From Shamba Boy to MP - Mwingi West MP Charles Nguna's Story

  • Mwingi West MP Charles Nguna. He set up the Nguna Cup, a tournament to empower the youth through sports.
    Mwingi West MP Charles Nguna. He set up the Nguna Cup, a tournament to empower the youth through sports.
  • Soft-spoken but with a meaningful impact - that's how Mwingi West MP Charles Ngusya Nguna AKA (CNN) chooses to describe his style of politics.

    The Wiper politician spoke to Kenyans.co.ke where he disclosed that politics may have not been part of his plan from a young age but that is where he feels he is serving the Kenyan nation most.

    Born in a remote area in Kitui County, Nguna was raised for most of his life by his grandmother after his parents who'd landed scholarships travelled to Greece.

    Though living in poverty, he was hopeful that they would overcome that season of their life. 

    Mwingi West MP Charles Nguna launching a project in his constituency
    Mwingi West MP Charles Nguna launching a project in his constituency

    "We were very poor. In my teenage years, I would work as a shamba boy, I used to pick out weeds in people's farms and dig wells for a small wage. A day's job in the hot sun would earn me Ksh 200," the Migwani Boys Secondary Alumni elaborated.

    He further stated that he would also make ropes from sisal to sell at the market - a trade he'd learned from his grandmother. "Life was hard but really simple then."

    After completing his secondary education in 2000, Nguna pursued a course in International Business Administration at USIU, sponsored by his parents who'd started earning while working from Greece at the time.

    After completing his university education, he began working with a real estate company as a project manager. There, he spotted opportunities and invested in various properties in Nairobi.

    In 2007, he got a chance to study in the UK and went for his Masters in economics at the University of Middlesex.
    "While in the UK, I'd work part-time jobs and even went ahead and did my second Masters in Political Science at the London School of Business," he stated.

    After graduating in 2010, he tried looking for a job but the state of the economy at the time wasn't favourable, so he travelled back to Kenya.

    From left: Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu, County Commissioner Samuel Kimiti and Mwingi West MP Charles Nguna during the Jamhuri Day fete at Kanyaa Primary grounds, Migwani, Mwingi West Subcounty on December 12,2018.
    From left: Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu, County Commissioner Samuel Kimiti and Mwingi West MP Charles Nguna during the Jamhuri Day fete at Kanyaa Primary grounds, Migwani, Mwingi West Subcounty on December 12, 2018.
    Twitter

    He had a few stints in some major companies in the country before finally opting to join politics in 2016.

    "I realised the incumbent MP wasn't performing and the youth in Mwingi West encouraged me to run. Also, I used to run youth projects Nguna Cup when I was still in University," he explained.

    He joined the Wiper party and managed to clinch the seat. The joy of being an MP was quickly taken over by the downside of being an elected leader.

    "I was stable financially, but when I joined politics, my financial status has declined but I'm not badly off. I have to share my income with the constituents and handle some projects from pockets as well," he stated.

    He added that his personal life was also greatly affected as he got enemies and trolled on social media.

    Nguna has however managed to lobby projects for his constituents including roads, building classrooms, conducting youth and women empowerment projects as well as encouraging the planting of trees.

    "Water being a major issue in my constituency, I have constructed two earth dams from my salary together with a local NGO for the people of Mwingi West," he stated.

    Being a member of the Wiper party, Nguna is cautious of the co-operation agreement between the party and Jubilee.

    "When we held the NEC meeting, my views were that we go in with an agreement to work with the current government because I am wary of the Jubilee-KANU coalition. We can work with them until 2022 but after that, we get to decide which way forward," he conveyed.

    The MP has quite an impressive sporty resume having won 12 gold medals in the EAC Inter-Parliamentary Games EALA games.

    From left: Homabay Senator Moses Kajwang', Machakos Town MP Victor Munyaka, Webuye West MP Dan Wanyama and Charles Nguna (Mwingi West) in Dar es Salaam after winning 4*400 metres in EALA Games.
    From left: Homabay Senator Moses Kajwang', Machakos Town MP Victor Munyaka, Webuye West MP Dan Wanyama
    and Charles Nguna (Mwingi West) in Dar es Salaam after winning 4*400 metres in EALA Games.

    The legislator habours the ambition of vying for the governorship in the near future after serving his constituents.

    "Alternatively, I would like to get a Cabinet Secretary or an ambassadorship position because I believe I am qualified for such national positions," he stated.

    His advice for young aspiring politicians is, "Be conversant with the people on the ground, because they are the ones who will give you the power and have the power to take it."