Peter Kenneth: Corporate Executive Who Thrived in Football, Politics

  • File image of former Gatanga MP, Nairobi gubernatorial aspirant and Mayfair Group Founder, Peter Kenneth.
    File image of former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth.
  • Former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth is just an inch away from crowning another accomplishment onto his line of achievements if he is picked as former Prime Minister Raila Odinga's running mate.

    Numerous opinion polls have placed the former corporate executive among the top three candidates for the post and second behind Narc Kenya's Martha Karua among the preferred Azimio deputies. 

    His rise to the top, from serving in the corporate world to sitting on the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) committee, has not been that easy.

    Born in 1965, two years after the country gained independence, Kenneth turned his attention toward the business world after finishing school. 

    Raila Odinga (right) with Peter Kenneth
    Raila Odinga (right) with Peter Kenneth

    He joined the workforce in 1985 and worked in industry-leading companies such as Nationwide Finance company and Prudential Finance and Bank where he rose to the position of Manager.

    In 1996, he joined the sports world with an appointment as the Chairman of the Football Kenya Federation (FKF), a position he held simultaneously while working as the Managing Director for the Kenya Reinsurance Company. 

    Despite not having a traditional surname as one would expect of a politician from Central Kenya, the businessman threw his hat into the political ring in 2002 and successfully ran for the Gatanga parliamentary seat.

    At the time, he appealed to voters who referred to him as a muthungu (Mzungu) owing to his punctuality as well as his transparent mode of doing business. Some of his supporters have previously testified that if a meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 a.m., it would surely begin at that time.

    When he joined Parliament, his rise was evident with his appointment as the assistant minister in the Ministry of Co-operative Development and Marketing before he was moved to the ministries of Finance and Planning for the same roles.

    In 2013, he launched his first stab at the Presidency on principles that he would concentrate on the growth of development projects across the country.

    Part of the reasons he is known as Mzungu in his native is that he ruthlessly handles government projects with the zeal of taming underhanded deals while ensuring not a penny has been lost. At the time, he was more concerned with unemployment claiming that he had the solutions unlike his then competitors, including Odinga, who he seeks to deputise, and Karua, his main competition for the slot.

    In 2013, he garnered 72,786 votes accounting for 0.60 per cent of the total tally ahead of Martha Karua's 43, 881 votes.

    Former Presidential aspirant Peter Kenneth addresses the media after meeting Gikuyu elders in Nyeri on Friday, September 26, 2020
    Daily Nation

    Today, he has changed his goals and believes that he has a better chance of achieving the goal of elevating the nation by serving as a Deputy President.

    “The functions of the deputy president as captured in the Constitution are easy to understand and internalise. Loyalty and patriotism are key.

    “Obedience to the president is important and serving to make the country prosper is the key agenda. I will not have problems helping the president deliver the collective mandate," he revealed in a past interview.

    Political analysts have hailed his political savviness arguing that he has the preternatural ability to mobilise business leaders but critics record that he comes off as an elitist, partly because of his lack of a local surname.

    He also topped the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) service delivery countrywide for eight years out of the 10 that he was in office.

    In September 2020, the former Gatanga MP was crowned as Mt Kenya region Ambassador, a move that some analysts argued at the time would place him ahead of the rest of the pack seeking to be the region's kingpin after President Uhuru Kenyatta with whom he enjoys a personal relationship.

    An image of Uhuru and Peter Kenneth
    President Uhuru Kenyatta consoles the former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth during the burial of his mother Rahab Wambui at PCEA Kirwara Church on Thursday 25 July 2019.
    The Standard