Dangreti North Mp Simba Arati was once a small-scale vegetable vendor in Nairobi, a profession that is widely dominated by women, and looked down upon by most middle class Kenyans.
At Kawangware and Riruta, Arati was a common face at the vibandas (make-shift shops) where he used to sell sukumawiki and other vegetables alongside other vendors.
In an interview with a local media outlet, Arati says that he could not find a job after completing his studies at Kenya Polytechnic, currently Technical University, hence opted to the ‘odd’ profession in order to survive in the city.
The business was not as simple as it could look, as he had to wake up as early as 3am to get his veges from Marikiti, Ngara and Gikomba or else stay out of business. He would also stay late, selling his veges hence had insufficient sleep.
At times, he lacked fare to go and buy merchandise, hence he opted for sly methods.
“I did not have bus fare and I often hanged at the back of the Kenya Bus, I only paid fare on Mondays and could use the receipt the whole week,” says Arati.
In the interview, he reveals that at some point, he would literary jump out of the bus to evade paying the fare.
“Since the KBS buses used to be fully packed, I would position myself near the rear door. Once the conductor approached, I would alight, get in through the front door, and hold the receipt from Monday acting like I had already paid out,” he stated.
At some point, he was forced to walk from Marikiti to Kawangware selling vegetables.
He debuted in to politics in his first year in college, where he says he was rigged out, hence took the matter to court.
This saw him at loggerheads with the administration where he was almost suspended.
In second year, Arati ran successfully to become the chairman of the student’s union.
After campus, he served as a Councillor (MCA) in Nairobi and went for the post of MP in 2007 which he also retained in 2013.
“My message is simple, you can start anywhere and change the narrative,” he says.