The Kenyan-Swiss seeking a political seat in Kenya

Peter Safari Shehe

Under the scotching Kenyan sun a tour bus carrying 2 Swiss tourists got a puncture. What had had been planned to be an adventurous Safari was just about to turn into a disaster; right until Peter Shehe came along and offered his truck to the tourists. Peter worked for the Kenya Cashewnuts company at the time, and was in charge of close to 3000 employees.Surprising was the fact that Peter offered his truck for free to the tourists, this impressed one of them and one thing led to another and they fell in love. (Sounds like one of those Alejandro movies but I digress…) For three years the couple would travell between the two countries to see one another. Eventually, Peter made the tough decision to leave his four kids that he’d had with his ex wife and move to Switzerland to be with the new squeeze (using Miguna’s words). They later got married in Winterthur.

Now Peter has lived in Switzerland for the past 20 years and the last 18 months with a new squeeze in Arbor. He brought his four kids to Switzerland already, they are now adults. He works as a caretaker at a Real Estate company.

His latest goal is to become an MP for Ganze and area in Killifi District where he was born. He’s humourus guy in his mid 50s. He enjoys talking about his homeland and the goals he has when elected member of parliament for the area. “People in the area have nothing,” he says. The constituency is thrice as large as the Canton Thurgau, and there is not a single firm nor employment opportunities for thr 140,000 people in the area.

When elected MP, Peter would like to teach the Kenyan people the Swiss work ethic: cleanliness, punctuality and working fast. “The people have to under that they can only get money through working and not from anything else”. Peter said. He promises to create jobs when elected. He’s sure his connection to Swiss companies and firms will bring change to the Kenyan job market. The constituents should learn the Swiss cultivation methods, which would help them considering the area is very fertile.

 

Peter would like to build a girls’ boarding school, where the girls can be saved from early marriage and circumcision. Each of the four municipalities should have a primary and a secondary school.

His candidature for the seat was apparently not his idea but mouth to mouth propaganda from the people of Ganze. The people of Ganze meet in the villages and agree on who to vote for. His name was picked recently as he has remained very popular in his area. “The people want a man educated in Switzerland but has the wisdom of their culture”.

So why did he lose in the last elections? Peter thinks, his opponent faked 4000 votes; but this time the votes won’t be filled by hand but digitally reducing the chances of rigging.

The elections are set for the 4th of March 2013. He places his chances of winning at 70% despite having 6 other opponents. The others were have no international education nor training, they were educated and trained locally; and they have no connections to investors. His opponent from the last elections is now competing for a bigger office but Peter doesn’t think he’ll make it, “He used the State’s money for himself and his family”, Peter accused with a grin.

The geographical distance to Kenya isn’t an issue for Peter. He flies home at least 4 times a year and during the last elections he was there every month. “I go to the cillages and talke to people and tell them my goals”, he said. He’s always accompanied by other villagers. “Everyone in Ganze either knows me or has heard of me”, says Peter.

Original interview by Michelle Sommerhalder for the Thurgauer Zeitung.He finances his campaigns from his own money. He even has a song that was composed especially for his campaign. He met Heiner Gabele through his new spouse an architect and lecturer who’s also a componist from east Switzerland, who wrote a song for Peter about his vision for Ganze. The song will be recorded in a studio sang by volunteering artists and played in radio stations in all of Ganze.

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