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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Daggers drawn in Kiambu politics as Waititu joins fray

Former Embakasi MP Ferdinand Waititu’s entry into Kimabu county politics through the Kabete by-election is sending ripples among political players. Already camps have emerged following Waititu’s declaration that he will contest the county’s gubernatorial race in 2017.
Kiambu governor William Kabogo in a quick rejoinder declared that he is ready to face Waititu in 2017. Last week, Kabogo for the first time spoke about Waititu’s entry into Kiambu politics and declared that he was not afraid of any competitor in 2017 elections.
However, fear has gripped Kabogo’s camp which mainly comprises of former MPs, former councillors and MCAs from the Kiambu county assembly. Sources say Kabogo enjoys minimal support from the MCAs but none of the Kiambu MPs supports him.
The fear now is that several leaders including MPs and professionals have endorsed Waititu to take him head on in 2017. Apart from Kiambu leaders, it is also now emerging that the Kiambu politics is being plotted by Nairobi politicians as part of 2017 power games.
Sources say the Dagoretti South MP Dennis Waweru is the man behind Waititu’s relocation of political base from Nairobi to Kiambu. It is widely believed that Waweru is eyeing the Nairobi gubernatorial seat in 2017 hence the move to have Waititu relocate to Kiambu to pave way for him as Jap’s flagbearer.
We have information, Waweru singlehandedly funded Waititu’s campaigns ahead of the Jap nominations in which Waititu garnered 14,696 votes against accountant Mburu Kang’ethe’s 2,334. Former Kikuyu MP Lewis Nguyai was third with 1,950.
It is widely suspected that it was Kabogo who sponsored two voters to file a petition at the High Court to have Waititu barred from contesting the Kabete parliamentary seat. Geoffrey Kimathi and Joseph Njuguna wanted the court to declare that the Jab should conduct a test on Waititu’s integrity, before officially nominating him as their flagbearer.
However, the High Court last week cleared him saying the court did not have the jurisdiction to tackle cases bordering on electoral offences and thus could not bar Waititu.
The two voters had argued that Waititu does not meet the requisite threshold as stipulated in Chapter 6 of the Constitution on Integrity and Leadership due to the numerous court cases he is currently involved in.
Waweru is known to have declared interest for the governor’s seat and considering that Waititu had contested the race in 2013 and lost narrowly to Evans Kidero, Waweru knew defeating Waititu in Jap nominations could have been a toll order. It is against such fears that political games were played to have Waititu relocate to his birth place of Kiambu.
What is not clear is that whereas almost all Kiambu MPs have indicated their willingness to support Waititu’s bid in 2017 to oust Kabogo, Uhuru Kenyatta has not come out to speak about it yet he comes from Kiambu county.
Sources say initially Uhuru had during the 2013 elections secretly supported the former Rockfeller Foundation president James Nyoro against Kabogo. It was during the campaigns that Nyoro made a bold move and defected to Narc which was Jubilee affiliate party.
Kabogo however won on TNA ticket on what many now say was due to TNA euphoria that was sweeping across the width and breadth of Kiambu county.
Kabogo garnered 487,631 votes against Nyoro’s 241,658 votes. Others were Nganga mbugua of Safina (6,219), Charles Weru of ODM (27,987), David Githii of UDFP (7,787) and Gakura Kanyanja of APK who got 5,722 votes.
It is also important to note that Uhuru gave Nyoro a soft landing spot. He was appointed President’s advisor on Food Security and Climate Change. It is belived Uhuru could be planning to have hoim clinch the seat come 2017. The entry of Waititu into the race could further complicate matters for Nyoro but with Uhuru’s support, Waititu could be in for a rude shock.
Investigations reveal that Kabogo has fallen out with Kiambu MPs who campaigned for him during the 2017 elections. But the big question is what caused the big fallout?
Insiders in Kiambu politics say that Kabogo’s woes began with a row over the location of county offices followed by an attempt by the rep to oust Nick Ndichu as county assembly speaker.
Many theories on what could be wrong in Kiambu county have been advanced. One of the theories is that allies of Uhuru could be behind Kabogo’s predicament since Uhuru was allegedly opposed to his leadership from the onset.
