Denials by controversial former Embakasi MP Ferdinand Waititu that he is in the race to replace slain Kabete MP George Muchai appear to have been a carefully choreographed smokescreen to throw opponents off-guard.
Known as ‘Baba Yao’ (their father), Waititu’s candidature could be a game changer in the volatile Kiambu County where governor William Kabogo has been facing strident but consistent opposition from elected leaders, notably Thika Town MP Alice Ng’ang’a, whom he once accused of being incapable of leadership because she is an unmarried woman.
He later apologised for the slur.
MPs Kimani Ichungwa (Kikuyu), Alice Ng’ang’a (Thika Town), Kigo Njenga (Gatundu North) and Mburu Kahangara (Lari) accuse the governor of operating like a lone ranger and making decisions without consulting elected leaders. At the centre of the storm is Kabogo’s decision to station the county headquarters in Thika town, against the wishes of local residents who preferred Kiambu.
“When I speak about him relocating the county headquarters from Kiambu to Thika unilaterally, it is a fact that he ignored what the people said at Kiambu Community Hall – that our county headquarters should be in Kiambu Town,” says Kimani Ichungwa, adding that the relocation of the county’s headquarters was for Kabogo’s convenience, which is very inconveniencing for wananchi in areas bordering Kajiado and Naivasha.
“When we raise those issues, Kabogo, in his normal chest-thumping style, says, ‘I have offices in every sub-county’. But he has not devolved all the services that people need. It has been two years. They actually built new offices in Kiambu, but the office block is lying idle,” Ichungwa charged, adding that Kabogo also increased levies and rates through the
Finance Bill by up to 500 per cent without offering services in return, and describes Kikuyu township as “one mass of filth!”
Ichungwa notes that, “When we told the governor to listen to the people, he said ‘you will know I am now the king in Kiambu, what I say is what will be done’. Personally, I have given up on him. He can’t change. I think it is in his character.”
The legislator notes that, “Only two weeks ago, some committee rejected a plan to buy vehicles for ward administrators worth Sh360 million. These are equivalent of sub chiefs. You don’t need to buy a vehicle for a ward administrator to go around a village. They tell our people that at night the vehicles will be used to provide security, as if the ward reps are police officers.” He adds that the county uses Sh2 million to renovate a classroom, yet he (Ichungwa) has built four new classrooms at Sh2.1 million in the same neighbourhood.
If Waititu is elected Kabete MP, it would cause complications for the embattled Kabogo who apart from contending with hostile MPs, is not particularly in good terms with Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi.
Observers say the only reason Waititu is seeking office in Kabete is to prepare to take on Kabogo, a wealthy and flamboyant if equally controversial businessman, for