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Rishi Sunak: Meet Politician With Kenyan Roots Set To Become UK Prime Minister

Earlier this month, the world woke up to news of the United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigning from his position following a series of scandals that led to several ministers resigning. Ten Members from the Conservative party contested to replace him but after five rounds of voting, Rishi Sunak won with 137 votes. He will now battle it out against Liz Truss who got 113 votes, in the race to succeed Johnson. However what most people don’t know is that Sunak’s identity can be traced back to Kenya.

Here is the story of Rishi Sunak as told by WoK.

Rishi Sunak Bio

Rishi Sunak’s grandparents were originally from Punjab India but later relocated to Africa during the colonial period. While in Kenya they gave birth to Sunak’s father in the 60s and was raised in Kenya for the better part of his life. Sunak’s mother has her origin in Mauritius but was also brought up in Tanzania. They relocated to Southampton, United Kingdom and on 12th May 1980 they were blessed with a child whom they named Rishi Sunak. He is the firstborn in a family of three children.

The 42 year old is married to Akshata Murty, the daughter of N. R. Narayana Murthy, the Indian billionaire who is the founder of Infosys. The two families are ranked as the 222nd richest people in Britain with a combined net worth of USD876 Million as of 2022.

Education Background

Sunak attended Stroud Preparatory School and later Winchester College where he was head boy and editor of the school paper. During the summer holidays, he would work as a waiter at Curry house in Southampton. He joined Lincoln College at Oxford University in 2001 where he pursued Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE).

While still at the University, he undertook an internship at the Conservative Campaign Headquarters. He would then join the prestigious Stanford University where he graduated in 2006 with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) as a Fulbright Scholar.

Career Journey

Sunak began his career in 2001 working for Investment Bank Goldman Sachs as an analyst, a position he held up to 2004. He then joined The Children’s Investment Fund Management and he became a partner in September 2006. He would then leave in November 2009 to join his former colleagues at another hedge fund firm named Theleme Partners. The hedge fund was launched in October 2010 with USD 700 million under management. He also served as the director if Catamaran Ventures, an investment firm owned by his father-in-law billionaire N.R Narayana Murthy.

Political Journey

In October 2014, Sunak was selected as the Conservative candidate for Richmond (Yorks). In the same year, he was head of the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Research Unit of Center-right think tank Policy Exchange where he co-wrote a report on BME Communities in the United Kingdom. He was elected as Member of Parliament in the 2015 general elections garnering over 36 percent of the total votes.

During the 2015 to 2017 tenure in parliament, he served as a Member of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee. He was then re-elected in 2017 with over 40 percent of the total votes and served in the parliamentary secretary state for local government. On 24th July 2019 he was appointed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as Chief Secretary to the state which followed with him getting re-elected as MP garnering over 47 percent of the total votes. On 13th February 2020, Sunak was appointed as Chancellor of the Exchequer in what in Kenya we call the Minister for Finance or Treasury Cabinet Secretary.

Race to succeed Boris Johnson

On 5th July 2022, Sunak resigned from his position as Chancellor and three days later launched his bid to succeed Prime Minister Boris Johnson who had resigned earlier this month. In his conservative party, nine other leaders had stood up to contest for the position but after five rounds of voting, the Members of Parliament settled on two. Rishi Sunak who won with 137 votes and Liz Truss who got 113 votes as reported by CNN. The two candidates will now battle out with about 160,000 rank-and-file members of the party expected to make their final decision in September where the winner will be declared the next UK Prime Minister.