Founder of the Thika-based macadamia processor Jungle Nuts has secured the town’s MP seat, marking a successful shift from business to politics.
Patrick Wainana, who serves as the company’s chief executive, garnered 58,286 votes in Tuesday’s elections, flooring the incumbent, Jubilee’s Alice Ng’ang’a, who got 50,115 votes.
Mr Wainana, who won Nation Media Group’s Top 100 mid-sized companies’ survey in 2011, was vying for the parliamentary seat as an independent candidate after he failed to clinch the Jubilee ticket in the primaries.
The Business Daily was unable to get through to Mr Wainana by the time of going to press and it was not immediately clear whether he will hand over the running of his business interests to another person.
Jungle Nuts, which Mr Wainana formed after resigning from Kenya Nuts, processes cashew nuts and macadamia sourced from small-scale farmers in Kiambu, Muran’ga, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Embu, Meru, Kitale, Bungoma and Taita.
The firm exports its products, including macadamia oil, to China, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Mr Wainana has in recent years diversified into other sectors by establishing new subsidiaries.
Jungle Nuts now owns Jungle Housing, which has an interest in real estate, targeting low-income earners while Jungle Energy deals in the manufacture of both wooden and concrete poles.The company earlier this year ventured into the manufacture of mattresses and pillows using plastic waste.
The firm produces 600 mattresses and 300 pillows daily at its Thika plant.
Mr Wainana’s win is an upset for the Jubilee party since Thika is in Kiambu, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s home county.
Mr Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto have in recent months campaigned vigorously for Ms Ng’ang’a.
Mr Wainana lost the Jubilee party ticket to Ms Ng’ang’a by 1,149 votes after she clinched 15,880 votes against his 14,731 votes in the party primaries.
He did not accept defeat and accused the MP of rigging him out. He opted to contest as an independent candidate.