Andrew Kenneth 19, did not anticipate the kind of reaction that followed after he went on national TV to endorse his father Peter Kenneth, for the presidency last Sunday. PHILIP MWANIKI finds out how he’s coping with the new found fame.
You are now an overnight star, did you expect the attention that you are getting?
To be honest, I didn’t expect it at all. I only set out to give the best speech I could about my father. In fact I am still surprised by the attention.

How did you end up giving the speech?
Dad asked me if I would like to speak at his presidential launch and I agreed.

Do you believe you did a good job at humanising your father?
I think I did. Like when I told how he combed my hair in school and imitated him Yeah, now you look much better Papa. He actually said that.

Do you think you can help get young people to be involved in the electoral process?
I think I can because I will be coming home to vote. Now that people have noticed me, I want to set a good example.

Do you want to be involved more in politics away from you just supporting your father?
No. I want to at least finish school, earn my dual honours degree in Law and Sociology.

How nervous were you?
Having never done this before, I was both nervous and excited. In fact I was a lot more nervous than I appeared to be. I think dad may have noticed how nervous I was since I was sitting next to him just before I went up to speak. But wow, there were a lot of people out there when I steppedout on stage.

How did you prepare? Were you coached on what to say?
I thought a lot about what I wanted to say about my relationship with my dad; I love him very much. I also thought about what I wanted to say about my love for Kenya. I then rehearsed on how to say it. I was not coached, all that was from my heart.

What did your father and mother tell you before you went on stage?
Dad was on the other side before the programme started so we did not get a chance to speak but I spoke to my mum and she encouraged me. She told me not to be so nervous, that I would do fine.

Any interest in politics in the future?
Not for now.

Any attention in the college where you study?
Not really. We are just concentrating on schoolwork (It’s a lot!).

How do you plan to handle the attention and had your parents prepared you for it?
Well, my parents and my sister, had not expected this at all. We are taking it day by day.

Is your family making fun of your being called Hot by your new female admirers? How are you taking it?
They have definitely made jokes about it. I am flattered by the attention but I would prefer to concentrate on my studies for now.

What do you do for fun?
I am an avid football and rugby fan and my current favourite teams are the Kenya 7s rugby team and Harambee Stars.

Should the youth be more involved in politics?
We can change our country for the better. This is not about Andrew Kenneth or Peter Kenneth, it is about people my age taking charge of our future by voting as Kenyans and not as tribes. We young people can do it. Tunawesmake.

PETER KENNETH
 

You must have been proud watching your son give such a heartwarming speech, but what was going through your mind as he spoke?
I was thinking of how mature Andy has become.

Did you envision the attention he is attracting and how ready are you to shield him from the media and the public?
I never thought for the slightest moment that he would be such a hit. I am a bit worried for him now.

Do you see another politician in your house? Happy or jittery?
Not really. I just see a pleasant young man whom I love very much.

You almost teared up as he spoke about how good a father you are, how close were you to real tears?
I was very close to tears. You must understand, Andy and I have a very close emotional bond. But to hear him speak of me like that, indeed, was quite overwhelming.

You think he can help energise young people to support you and see you as a father figure?”
Yes. This is the era of the young people in Kenya and they will be making decisions that will affect our country in the years to come. As leaders we must stay relevant to them.

He is a teen so you don’t see eye to eye on everything, how do you handle such?
He is about to exit his teens so Anne and I have been very lucky with him. He has been a jewel in our home and we have never gotten to that stage yet. He is about to turn 20, so I think we have escaped the teenage period now.

MRS ANNE KENNETH:

Mrs Kenneth, you are said to have shied away from giving the speech that your son did, is he now your permanent replacement?
Actually it was our youngest daughter who shied away from the speeches, so we agreed Andy would speak on behalf of the family. My work is to give
all of them my husband Peter and the children emotional support and a stable and loving home.
By Sunday Nation [BUZZ]