The other theory is that parties with vested interests might be colluding with the MPs to bring Kabogo down before he finishes his term. We have information that in the last elections, only Mama Ngina Kenyatta supported Kabogo to run for the gubernatorial seat. The rest of the Kenyatta family were behind Nyoro.
Area leaders and professionals from the county say one of the reasons why the governor is facing a lot of challenges is that he lacks good political advisers. They argue that Kabogo should have constituted an all-inclusive cabinet. A mix of politicians, professionals and businesspeople would have saved him a lot of trouble.
At one time, Kabogo could not agree with the MCAs on the location of county offices when he took office. While the MCAs and area MPs wanted the offices to remain in Kiambu, he moved them to Thika town.
According to Waititu, Kabogo has failed Kiambu people and that for a long time, Kiambu has experienced poor leadership despite the fact that the county has produced two presidents, its residents are still wallowing in abject poverty, education standards remain poor and of great concern to Waititu is the county’s potential that has remained untapped despite its proximity to the Nairobi.
Leading the campaigns for Waititu though secretly is area senator Kimani wa Matangi. He is said to have lobbied for Waititu during the Kabete by-elections. It is being rumoured that he plans to be Waititu’s running mate in 2017.
Several MPs from Kiambu county among them Kimani Ichungw’a, Kikuyu, and Alice Ng’ang’a, Thika Town, have already expressed their dissatisfaction with Kabogo’s leadership style and are fully behind Waititu’s candidature.
To show how some MPs hate Kabogo, Ichung’wa in a telling post on his Facebook page said Kiambu has now got a father. “My congratulations to the people of Kabete our good brothers and sisters on the peaceful and democratic nominations. Congrats to Baba Yao who now becomes Baba wetu! Pamoja tuendelee,” Ichung’wa posted on his page.
Ng’ang’a also said she has got a father after Waititu was declared the winner. Ng’ang’a is a well known Kabogo opponent and she has vowed to ensure Waititu wins the race in 2017.
The entry of Waititu into Kiambu politics has been seen by many as a fresh headache for Kabogo. The embattled Kiambu governor has been criticised by many for increasing rates leading to protests. Most of the protests have been led by Kiambu MPs opposed to his leadership.
In his victory speech, Waititu promised to finish all the projects the former MP George Muchai had started, saying his office will be open for everybody who would want to see him.
“I have never turned anyone away. I will not start after being elected as Kabete MP. I will do projects that will benefit the constituents as we finish those which our MP Muchai was doing,” he said.
We have also established that after being cleared by the court, Waititu last week disclosed that he was talking to his opponents so that they can withdraw their candidature and stop talking Kabete electorate in a by-election process would ultimately lose to him.
On Kabogo’s leadership, Waititu said “Although I don’t want to fuel the smoldering fire in Kiambu, let Kabogo know that if he doesn’t bring all leaders on a round table for the prosperity of the county, I will personally spearhead campaign to collect signs to kick him out of office. He knows if I start something I finish it. He should come to his senses,” Waititu said.
On whether he has a valid degree which is a requirement for a gubernatorial candidate, Waititu said he is qualified to be governor and that by mid July this year.
In a quick rejoinder, Kabogo has asked MPs and reps to respect the governorship. He expressed concerns saying that most of the area MPs have no respect for his seat.
“Kiambu leaders especially MPs and MCAs must learn to respect the governorship. Don’t respect Kabogo but respect the county government,” he said. Kabogo said that some leaders have openly disrespected the county by opposing development plans that are meant to uplift the living standards of the people.
At one time, five MPs threatened to have Kabogo impeached over his remark against unmarried women whom he termed them as failures in life and that they should not be elected to office.
Ng’ang’a, Francis Munywa of Juja, Ichungwa, Francis Njenga of Gatundu and Mburu Kahangara of Lari told Kabogo to apologise to the women of Kenya for making such reckless statements against them.
They vowed to use all means possible to remove Kabogo from office including impeachment just like his Embu friend, Martin Wambora.