Natembeya hangs up boots after 26 years in civil service

Prominent administrator wants to succeed Patrick Khaemba in Trans Nzoia.

In Summary
  • While declaring his shift to politics at his office boardroom in Nakuru, Natembeya said he served the public wholeheartedly.
  • The long-serving administrator said he was proceeding on terminal leave during which he will officially hand over the office to his successor as required by law.
Rift Valley regional commissioner, George Natembeya addresses the press at his office in Nakuru.
TURNS NEW LEAF: Rift Valley regional commissioner, George Natembeya addresses the press at his office in Nakuru.

Rift Valley regional commissioner George Natembeya has hang his boots after 26 years of public service.

Natembeya on Wednesday said his resignation is in readiness for his political ambition as Trans Nzoia governor in the August polls.

The commissioner spoke at his office boardroom in Nakuru, flanked by all 14 county commissioners from Rift Valley

The long-serving administrator said he was proceeding on terminal leave during which he will officially hand over the office to his successor as required by law.

While declaring his shift to politics, Natembeya said he served the public wholeheartedly.

He also said he had no regrets because every move he made was after extensive dialogues and consultations. He said he involved both junior and senior colleagues, the affected communities and stakeholders.

Natembeya thanked President Uhuru Kenyatta for granting him the opportunity to serve Kenyans and his support especially during the two and half years he was the Rift Valley regional commissioner.

The region has a myriad of challenges raging from banditry, cattle rustling, ethnic conflicts due to land and water issues and retrogressive cultures such as FGM.

It also faces external aggression by communities in the neighbouring countries of Uganda, Sudan and Ethiopia mainly caused by cattle rustling.

Natembeya also thanked Interior Cabinet Secretary, Fred Matiang'i and his immediate boss, Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho.

"I worked well with the help of the Inspector General of Police, Hilary Mutyambai and Directorate of Criminal Investigations boss, George Kinoti to reduce cases of cattle rustling in the region," he said.

The RC thanked his wife and children for always standing with him and supporting him despite his long working schedules that deprived them his presence.

Natembeya listed his success stories during his 26-year service as an administrator.

He said he fought the outlawed Mungiki sect members and illicit brews in Murang'a on his first assignment as a district commissioner in 2008.

"The sect was deeply rooted in Murang'a with members forming their parallel government, terrorising residents and demanding cess.

"However, with firmness and help from all the security organs, the sect members were overpowered and peace was restored," he said.

Natembeya said he also fought to curb consumption of illicit liquor which Muranga women decried rendered their men helpless.

"I was later transferred to Kamukunji in Nairobi at a time when attacks with improvised explosive devices by suspected al Shabab militants were rampant and the incidents went down progressively," he said.

Natembeya started public service immediately after his first degree in anthropology at the University of Nairobi in 1996. He worked as a district commissioner in Kilgoris and Trans Mara in Narok.

Four months into public service, he was recalled at the UoN for a masters scholarship because of his exemplary performance in the previous course.

In his quick rise from a graduate district officer to a personal assistant of one of the most powerful cabinet ministers in the country, Natembeya was moved from Kamukunji to Narok.

While in Narok he dealt with FGM, early marriages and helped in the restoration of Mau Forest complex after which he was appointed regional commissioner of the largest province in Kenya.

"It should be known that contrary to claims that only one community was evicted from Maasai Mau Forest block, there were many communities there.

"Some settlements were even named in Maasai or Kisii languages but some people wanted to politicise and weapons the exercise," he said.

Natembeya said Mau Forest restoration resulted in peace that is being felt as far as Tanzania in Serengeti which had started experiencing resource related conflicts due to inadequate water and pasture.

He also said peace and security had been achieved in many parts of South and North Rift. This includes Nakuru which has always been an epicenter of election relation violence since the infamous 1992 ethnic clashes.

Natembeya said he learnt a lot in terms of leadership and work ethics when he served as a personal assistant to former Internal Security minister, John Michuki whom he described as a perfectionist and a disciplinarian.

The county commissioners said they thrived better with Natembeya's able leadership adding that he was always firm and fair in his decisions.

Joshua Nkanatha of Kajiado, Herman Shai of Isiolo, Sam Ojwang of Trans Nzoia and Ahmed of Elgeyo Marakwet all said that Natembeya had been their leading star and model from whom they have drawn many leadership skills.

Omar said Natembeya always protected his juniors whenever they were in regions or situations that needed protection.

He said the people of Trans Nzoia would get a great leader if they elected Natembeya as their governor.

Nakuru journalists prepared a surprise farewell party for the administrator complete with a cake and non-alcoholic champagne to pop.

They described him as an amiable person who was ready to give information they sought.

(Edited by Bilha Makokha)