Why Waititu Could Be Next Kiambu Boss

Were it not for his apparent rough edges, firebrand politician Ferdinand Waititu would have become the governor of Nairobi in the last general election.

However, the mostly aloof middle class joined with the voting masses and across the political divide ditched Waititu for the more educated and suave Dr Evans Kidero.

In the meantime, the masses overwhelmingly elected equally abrasive Mike Sonko as the senator of Nairobi. Many viewed the senate as just another yapping shop that did not require brain-racking.

The position of governor was seen as a purely managerial post that required one with the credentials and experience of a corporate CEO who would efficiently run the company that is the country government.

Just like a good CEO would ensure his company posted profits at the end of each year, enlightened Kenyans went to the polls to elect those who would turn their counties into ‘blue chip firms’ by the end of their term.

That is why Waititu, a man who had served his constituents well (never mind the methods) since the kanjora days, was not elected Nairobi governor.

However in Kiambu, matters were manifestly different with the competitors being the arrogant former MP William Kabogo and the former MD of the Rockefeller Foundation, Africa region James Nyoro.

From the onset, Nyoro’s political naivety was apparent from a mile away and his main opponent did not waste time exploiting this weakness. It was also obvious that comparing Kabogo’s financial muscle to Nyoro’s, was like comparing night and day.

The former also appeared to be closer to the Jubilee political machinery. But despite that a sizeable number of people wanted a CEO and they were decided that their man was the food security expert with international exposure.

As the election neared, Nyoro’s chances became better and it was almost certain that he would be the first governor of Kiambu. Then Uhuru Kenyatta, the presidential candidate for the Jubilee Alliance, practically begged the people of central Kenya to give him the ‘six-piece suit’.

His plea coming as it did amid a highly ethnicised process, weighed heavily on the people of Kiambu and not to disappoint ‘our President’, many changed their minds after this plea and Nyoro’s hopes were shattered overnight.

Two years down the line, the people of Kiambu are a disappointed lot. Due to its proximity to the capital city and because of its advanced infrastructure, it was expected that devolution would favour the county and that by the end of the first term, it would be among the best performers and its people fourfold richer.

The county’s executive started sleeping on the job immediately after the election, most MCAs went to bed with them and anybody who queried this arrangement was rebuked.

Instead of expanding the revenue base through prudent management, the county government chose to overtax traders, farmers and other businesses to the extent that it is difficult to conduct business in Kiambu.

The county government has done very little in service provision and development projects, and it would not be surprising if the county is ranked number 47 by the end of this term.

So hopeless are the people of Kiambu that they have started clutching at straws, and when former Kabete MP George Muchai died, they immediately saw an opening.

They urged Nyoro to contest the Kabete seat as a springboard to the Kiambu governorship, but he was reluctant. Nyoro thought going for the Kabete seat while he hails from Kikuyu constituency, was unethical.

But does politics and do politicians observe any ethics? Nyoro also believed it would be deceitful to contest the parliamentary seat when his real interest is the governor contest, but again who cares?

Then in roared Ferdinand Waititu former Embakasi MP and failed governor of Nairobi ostensibly seeking to fill Muchai’s shoes but essentially answering the cries of Kiambu people for a more people-friendly governor and government.

In the last two years, the myth that only well-heeled, urbane corporate types could manage county governments has been shattered and the action-oriented Waititu and Sonko types are attracting the electorate, their modus operandi notwithstanding.

Waititu told the Kabete people as much during the nomination campaigns, forcing panicky politicians in Kiambu to hide behind the ‘he is a foreigner’ line but the electorate was deaf to these noises.

Flanked by the vocal anti-Kabogo Ngewa MCA Karungo wa Thangwa, the aspirant confirmed his intention on winning the nomination last Saturday, sending shivers down the spines of the county executive and the MCAs who have coupled with them.

Apparently in Waititu, the people of Kiambu have pegged their hope.