Equity Group’s Chief Commercial Officer Polycarp Igathe was on Friday, April 22 named as the Azimio la Umoja coalition candidate for Governor of Nairobi.
The announcement hasn’t gone down well with supporters of Westlands MP Tim Wanyonyi who was eyeing the seat on an ODM ticket and was widely seen as being among the favorites. Igathe is set to slug it out with Johnson Sakaja, fronted by the DP William Ruto-led Kenya Kwanza Coalition.
It isn’t Igathe’s first rodeo, although he has always looked more at home in the boardroom than in the political arena. In 2017, Jubilee Party had the then-wildly popular Mike Sonko team up with Igathe on the ticket as Governor and Deputy Governor respectively.
Igathe, an experienced corporate hotshot with stints leading some of the region’s major firms, was seen as the yang to entrepeneur-and-convict-turned-famous-politician Sonko’s yin which often rubbed the political and economic establishment the wrong way. They won the election, but their relationship didnt last long.
Igathe resigned less than a year into his time in office. He did not have Sonko’s trust and their relationship had reportedly broken down.
Frustrated, he returned to the corporate world – where he has always thrived. A recurring theme in his career and politics is that he always seems to curry favour with the people that matter, the decision makers.
He served as Managing Director of Vivo Energy Kenya, one of Kenya’s biggest oil marketing companies, between 2013 and 2017. He then had his shortlived stint at City Hall.
In 2018, after leaving the Deputy Governor’s post, he joined Equity Group Holdings, one of the region’s biggest financial institutioms, as Chief Commercial Officer.
Prior to his initial stint at Vivo in 2013, the 49 year old University of Nairobi (UoN) alummus had worked as Regional Managing Director of Tiger Brands.