Ol Karia MCA set a record by being lucky four times.

After surviving political upheaval and an assault from his fierce rivals, he can count himself as four times lucky. Peter Palang’a, the representative for Ol Karia Ward, created history by winning four straight elections to the Nakuru County Assembly.

The former low-cadre flower farm laborer has outwitted his political rivals in four elections thanks to calculated, strategic, and unmatched voting hunting fervour.

The MCA is not just outspoken about matters that concern those who work in the flower industry, but it also holds firm political beliefs.

In the 2022 elections, Mr. Palang’a (ODM) defeated eight other candidates to win handily with 3,439 votes; his closest rival, Lucy Njambi Wangui, received 1,924 votes.

He is notable for going “against the grain” and is the only contender in the sizable Naivasha constituency to run and win under the ODM.

“The majority of my backers are people I worked with in the flower sector and I resonate with their challenges … I know them and they know me,” said the ever-smiling MCA.
Though amiable, he doesn’t shy away from taking political adversaries head-on, thus endearing himself to the flower farm employees
“It is not a mean achievement … he has learned the ropes and executes his political mission with precision,” said Ruth Wambui, one of his supporters.

In 2017, he created history by defeating formidable opponents, including seasoned fish operator David Kilo, to win the seat for the third time in a row.

He garnered 4,372 votes, whereas Thaiting’a Geoffrey Pushati, his closest rival, only received 2,124.

Since 2007, Mr. Palang’a has perfected the art of surviving and always surprises his opponents when they minimize his accomplishments during competitions.

Many predicted his defeat in the 2017 elections because he had already served two terms in a row and was up against Mr. Kilo, a newcomer who was the current favorite.

But the astute politician confounded friends and foes after clinching the ODM ticket and proceeding to retain his seat, again beating Mr Kilo, who opted to contest as an independent candidate.
He has, for years, enjoyed a faithful voting bloc and enjoys massive grassroots support, easily eclipsing his political nemeses.
“I have been able to retain a sizeable number of my voters and that has been my greatest advantage,” he said.
“I have been in politics for the past 15 years and know what it takes to survive political turbulence.”

The MCA acknowledged that, in contrast to past elections, this year’s political climate had been slightly affected by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s endorsement of Mr. Raila Odinga, who ultimately lost to President-elect William Ruto.

In addition to serving as head of the Kenya Export, Floriculture, Horticulture and Allied Workers Union (KEFHAU), Mr. Palang’a gained experience in the labor movement.

He excels when he is fighting for worker rights and has often confronted corrupt companies.

“Hiring workers on casual basis has become a common occurrence among some of the employers and the practice should be stopped,” said Mr Palanga
He said workers were at the mercy of middlemen keen to make profits.
He explained that a casual employee’s terms of engagement provided that an individual be paid at the end of the day and is not engaged for more than 24 hours.
“These are some of the requirements that are being flouted by some of the flower farm employees with impunity and it has to stop,” he said.

“Basically these categories of workers enjoy to a large extent the same rights as other employees, but may be excluded from many benefits, such as leave, medical cover or housing,” he added.

The MCA has also been at the forefront of the struggle for the rights of former Karuturi Flower Company employees. He has been urging them to pay their debts, claiming that some of them were leading lonely lives.

“I feel strongly about this problem. Although some of them belonged to various unions, he insisted that concerns impacting them needed to be addressed.

He pleaded with the government to assist the struggling employees, stating that their debt of more than Sh200 million needed to be properly paid.

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Written by Esther Oyugi

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