Manyatta constituency Member of Parliament John Gitonga Mukunji recalled an eye-opening moment in his life as a third-year student that shaped his future.
While studying Industrial Chemistry at the University of Nairobi (UoN) the MP failed to get a place for his internship as required by most university courses.
Young and ambitious, Mukunji was hit by disappointment. Through this experience, he vowed to never seek employment again and began his entrepreneurial journey.
In an interview with, the 35-year-old stated that in his fourth year he applied for a loan from the High Education Loans Board (HELB) and was successfully granted Ksh25,000.
“In the fourth year, I applied for the HELB loan and was given Ksh25,000 and used it to register a company that I was sure would help me in the future,” he recalled.
Gitonga who was taught by the Chairperson of the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) Professor Raphael Munavu was enthusiastic about the new venture.
According to the budding politician, the professor, then at UoN’s Department of Chemistry, advised him to explore ventures that would guarantee self-employment.
“I started writing letters to companies in Nairobi telling them I can supply them with cheaper batteries since I would recycle old ones considering the area of expertise,” he explained
“I went around the country collecting the old used batteries. It was a process getting buyers but as I interacted with them I got to understand the value of the batteries,” the MP recalled.
One of the buyers had offered him Ksh200,000 for the huge pile of batteries he had collected.
“With information, I decided to write to one of the brands making the batteries. Since most are in China they sent a representative who offered me Ksh800,000,” Gitonga recounted.
With this amount, he was able to upscale his company which currently has 60 employees.
Notably, the MP stated that he will set up a research institute where graduates can drop their papers and they can be linked to jobs that meet their expertise.
“We need to conduct our work using statistics. We need to know what kind of jobs our unemployed youths are looking for. The idea of saying you are looking for any job is ruining our country,” the MP lamented.
He cited desperation as the reason the youths are willing to undertake any job.