• Omondi rightly represented the diversity of Kiambu county.
• He also set the pace for a non-Kikuyu candidate to be elected as MP in the near future.
News of the passing on of Kahawa Wendani MCA Cyrus Omondi has shocked many people across the county and beyond.
This is because he wasn’t sick at the time of his demise and that there is suspicion around the cause of his death. Popularly known as Ja Gearbox, Omondi was a great ground mobiliser, having been elected as a Luo MCA in a predominantly Kikuyu constituency.
He had vied on an ODM ticket in 2013 but lost to a Mr Kantata who ran on a TNA ticket. In 2017, however, he changed tact and joined the Jubilee Party and trounced 15 other aspirants to win in the primaries. Despite some of his opponents running as independents or on other parties, Omondi or Cyro went ahead to win the main election on August 8, 2017.
I came to know him when we were together in the Orange party and as fate would have it, we decamped to Jubilee together and he succeeded. When I was in high school and later on in campus, I would buy some fish at Kahawa Wendani stage from Mama Akinyi, or Akinyi. This was Omondi’s mother and sister respectively.
We grew up in the same neighborhood and it was quite unfortunate for the impeached Governor Ferdinand Waititu to ask residents not to elect outsiders to any county seat, when he presided over the issuance of bursaries at an event at Kiambu Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) in 2018.
He was then referring to Omondi as a foreigner, and who was elected by outsiders for them to take over jobs meant for Kiambu residents. Ironically, it’s Waititu himself who was an ‘outsider’ having come from Nairobi’s Embakasi, to be elected as Kabete MP, after the murder of George Muchai. He, later on, became governor, despite having no known ancestry in Kiambu county.
Many people from different communities reside in Kiambu and it is estimated that more than 30 per cent of the residents are from the non-dominant ethnic community. In fact, many of them speak fluent Kikuyu and they don’t know any other home other than Kiambu. They are part of the community there and to put this into perspective, the MCA for Juja ward is actually Jayandra Mande from the Asian community.
Kiambu is the second-largest county in terms of population, currently standing at 2.42 million people since it’s the bedroom of Nairobi, the capital city. Omondi, therefore, rightly represented the diversity of the county. He also set the pace for a non-Kikuyu candidate to be elected as MP in the near future. It is actually a matter of time going by what happened to similar constituencies in Nairobi such as Kasarani, Embakasi, Lang’ata and also in Lamu.
His election is a testament to the fact that it is possible to live and be elected anywhere in this great republic. In fact, there are currently so many young people who have been born and raised up in places that aren’t traditionally belonging to their ethnicity, a sign that Kenya is finally becoming truly cosmopolitan.
I have Kikuyu friends who are born and bred in Busia, but when you ask them where they come from, they say they are from Murang’a yet they have little direct connection with the latter other than one of their parents having come from there.
Many of the residents of Kahawa Wendani will remember Cyro for the good deeds that he did, always being there for them. He had a wide network, especially amongst the youth.
Having been born of a father who worked at Kahawa Barracks, Cyrus rose to become a mechanic hence his nickname Gearbox. He was steadfast in fighting together with us when I led the Senate Education Committee to investigate the grabbing of land belonging to the Kiambu Institute of Science and Technology.
He had worked hard to put murram on many roads in the one square kilometer ward that acts as a dormitory to both Kenyatta University’s main campus (my alma mater) and the army barracks. Omondi was also very active in the Scouts’ Movement, leading expeditions and delegations to many places across the country. A dedicated servant of the people, he reminded the youth that they could rise to become anything that they so dreamt of.
At the time of his death, he wasn’t known to suffer from any illness. There are speculations that he suffered from a heart attack but this should be thoroughly investigated, especially due to the role he played in fighting corruption in Kiambu county.
Cyrus Omondi, JaGearbox aka Mtambo wa Chuma. May his soul Rest In eternal Peace.