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Joel Karuri: From A Welder To Becoming Nakuru County Assembly Speaker

Joel Karuri Main is the sitting speaker of the Nakuru County Assembly.

However, becoming the third-most powerful official in Nakuru County never crossed his mind.

Karuri worked as welder making steel doors and windows in Naivasha town prior to his current plum job.

Here is his story as told by WoK.

Background

Karuri was born and bred in Gituru, a village in Naivasha where he also attended his primary and secondary school education.

He attended Gituru Primary and later proceeded to join Gitithia Secondary where he sat for his Kenya Certificate of Secondary School Education (KCSE).

In an interview with Standard, Karuri explained that his parents were poor that they had to hold a fundraiser for him to attend high school.

After completing his secondary school education, Karuri said he had to do menial jobs to make a living for himself.

“I became an untrained teacher which I juggled with welding to make an extra coin

“I was then hired as a sales manager at a Naivasha pharmacy where I worked until 2007,” he said.

He later pursued a certificate course on HIV Drugs Adherence and Behavioural Change counseling after which he landed him a job at a church-sponsored health centre in Kijabe.

“In 2010, I joined Ngong Sub District Hospital as a counsellor for HIV and Tuberculosis patients under AIDS, Population and Health Integrated Assistance (APHIAplus) until 2012,” he said.

In 2012, Karuri ventured into politics.

“I made up my mind to join politics. I resigned in September 2012 and got The National Alliance (TNA) ticket for Biashara Ward. I won the seat in 2013,” he said.

This was two years before he joined St Paul’s University to study journalism, specializing in development communication.

Being a newbie in politics was not easy for him as he had to juggle between family, education and his electorate.

“I was a member of the Agriculture, ICT, Labour and Trade committees. I was lucky to be reelected in 2017 and became the chairperson of the Budget and Appropriations Committee,” he added.

In the 2022 General Elections, Karuri was among 14 incumbent MCAs who successfully defended their seat.

“It was a tough race but I believe the members saw a leader in me. They didn’t look at my background but my strengths,” he said.

He further noted that he was taking a risk by seeking the speaker’s seat.

“I would call it a leap of faith. It wasn’t given that the new ward reps would back my bid but they did overwhelmingly. Politics is not for the faint-hearted. It was like I had all my eggs in the same basket,” Karuri stated.