Ndaragwa Constituency: Reactivated DP complicates matters for Gachara's bid

The revamped Democratic Party has taken the first step to assert itself in the constituency by adopting the old Kanu style of dealing with opponents.

The party has deleted the name of MP Muchiri Gachara from the roll of life members. Expelling what is considered to be errant members is a move that was known to only Kanu of the late 1980s.

The punishment follows Mr Gachara’s perceived defection to Narc Kenya and his action to turn the DP offices into the new party’s premises which, his opponents argue, was done unprocedurally.

However, Ndaragwa DP branch chairman Stephen Muthee explained that Mr Gachara’s membership was cancelled for his failure to remit monthly contribution to DP headquarters.

Mr Gachara was named the Narc-K branch chairman in the recent grassroots elections.

The re-emergence of DP as a formidable force in the area has thrown the MP and the civic leaders in disarray.

Earlier, it was hoped that Narc-K, which was perceived to be the party on whose ticket President Kibaki would seek re-election, was the only force in Mt Kenya region.


But the President has kept everyone guessing, and so far there is no clear sign that he will choose Narc-K.

This has caused panic in the region, including Ndaragwa where politicians who think the sitting MP might deny them the Narc-K ticket are flocking to DP, which is also friendly to the President.

The latest development means that Mr Gachara, who could be assured of the Narc-K ticket, will certainly face an opponent from DP.

DP has dominated the local politics since the advent of multipartyism in 1992 when Mr Kibaki quit Kanu to found it. He used it as his vehicle to contest the presidency in 1992 and 1997.

Ndaragwa, being a settlement area, has a large number of people who originate from Nyeri District, and have in most cases named their farms and societies after their home areas.

With the emergence of Narc-K in five recent by-elections — one in Nakuru Town and four in the upper North-Eastern Province — many elected leaders defected from DP to the party.

They thought at the time that President Kibaki, who even campaigned for Nakuru Town Narc-K candidate William Kariuki, had shown them the way to go.

Mr Gachara went full throttle during the recent grassroots elections, going from door to door campaigning which enabled him and his supporters to clinch all the seats in the local Narc-K branch.

He and other parliamentary hopefuls participated in the polls that saw him gang up with some colleagues to defeat his sole rival for the chairmanship, Mr George Kigunyi.

Aspirant Faith Gitau was elected treasurer, while Mr Nguyo Muteru as well as former MPs Thirikwa Kamau and Kimondo Wagura became delegates.

It was surprising that Ms Gitau and Mr Kamau, who had even paid for this year’s DP membership, went to Narc-K.

Mr Muthee promptly moved to revamp DP and launched his bid for the seat.

He is of the view that Ndaragua people need a leader who will mobilise them to come together and seek local solutions to the residents’ problems.

He laments that poor infrastructure has adversely affected the area.

The constituency is semi-arid and elephants continue to wreak havoc in the agriculturally rich Shamata and Raichiri areas.

New faces are Mr John Kioni, who is yet to declare his party, lawyer Njeri Kiagayo, Mr Francis Nderitu and Mr Erastus Ngunguro Kibuka, a former lecturer at Kenya Forestry College in Londiani.

Road network

Mr Kibuka has been moving around the constituency to popularise his candidacy.

The Ndaragwa residents would like to elect a leader who will improve the deplorable road network that has made them incur losses running into millions of shillings due to spoilt farm produce which does not reach the market on time.

Matatus plying the Shamata-Mairo- Inya-Nyahururu road were grounded recently after heavy rains made the roads impassable.

Mr Nderitu accuses the local constituency development fund management team of doing nothing to help the Kimaru and Kwa Njora special units for the physically and mentally handicapped children.

The units, he says, are yet to get help from the Government and rely on well-wishers for food and other basic necessities.

Mr Nderitu, a former provincial cooperative officer and one-time director of New Kenya Cooperative Creameries, is yet to declare his party, but he is looking forward to seeking the ticket of a party that will sponsor President Kibaki re-election bid.

Mr Gachara has visited Kwa Njora Primary School twice since his election and has recently been pushing for the installation of water pipes to the institution.

The CDF committee has spent Sh250,000 on a kitchen block at Kwa Njora and has pledged another Sh400,000 for a dining hall.

While in the past DP nominations determined who would be MP or councillor, this year’s contests for Narc-K and DP tickets will be merely a dress rehearsal for the General Election proper.

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