Former Equity Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) Polycarp Igathe rattled the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya camp when he, like a bolt from the blue, was declared as Jubilee party’s nominee for Nairobi Governor.

What started as a rumour, was quickly confirmed and Igathe, without ever holding a political rally or even a campaign poster, effortlessly brushed off his competitors and taking centre stage in the race for Nairobi’s top seat at the August polls where he will face off with UDA’s Johnson Sakaja.

With Azimio frontman Raila Odinga on Friday, confirming that Igathe would indeed fly the party’s flag at the General Election, many Kenyans were taken aback by how seamlessly the seasoned corporate bigwig had ingrained himself at the centre of politics in Nairobi, a county which boasts of having the highest national revenue allocation budget and revenue collection streams.

Igathe’s transition from the lavish offices of the corporate world into the intricate game of politics however began long before he joined forces with former Nairobi governor Mike Sonko, as his deputy, in 2017.

President Uhuru Kenyatta began grooming the former Equity CEO in 2015 when he tasked him with leading the Anti-Counterfeit Agency, a position he held for a year before being named the chair of the Special Economic Zones Authority in 2016.

The Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Sociology graduate from the University of Nairobi would later join VIVO Energy as its CEO before resigning in May 2017 to deputise Sonko’s governorship bid.

The agreement struck between the pair, at the time, was that Igathe would be in charge of administration and management of the city while Sonko would handle all political matters were he to clinch Nairobi’s top seat at the 2017 General Election.

A verbal agreement, overseen by the Head-of-State himself, was inked between the pair and Sonko convincingly floored closest rival and then Governor Evans Kidero to become Nairobi’s top honcho. Sonko however reneged on his end of the bargain.

Remember it was Sonko’s name and appeal that drew in close to 900,000 city residents to vote for him and not the other way round. Sonko could not come to terms with the idea of essentially being reduced to a co-governor of sorts.

After the relationship between the pair turned sour and unsalvageable, Igathe would resign in January 2018, approximately six months after he assumed office. Before the dust had settled, Igathe made his now trademark venture into the corporate scene again, landing a posh job as Equity Bank’s CEO just four months after his City Hall departure.

He would later resign in August 2019 despite rising through the ranks to become the financial giant’s Managing Director. A few months later, Igathe was at it again, returning to former employer VIVO Energy as the Vice President in charge of Sales and Marketing.

His stay, as usual, was short-lived with Igathe resigning in March 2020. Just three days later, Igathe who now had a proven knack of landing and resigning from high-profile jobs, was named Equity Bank’s Chief Commercial Officer, a position he held before deciding to try his hand at Nairobi politics again.

Only time will tell if his second stab at City Hall will be successful, with Igathe of the opinion that his long and prospering corporate career has successfully groomed him to take the reins at City Hall.


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