Kaiti Constituency: MPs fortunes to drop if party quits ODM

Kaiti constituency is an ODM Kenya zone and the seat could go to an aspirant who wins the party ticket.

Kaiti MP Gideon Ndambuki, who helped create ODM-K popularity in Ukambani, is in a fix since his party Kanu has threatened to pull out of the coalition.

Mr Ndambuki bid to retain his parliamentary seat with much ease might therefore nosedive if Kanu servers links with ODM-K.

The orange party enjoys huge support in his Kaiti constituency and any about-turn would mean the MP changes tact.

All through, the MP has been at the forefront in selling ODM-K in Ukambani, and especially Kaiti.

By pulling out of the ODM-K, Kanu might end up on its own. This would leave the orange party with no option but to field its candidate.

This may not augur well for Mr Ndambuki and, for the second time in five years, he would be forced to go the extra mile in fighting off yet another euphoria in the region.

It would be interesting to see how Mr Ndambuki moves to counter the wave that he actively helped to create.

Critics say the development may impact negatively on Mr Ndambuki and hence should not open his champagne bottle yet.

The candidates now lining up to oppose the MP include nominated MP Adelina Mwau, former MP Garvase Maingi, Mr Somba Mutiso, Mr Peter Matolo, Mr Jonathan Mutua, Mr Joseph Muthembwa, lawyer Simon Musyoka Mbevi and novelist David Maillu.

A senior official with the Kenya Industrial Estate, Mr Mathew Malinda, has also shown interest. Marshals East Africa employee Francis Kimanga is latest entry.

Other female candidates being mentioned are Ms Janet Mutisya and Ms Rose Kasema.

Mr Ndambuki is confident of retaining the seat he first won in 1997 when Kaiti was curved from Kilome.

There is a general feeling that the man has a way of fighting off stiff competition even when the tide appears to be against him.

Weathered the storm

He weathered the storm of 2002 Narc wave to win the seat on Kanu ticket.

He is the only Kanu MP in the region that saw 16 out of the 17 constituencies go to opposition parties.

He is exuding confidence that Kaiti voters will give him a chance to serve a third term.

“If I passed that 2002 test, believe me I am confident this time around, it will be a no contest for me,” he said.

It is his style of doing constituency business that endears him to people.

He has made it a routine to be with his constituents from Thursdays and only leaves on Tuesday for Nairobi to attend Parliament.

He has initiated development projects in education, health and water supply. This has made him a hard nut to crack.

Mr Ndambuki, a banker by profession, served as a Cabinet minister in three positions during the Moi regime.

He is currently the shadow minister for Water, Irrigation and Environment in the official Opposition Kanu party.

Surprise entry

The surprise entry of Mr Maingi has been viewed as a wider scheme by the ODM-K to check Mr Ndambuki’s influence in Kaiti. This is in view of the latest developments between Kanu and ODM-K.

Mr Maingi represented the bigger Kilome before Kaiti was split from it.

He missed the 1992 polls after he lost out during the Kanu nominations under controversial circumstances to newcomer Tony Ndilinge (now deceased) who went on to win the seat.

When Kaiti constituency was curved from Kilome in 1997, Mr Maingi shifted his base to the new area but once again found himself locked out by Kanu leadership that preferred Mr Ndambuki.

Mr Maingi is making a comeback after a 15-year absence.

Mr Maingi retired in 1980 from Adidas sports firm where he was the marketing executive officer in charge of Africa and Europe.

He thinks Mr Ndambuki needs an experienced politician of his calibre to give him serious competition.

During his tenure in Parliament, Mr Maingi was an active debater.

He says he sat in meetings that came up with proposals that led to hiving off Makueni District from the bigger Machakos.

He was also instrumental in urging the Government at the time to tarmac the 90-km Machakos-Makueni road in the late 1980s.

Mr Maingi still has a score to settle with the MP who he says was given the Kanu ticket for the 1997 poll in controversial circumstances.

Mr Maingi says the MP is taking undue credit for various projects among them health, schools and water that he helped to initiate during his term.

“When people see Mr Ndambuki carry on with projects that I started, they think that he is the one who started them. They don’t know that I was the brains behind the successes he attributes to himself, which is why I am back in a big way to show the difference,” he says.

Started campaigns

Mr Mutiso started his campaigns early and has been engaged in hosting many social events, especially those targeting the youths.

He is also penetrating women groups and has assisted them financially.

On his part, Mr Mbevi who unsuccessfully contested the seat in 2002, wants to make for the mistakes that saw him lose the Narc ticket to another candidate.

Mr Muthembewa, 54, has been on the Kaiti political scene since 1997. The retired education administrator runs a private academy.

Mr Mutua, who has just quit the construction career where he has been for the last 30 years, is making his debut in politics.

Mr Muthembwa and Mr Mutua are accusing the MP of bias in the use of the CDF kitty.

They accuse the MP of using the CDF to build mortuaries instead of helping develop the area to benefit the living.

Mr Muthembwa said thus: “As much as we respect the dead, we still feel it was a waste of money for the MP to have settled for mortuaries in Kaiti when there were many other priority projects that could have benefited from the funds.”

Mr Kimanga has entered the fray in a style and his campaign machine appears to be well oiled.

He is currently the chairman of the Board of Governors of Ndolo Secondary School in the constituency.

He is also a founder member and leader of a local welfare group that draws its membership from all over the constituency.

Ms Mwau is an assistant minister for Labour in charge of Manpower Development.

She is renewing her rivalry with Mr Ndambuki which started in 1997 when she contested the seat on a Social Democratic Party ticket and came third.

Before she ventured into politics, Ms Mwau had made a name in the civic education projects in Kaiti and beyond.

She entered parliamentary politics in 2003 after she was nominated through the influence of Kitui Central MP Charity Ngilu who was then close to her.

They were good friends then but, as they say in politics that there are no permanent friends or enemies, Ms Mwau and Mrs Ngilu fell out as soon as she entered Parliament.

It was a time when Mrs Ngilu was forcing pressure from a group of top Kibaki allies who wanted to get her out as the Narc chairman.

This group took a number of Mrs Ngilu’s allies and Ms Mwau was one of them.

In the December elections, Ms Mwau is likely to enter the field using her own tact and resources.

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