Last week Comedian Eric Omondi met meeting billionaire businessman Jimmy Wanjigi, who is gunning for the presidency in the 2022 elections, and was officially given the role of chief campaigner. Incidentally, Mr Wanjigi is taking on ODM leader Raila Odinga for the party’s presidential ticket.
Eric Omondi has been widely criticized for the move, with many terming it a money-motivated deal and less of the comedian’s desire to support Wanjigi. “We have agreed that I will be communicating Wanjigi’s vision for Kenyans,” Eric Omondi is quoted to have said after his appointment.
While many are seeing the money side, they are missing the real deal: This is a political season and Mr Wanjigi has launched a different campaign where he is seeking to use someone he believes can deliver some influence to his side, especially among the youthful population.
Influencers are making it big on social media with brands and in Omondi’s move that influence could be going offline to gain some political capital. Social influence cannot be dismissed in Kenyan politics where hype carries more weight than political ideology.
“It (the criticism) doesn’t move me. Kenyans of a different opinion than yours will always feel entitled to bash you. It is everyone’s right to support their candidate and I’m no different. That’s why I have pledged my support to his ideology having seen his track record as the leading businessman in the county,” he says.
Eric shared a video as Wanjigi gave him a tour of his exquisite mansion, which includes a helipad in his front lawn and is also rumoured to house an underground bunker. The comedian has, however, urged entertainers to be informed in their decisions when endorsing leaders.
“Don’t just do it for money. Do what will impact the future and your career,” he said, though critics say his sudden change of heart from supporting Raila Odinga betrays his ideological explanation.
Just days later, Mr Wanjigi gifted Omondi a Chrysler Crossfire. “This is a pleasant surprise since I thought Wanjigi was inviting me over for tea. He told me that I should not give any excuses whenever I am on assignment out of town since this car will serve the purpose. I have also been given fuel for one year and two months,” he said.
With a number of presidential candidates already rearing for the ring, Kenyans with influence and following can position themselves for political endorsements and earn some pretty cash from it.