Running on Empty: Inside the election campaign of MP Peter Salasya
Two first time Members of Parliament, Peter Salasya (Mumias East) and Phelix Odiwuor alias Jalango (Lang’ata) sat down to an interview for Jalango’s online TV show during a recent politicians’ working holiday in Mombasa County.
Jalango wanted to know who Peter Salasya was and what his life is like since he came into the limelight both politically and as a social media darling.
“Peter Salasya is a young man from Mumias East constituency from a place called Kisumu Ndogo. I was a Bachelor of Commerce student at Egerton University, a student leader too and I completed my studies in 2014. I look like a joker but I’m a very serious person,” began Honorable Salasya.
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Hon Salasya went on to reveal that the 2022 election was not his first stab at a political seat. He vied in the 2017 General Election but was not able to clinch the seat having garnered only 200 votes
“I wasn’t lucky like the way you were because you for the first time, you put a kickstart and it picked. I vied in 2017 and only managed to get 200 votes and the first runners up was having 9,000 votes against the incumbent.
The third one had 7,000 votes and the fourth one had around 4,000 votes and I was last with 254 votes. Something so surprising that those who we competed with in 2017 were on the ballot in 2022.
It’s so surprising that the one who got 9,000 votes maintained the same number of votes in the 2022 election,” laughed Salasya and Jalango.
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Hon Salasya revealed that after losing the 2017 election, he also lost his banking job.
“I think I won in 2022 because of persistence. Because I remember when I lost the election, I also lost the job in the bank. I was like…but now, it’s like you are starting to wash yourself in the bathroom and you soap yourself to clean off the dirt (past).
I cleaned all that off of me and now people realized that I am a politician and when you are a politician, nobody employs you. Now, I start(ed) hitting the ground- I was a voluntary teacher then at Sigalagala where I earned Sh 13,000 a month.
After paying my bills, I used the rest of the money, about Sh 6,000, to walk around the constituency to talk to people. At this time, opponents were giving higher amounts of money like Sh 5k-10k. In funerals I used to give Sh 300 or Sh 250 and an opponent would come and give Sh 10,000,” added Hon Salasya.
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He revealed that by the time the 2022 campaign season was rolling around, he had no finances for his campaigns.
“It was myself and God. I had to understand the SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) and had a meeting with myself; and I knew my threat was lack of finances and competing against people who had money and were members of parties. I worked on being an independent candidate and wisely choosing my friends who would walk the journey with me,” said Hon Salasya.
His determination saw him win the Mumias East Constituency Member of Parliament seat having done various hustles to earn some money, crowd funded for campaign posters and a last minute financial boost from an unnamed source. He beat seasoned politicians and big names to become a first time Parliamentarian.
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