Over the past few months, Agnes Nkanya Wanja has embarked on an unexpected and arduous journey that has brought significant changes to her life. Her voyage began in the comfortable realm of a government job within Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture but concluded with her toiling on a construction site and working at a car wash to make ends meet.
Not too long ago, Ms. Nkanya was a familiar presence at high-profile gatherings, dining alongside some of Kenya’s most influential figures, including the President and Interior CS Kithure Kindiki. Her career had flourished for a decade within the government service, where she enjoyed a monthly salary of Sh. 40,000. This was a stable and relatively opulent life, one that appeared secure until a momentous decision altered the trajectory of her existence.
Fueled by determination and a profound sense of civic responsibility, Ms. Nkanya resolved to run for the Magumoni ward MCA seat in Tharaka Nithi. This pursuit compelled her to resign from her government post. She chose to contest the election under the banner of the Devolution Party of Kenya, a party helmed by Kithure Kindiki, a well-known name in Kenyan politics.
During the campaign season, Ms. Nkanya stood among the youth leaders fervently supporting William Ruto and the Kenya Kwanza movement. Her tireless efforts significantly contributed to their resounding victory in her constituency. Nonetheless, despite her unwavering dedication and enthusiasm, the electoral outcome did not favor her. This setback left her in a challenging predicament, without a job to fall back on and without a clear path forward.
Her hard-earned savings, accumulated diligently over a decade, became her lifeline during this trying period. When her savings were exhausted, Agnes Nkanya Wanja confronted the stark reality of unemployment. In her quest to secure gainful employment and provide for herself, she cast a wide net. Despite her educational background and prior work experience, opportunities proved scarce.
In a heartfelt interview, Ms. Nkanya disclosed the extent of her struggle. She recounted how she tirelessly scoured various avenues for employment, never losing hope. Eventually, she found an opportunity to work at a construction site and a car wash, earning a modest daily wage of Sh. 500.
The transition from a government office to manual labor was undoubtedly formidable. However, Ms. Nkanya faced it with unwavering determination and a willingness to adapt. She expressed her sentiment, stating, “I have never engaged in this kind of work before, but I made the conscious decision to invest my effort and see what I can achieve in this new endeavor.”