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Young business pioneer standing as local Conservative

LOOKING FORWARD: Tory hopeful Samuel Kasumu

CHRISTIAN, SOCIAL entrepreneur, author and Tory party member Samuel Kasumu is in a state of shock after being selected to stand as a Tory candidate in the constituency of North Croydon for next month’s General Election.

Kasumu told The Voice:

“To be honest it wasn’t on my list of things to do this year, but I am very proud to be selected to run for a seat.”

At just 29, Samuel is one of the youngest black political candidates around. He knows he’s got a challenge on his hands to win the constituency. He said:

“The reason I’m interested in Croydon North is because it has a really large black and Asian minority ethnic population. There are also loads of churches and it’s been a Labour safe seat for a number of years so it’s a good opportunity to do something really interesting in the area.

"I think the main issue I’m going to be campaigning on is crime in London. I’m going to be campaigning on bringing a lasting solution to the issue of knife crime. I have a 10-point plan which will be making sure people are a lot more safer, particularly young people.

"Another area is about empowering faith communities and community groups.”

He added:

“If we can spend hundreds of millions of pounds combatting terrorism and counter terrorism, then why would you not do that for an epidemic? In my opinion that’s even worse.”

Kasumu, who will also be highlighting issues around education, has been a member of the Conservative Party for 10 years, after getting involved in politics as a teenager.

“I did a lot of work with the National Union of Students. I was part of the black students' campaign and I used to come across a lot of interesting individuals who were passionate about the things I was passionate about – equality, diversity and tackling racism – but their expression and how they felt a solution could come about didn’t resonate with me. I felt like I wanted people to be empowered to make a difference themselves, as opposed to waiting for institutions to get up-to-speed.

“I also felt as an aspiring entrepreneur at the time that the Tories were a party that were going to do more for small businesses. There were also a number of things that made me think it didn’t make sense for all of those who want the same things to congregate in one party. I don’t think a monopoly on any community is healthy for politics.”

There is no doubt that Kasumu is a gifted high achiever. Married to Barbara, another high achiever, he founded social enterprise Elevation Networks while at university in order to generate employment opportunities for students from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds. After serving as CEO, he now heads Inclusive Campaigns, an organisation that offers loans and helps organisations connect with BME communities. It also publishes an annual list of the most powerful BME people working in the public sector.

Whatever the outcome at the election, Kasumu wants to blaze a trail for other young black people who want to engage in politics.

“It wasn’t my plan to run for a seat in 2017, but my objective where politics is concerned is to open the door for people who perhaps are not engaged in politics or who feel their voices are not heard. And leave some kind of legacy," he said.

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