Despite Kenyans embracing leaders originally from their areas during elections, various regions have in the past shown a unique trend in going out of the way to prefer leaders who may not necessarily hail from local villages, in a pattern that indicates a growing democracy on the choice of leaders.
Suna East Member of Parliament Junet Mohamed stands out as one of the leaders who beat all odds to win the highly-contested seat in Migori County.
According to an article by The Standard in April 2013, despite his family having roots in Mandera County, his father Sheikh Nuh Mohamed settled in Migori in the 1970s where he gained popularity among the locals, paving a clear way for Junet to stand out as a key leader in the area.
Junet ventured into politics in 2003 when he was nominated as a councillor at the defunct Migori Town Council where he later rose to become a mayor.
In 2013, Junet won the Suna East Constituency seat on an Orange Democratic Movement ticket, trouncing former MPs John Pesa and Owino Likowa.
The MP is known to be a close confidant of former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
Kesses Member of Parliament Swarup Kiprop Mishra is also another who stood out after he was elected on a Jubilee Party ticket.
Born and raised in Odisha, Eastern India, Mishra came to Kenya in 1997 in search of a medical job after completing his studies as a surgeon.
“I must say that Eldoret has the best weather in the world. We came to this town in 1997. My wife landed a job at Eldoret Hospital as a consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology. I also got a job at Moi University’s School of Medicine as a lecturer in the reproductive department.
“My job sometimes demanded that I travel to Keiyo and Kabarnet to conduct operations and surgical procedures in obstetrics and gynaecology,” remarked Mishra in an interview with The Standard.
Mishra grew to be a favourite, establishing the Mediheal line of hospitals. His community service helped him gain favour, leading to his recognition by local leaders.
“I was honoured during Madaraka Day in 1998 by the County Council by the late Mzee Joel Bultut, who gave me the name Kiprop.
“That made me strongly believe in the Kalenjin community. I thank God that the community has accepted me as one of theirs. They have taught me the philosophy of giving and forgiving,” remarked Mishra.
North Imenti Member of Parliament Raheem Dawood also stands out as one of the leaders who wowed Kenyans after his triumph in 2013 to become the first MP of Asian descent in North Imenti and the larger Mt Kenya region.
Dawood, who is known to be fluent in the Meru language, won his first election as the Commercial Ward councillor in 2007, where he served until 2013.
In 2013, Dawood clinched the North Imenti Constituency seat on an Alliance Party of Kenya ticket and retained the position in 2017 on a Jubilee Party ticket.
The MP is known for being free with residents in his county reportedly rejecting having bodyguards or a secretary in his office.
Nakuru West MP Samuel Arama won elections in an area considered to be dominated by Central and Rift Valley communities.
Though tracing his roots in the Western region, Arama managed to win the position in 2013 and retained the same post in 2017.
In 2013, Arama won on an ODM Party ticket but later shifted allegiance to the Jubilee Party in 2017, a move that enabled him to retain his seat.
Kisumu East MP Shakeel Shabir also counts in the list having floored local leaders in the run for his current position.
The 67-year-old first won the parliamentary seat in 2007 on an ODM Party ticket and later retained the position in 2017 on the same party.
In 2015, Shabir hit the headlines after he claimed that some members of the Asian community wanted to kill him because he married a Luhya woman, Lucy Wanyonyi.
Shabir is also a renowned businessman in the county.
In 2013, Lamu West Constituency also elected an MP whose origin can be traced to Mt Kenya region. Julius Ndegwa became the first politician to clinch the seat in the Coast region.
Ndegwa studied at Lamu Boys’ High School.
He also served as a councillor at the Lamu County Council before clinching the parliamentary position to represent his constituency at the 11th Parliament. He was unable to retain his seat in 2017, losing to Stanely Muiruri Muthama of Maendeleo Chap Chap Party.
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