to vie for the same position at UoN’s Chiromo Campus where he emerged the winner. After a year of service, Kariara once against sought election for the once elusive Secretary General position and this time clinched it. During this period, he also served as the chairperson of the Nairobi University Sports Council (NUSCO).
It was during the same period that Kariara boarded Kenya’s political bandwagon. During the 2010 Constitutional Referendum, he was amongst the most vocal campaigners against the proposed constitution. According to him, the document failed to uphold inclusivity and change. This was no easy feat for the young leader who had spent his HELB loan on the campaign. He later quit the political field and joined Consolidated Bank in 2011.
As an entrepreneur, Kariara started out with garbage collection for all the restaurants along Nairobi’s Argwings Kodhek Road. This business was the source of wills which he was keeping at his home in Kawangware. Kariara capitalized on his garbage collection business to begin pig rearing. The business provided easy access to pig feed hence making the venture reasonable. This venture later suffered a blow following wrangles with the City Council forcing him to jump ship and begin dairy farming. Finding it difficult to balance dairy farming with the demands of his work at Consolidated Bank, Kariara closed down his dairy business. Today, he rears security dogs (German Shepherds), which earn him up to Kshs. 75,000 per head after training. As a way of giving back to the society, Kariara runs entrepreneurship, farming and financial literacy programs for small-scale farmers and businesspersons for free.
Why the top job?
When asked why he chose to vie for the country’s top job, he is quoted saying, “the problems that plaque Kenya are a product of bad leadership that starts from the very top. Corruption and impunity, all start from the very top yet the person who bears the biggest burden is the common mwananchi. The only position that would afford me the tools needed to effect the much needed change is the presidency. You need the right tools to fight corruption, tribalism and to industrialize Kenya at the pace that it should. Kenya is ripe for change. It is time someone rose to challenge status quo.”
Failure equals disappointment?
About their loss in the 2017 General Election, he says, “I am not embarrassed that we failed. I am grateful that we gave Kenyans a choice and they chose to elect the status quo.”
What would you differently?
On effecting significant change, he says, “I would succeed in uniting Kenya given my background. Having been a victim of violence and having lived among different communities I understand how important it is for people to coexist. I am not a status quo candidate, I do not owe allegiance to any special interest groups and so when tackling corruption, my only interest would be to the people of Kenya.”
“I have been jobless yet qualified, so job creation for Kenyan people would not be a line in our manifesto but an agenda that would be pursued vigorously.”
Any word for the youth?
“The youth must realize, that the current political class have interests different to theirs, their interests do not coincide at any point. Whatever projects the status quo would want will not guarantee a brighter future for the youth.”
“We must realize that the time is now, we cannot afford to wait for that false tomorrow we are always promised because it will never come. It’s actually false and elusive.”
“I am running a national movement called ‘Kenya ni mimi’ that advocates for non-violent means of dispute resolution. We also want everyone to own a piece of the country so this movement is open to every Kenyan. We want to own our Nation, be proud of it, and in whatever happens we solve our problems peacefully.”
As he concludes, Muthiora Eliud Kariara hopes that the youth will rise up to the challenge and take up leadership opportunities. Not wavered by the outcomes of the 2017 General Election, he vows to run for the presidential seat in the next General Election.