Hi, I’m Ken Musyoka – Daily Nation

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By NJOKI CHEGE
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Kennedy Musyoka Kalonzo wants to be seen as his own man that he says he is.

He does not like to be compared to his father, Kalonzo Musyoka, the National Super Alliance (Nasa) presidential running mate.

He wants people to appreciate that he has his personal ambitions, hopes and plans for the future.

When we met in his office in Karen, the 30-year-old soft-spoken, laid-back son of the former vice-president was at first apprehensive about the interview.

It was, after all, his first media interview and living a life in the spotlight had taught him to be cautious of the media.

“I faced a panel of 23 interviewers to land the nomination,” Ken Musyoka Kalonzo says. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Until recently, Kennedy — or just “Ken” — was your regular young man who loved to read poetry and biographies.

Kenyans did not put a face to the name, nor did his last name stir up any interest until he was nominated to the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala), in what has now become a controversial matter.

The inclusion of his name on the list presented by the Coalition of Reforms and Democracy (Cord) touched off a political firestorm that is yet to settle.

The row has precipitated a crisis in the National Assembly after Cord on Tuesday said it would not add nominees to its four-member list that includes Ken.

Consequently, the House joint committee on the Eala adjourned its sittings, leaving the process in limbo.

The paralysis in the Kenyan Parliament has hit the business of the Arusha-based regional assembly due to a quorum hitch.

Ken insists that being his father’s son did not really influence his nomination to the Eala.

“I have been consulting for the Wiper Party for a while now,” he says.

“Something I immensely enjoy. I have been making my own contribution in strategy and I believe that is how I ended up with the nomination.”

Many people may be tempted to dismiss Ken as just another “rich kid”, living in the shadow of his politician father.

My agenda is to represent the interests of

My agenda is to represent the interests of Kenya in the East African community and to safeguard the interests of Kenya, Ken Musyoka Kalonzo says. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What many do not know about Ken is that he is a brilliant and articulate young man, and yes, he believes he is qualified enough to hold a regional political seat.

After his high school studies at Brookhouse School, Ken studied for an undergraduate degree in international affairs, politics and public policy at the University of New Castle in New South Wales, Australia.

When he returned to Kenya, he worked in the legal department of Equity Bank at the Equity headquarters in Nairobi, and as part of the training and induction, he worked as a teller at the bank’s Moi Avenue branch.

“I had the pleasure of interacting with top management at Equity Bank. But the teller’s job is very difficult. I toughened up and now I believe I am able to work anywhere,” he recounts.

It was also while working at the bank that he pursued a second degree, in law, at the University of Nairobi. He graduated in 2014.

He is currently enrolled at the Kenya School of Law for a diploma in the same field, which he is about to complete.

Wiper Democratic Movement leader Kalonzo

Wiper Democratic Movement leader Kalonzo Musyoka introduces Ken (right) and Malia during the party’s National Delegates Convention at Kasarani, Nairobi, on December 10, 2012. Ken is the secretary-general of his father’s foundation. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

He says he “earned” the Eala nomination because he has interacted with the party members who can attest to his great ideas and appreciate his skillset.

But just because he had a rapport with the party members did not mean he had it easy in the interviews.

“I faced a panel of 23 interviewers. It was the most intimidating experience I have ever had. They went out of their way to challenge and grill me,” he recalls.

Perhaps it was his law and public policy background that they saw in the young man, who, if all goes well, could be one of the youngest Kenyan representatives to the Eala.

If he clinches the seat, he says, top on his agenda will be to “represent the interests of Kenya in the East African community and to safeguard the interests of Kenya”.

For now, Ken is the secretary-general of the much-talked-about Kalonzo Musyoka Foundation, which offers scholarships to orphans and children from low-income backgrounds.






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