Seven aspirants have joined forces in their bid to break the Nyagah family’s 50-year hold on Gachoka constituency. However, they are among 18 hopefuls out to wrest the seat from one of the Nyagahs.
The seven, who met in Kiritiri market at the weekend, claim to have the community’s approval to pick one of the 18 to oppose the incumbent, Mr Joe Nyaga. The MP is the first born of Mr Jeremiah Nyagah, who represented the area between 1957 and 1992.
The seven are Nairobi-based accountant David Muchungu, engineer Boniface Gikuya, national organising secretary of the Matatu Owners’ Association Henry Kivuti, social development consultant Juma Magara, Gachoka Ford People chairman Frederick Kivuti Kiverenge, businessman Nthiga Mwaniki and Mavuria councillor Nduma Minigi, who is also the group’s chairman.
They invited the other 11 hopefuls to join them and bring a change in the area’s leadership.
According to the group, their previous attempts to oust the Nyagah family failed because aspirants entered the election campaigns divided.
They said that during the Nyagah family’s domination of politics in the area, education and other social development programmes stagnated as neighbouring areas progressed.
The family first won the seat in 1957 when Jeremiah Nyagah was elected to the Legislative Council (Legco). He was in Kenyatta Cabinet after Independence and continued to be re-elected until 1992 when he passed the baton to son Norman Nyagah, now the Government Chief Whip and MP for Kamukunji in Nairobi.
Norman, who was then in the Democratic Party, did not defend his Gachoka seat in 1997 and instead moved to Kamukunji. He left the Gachoka seat for his brother Joe, who won on a Kanu ticket in 1997 and retained (narrowly) on a Narc ticket in 2002.
In 1997, it was widely believed that
At the weekend, the seven leaders accused the Nyagah family of failing to use their positions in Government to lobby for goodies for their community.
According to them, the family has been blocking development initiatives in the area. Although the semi arid constituency hosts the biggest hydroelectric power dams in
But Mr Joe Nyaga, who is also an ODM-Kenya presidential aspirant, says it is not his fault that God had chosen his family to lead Gachoka. According to him, all leaders were chosen by God.
“As a man who believes in God and the Bible, I believe that it is Him who chose my father, my brother and myself to lead Gachoka people and it is Him who will determine when my family should move from the scene,” he said.
On criticism that Gachoka had a water shortage, the MP said that in the last five years he had overseen the building of 36 dams using CDF funds and donations from well-wishers.
The biggest market in the constituency, Kiritiri, will soon have piped water at a cost of Sh60 million.
He said through his initiatives, Karaba market was connected to electricity while another Sh34 million electrification project was under way.
Still, he has to contend with criticism that he had been disrespectful to President Kibaki.
His opponents said they would mobilise Mbeere District’s 100,000 voters for the President.
The seven said they would soon hold a series of meetings before a final rally at Kiritiri where they will ask the public to endorse one of them to face Mr Nyaga.
They were optimistic that the remaining 11 candidates — who did not join them at the weekend rally — would be teaming up with them to craft what they called the end to “the fifty-year dynasty”.
They also resolved to extend a hand of friendship to the Kamba community in Mwea area of the constituency.
The group alleged that the family was previously winning by importing voters from neighbouring Embu, Kirinyaga and Murang’a districts.
The seven said electoral decisions on the constituency should be left to Gachoka people and warned “outsiders” who had registered at St Luke’s, Iriaitune and Rianjeru polling stations that they would not be allowed to vote this time round.