“Kazi si kazi” Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna affirms as he shares his life journey from a humble background in western Kenya to finding his path in the capital.
“I did my KCPE in 1995. Then as I was joining Form One my dad lost his job. So we had to move from Kakamega town to our rural home in Bungoma. We reverted to cooking using firewood and stoves. Unanuka tu maskini,” he narrated on TV47’s Wabebe Experience show.
Luckily, he managed to get through secondary school and moved to Nairobi to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Law at the University of Nairobi.
The 2007/8 post-election chaos not only led to massive loss of lives but also cost people like Sifuna jobs.
Six months’ rent arrears
“I had just finished my time at Kenya School of Law but because of the political situation in the country, I could not get a job. Nilihustle hii Nairobi for 19 months before I could get a job,” the senator added.
Sifuna remains grateful to his landlady who shielded him from the embarrassment of being homeless due to rent arrears.
“I had six months rent arrears that is KSh30,000 but the landlady never locked me out. In fact, she would tell me she is always praying for me.”
In reciprocation of the woman’s kindness, Sifuna cleared the arrears immediately after he received his first paycheck of KSh40,000.
Senator Edwin Sifuna quits KSh400k job
As the years went by, Sifuna transformed from a standard lawyer at Supa Loaf baking company in Kangundo to the Manager of Legal Affairs at a high-end company.
“My entry-level salary was KSh150,000. On my first day at work, they told me to choose a car from the yard and they paid for it. Imagine going to work in a matatu and then returning home in a car. Na unatoa samosa nje Nairobi watu waone uko na gari,” he chuckled.
By 2013, the lawyer was earning KSh400,000 but he quit his job without an exit plan.
“Downside ya hiyo ni nilikuwa na ‘boss from hell’ although siku hizi ni beste yangu. Alikuwa na pressure sana. Nilikuwa nalala na simu chini ya pillow because he would call me at anytime.”
Secretary General of ODM
Sifuna called it quits to salvage his mental health and went into the business of brokering deals for land buyers, car buyers and people seeking tenders in government.
With more time on his hands, the lawyer delved into politics where he rose to become the Secretary General of Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).