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February 23, 2019

No longer at ease: Waititu, Nyoro feud hurting Kiambu

Governor Ferdinand Waititu and Deputy Governor James Nyoro during the swearingin of county executives in Kiambu town last week /STANLEY NJENGA
Governor Ferdinand Waititu and Deputy Governor James Nyoro during the swearingin of county executives in Kiambu town last week /STANLEY NJENGA
The honeymoon seems to be over and the reality of marriage sinking in at the Kiambu county government home - all is not well between Governor Ferdinand Waititu and Deputy Governor James Nyoro.
The county leadership has been under scrutiny from the public following a recent outburst in public.
Before his election, Waititu made a pact with five county politicians to form a formidable force dubbed United for Kiambu. It led to William Kabogo’s loss in the Jubilee primaries and the August 8 poll.
education queries
The five county leaders had to produce a flagbearer for the governor and deputy governor posts. It took long before they could agree on who was best suited despite Waititu being the most popular.
However, queries were raised on his education background.
Nyoro had run for the seat in 2013 but lost, coming a distant second to Kabogo.
He is an agricultural economist and was an adviser to Deputy President William Ruto on food security. He appeared to be best suited to lead the pact as he was well educated.
In the runup to find a running mate, Waititu appeared on a TV station and declared himself as the Jubilee flag bearer. He said the group of five had discussed and settled on his name.
This did not go well with the other four members who denied ever accepting that Waititu should lead them as governor. They described him as an untrustworthy person.
It took the intervention of other Kiambu leaders to reconcile the group and agree on Waititu to lead. Nyoro was to be the deputy governor while Bishop David Gakuyo, John Mugwe and Aquiline Njoki were to be awarded senior positions once they were voted in.
Pre-poll pacts
Reports indicate Waititu, Nyoro and Gakuyo — the main principals — after being elected have disagreed on numerous occasions. The initial agreement was that they would get 30-30-40 per cent shares in the government. Gakuyo was to get more because he was the main financier in the campaigns.
Waititu and Nyoro have been said to argue in the county headquarters over who was leading the county, which at times has nearly ended in a physical fight.
The two reportedly first clashed on the appointment of county executives. Insiders have revealed that members of the coalition are bitter that they were not consulted by the governor on who will be in the Cabinet. They also say they mainly remain on the sidelines on governance issues.
During the swearing in of the executive members, Waititu publicly confirmed they are at loggerheads sometimes but warned the public not to interfere.
“Nyoro, Gakuyo and I will work as a team. Sometimes, however, we will be disagreeing but afterwards, we work together. People often disagree with their wives and later move on. Even during campaigns, we did it that way and we went on until we won,” the governor said.
Gakuyo was the only principal who was not given an executive job. Instead, he was given an appointment letter to be the political and economic adviser to the governor. Gakuyo publicly called on the governor to do an honourable ceremony for him.
“Only a fool can ignore me in this government. Even though I was not given a position I am the adviser to the governor and I would hope the governor will award me with a ceremony too,” he said.
On Sunday at a church ceremony where the Deputy President was present,  Waititu insinuated that Nyoro scolds him a lot and is making too much noise. This did not go down well with Nyoro.
When he got the chance to address the congregation, the deputy governor said those are “small things that should not have been said in front of the DP”.
“Deputy President sometimes you tell us that at times there are some small issues which should not be shared in public and I did not think that the small issues in Kiambu with my governor will be shared, but it is okay,” Nyoro said.
roadside declarations
He has been overheard saying he does not appreciate the way Waititu leads. The deputy governor says Waititu makes roadside declarations which they have not discussed and could hurt their administration if they fail to deliver.
In September, Waititu said his administration will only license sale of certain recognised brands of alcoholic drinks to get rid of illicit alcohol.
Waititu said he will not give blanket licences to bar owners. He spoke during the opening of the second county assembly in Kiambu town. The governor said the county will review the Kiambu Alcoholic Drinks Control Act, 2013, to make it more effective.
At one time during President Uhuru Kenyatta’s reelection bid, Waititu convened a meeting at Sahara West restaurant in Ruaka with elected leaders and former leaders.
They meant to discuss how to campaign for Uhuru. Waititu opted to distribute funds himself for mobilisation in the campaign rallies. The move was not taken well by Nyoro, who left the scene in a huff.
Efforts to reach the deputy governor have been futile as his phone went unanswered.
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