A 22-year-old hawker in Nairobi, who offered President Uhuru Kenyatta a free chewing gum during a political rally late last year, now wants to be paid back in kind by the head of state.
Dennis Murimi Wachira, captured national attention on the stormy afternoon on September 1, 2017 when he was afforded a rare audience by President Kenyatta, on the same day that the Supreme Court nullified his reelection.
On that afternoon, President Kenyatta would make an impromptu stopover at Burma market off Jogoo road, just about the same time that fate had placed Murimi within the vicinity as part of the crowd that gathered at the scene to catch a glimpse of the president.
So when the unexpected opportunity presented itself, Murimi, seized the moment for what he genuinely believed would he a life changing encounter.
“I lifted an orange PK chewing gum and shouted while gesturing to him ‘Mr President, can I sell you this!” Murimi said during an interview with Nairobi News last year.
As you would expect, the President’s security detail attempted to block him by shoving him out of the way.
But it was to be his lucky day. The president, who was addressing the crowd from the sunroof of his vehicle, had already taken notice. He quickly gestured to the security personnel to let go of the young man.
“Everything happened so fast. I couldn’t believe it. When I got close to his vehicle, all I could do was to offer him a mint gum worth 20 shillings,” he called.
The president graciously accepted the humble offer and cupped his benefactor’s head in his hand whispering something into his ear.
“He simply asked me what I wanted from him. I was in shock and I could not believe that I was talking to the head of state. I couldn’t talk,” Murimi later revealed.
PAY BACK TIME
Almost one year down the line, Murimi still hustles and shuffles, hopping from one Umoja bound matatu to another with his precious wares in hand.
“Life has become tougher for me. In fact, that incident has turned me into a laughing stock among my peers and colleagues. They mockingly ask me why my life hasn’t changed for the better even after meeting, speaking to and offering a mint gum to president,” he told Nairobi News on Saturday.
Murimi now wants the president to ‘pay’ back in kind for the chewing gum he offered him during their brief encounter by giving him a job.
“I understand when I met the president he was out of a job, following the Supreme Court’s ruling. But he is now the sitting head of state and he has all the powers to offer me a job, any kind of job,” he said.
But if the help won’t be forthcoming from the president, Murimi says he will appreciate help in securing a more decent job from any Kenyan of goodwill out there.