Entries from December 13th, 2007

Rarieda Constituency Profile (Part 2)

Posted by on 13th December 2007

Categories: Constituency News

By Mzalendo Reporter
*This profile was written before the nominations process was conducted.

During the year 2002 general elections Tuju garnered 15,949 against :”Malo Malo’s” 5,427 and Odindo 94 and the late Odiek Songa’s 367 votes. Malo is touted as one of the most credible challengers to Tuju. He comes from central Asembo just like Engineer Nicholas Gumbo and same as Tuju giving the voters a hard task to decide who among them to be left given that they are all “our sons”.

This is the second time Malo Malo will be making a go for the seat. During the last general elections, he defected from the Narc party and joined the then James Orengo’s fronted Social Democratic Party where came second beating Ford People’s Odindo Adem. However, despite giving free Primary school uniforms, professionals from Rarieda constituency argue that are not ready to elect Malo Malo given that his academic past is questionable. On his part, aspirant Nicholas Gumbo will have lack of finances as his major undoing if money is to decide who becomes the next Rarieda MP. He also has another major political setback; during the LDP, KANU and LPK merger in 2002, youths associated with the aspirant attacked the area voters, who still hold grudges. The voters argue that rather than taking Gumbo to parliament, they should return Tuju. Lawyer Otiende Amollo is also in the race. He comes from Uyoma and his critics argue that he does not have any vision for the constituency. Residents call him a political baby. Your browser may not support display of this image. He has however made inroads into the vast constituency opting to concentrate his votes soliciting quest on women and youth groups as well as churches. The aspirant says that his major vision for the constituency is poverty eradication and fighting illiteracy. He is also financially endowed. He claims that he will change Rarieda for the better as the constituency is endowed with resources and it needs only proper planning and strategy.

The voters are mostly eager to get what the aspirants say regarding the cotton industry that collapsed more than a decade ago, access to loans, the fishing and fruit industries, forestry, water supply and telephone services.

Rarieda will definitely be one of the constituencies to watch as the election draws near.

Rarieda Constituency Profile (Part 1)

Posted by on 11th December 2007

Categories: Uncategorized

By Mzalendo Reporter

(*This profile was written before the party nominations were held).

Rarieda Constituency is one of the rural constituencies in Luo – Nyanza. It has over 48,000 registered voters and was created after being hived out of the old and larger Bondo constituency in the middle of the 1980s. Most of Rarieda constituents live below the poverty line. This is due to minimal economic activities within the constituency.

Today, residents of this constituency are presently holding their breaths as they anticipate the kind of politics the area will witness. However, many still agree that the man to beat is the immediate former Member of Parliament and NARC – Kenya Chairman Raphael Tuju. Despite being in opposing camps with the Luo kingpin and ODM presidential candidate Raila Amollo Odinga, Tuju is still expected to put up a show come the December 27 general election. It has however been hard for Tuju-the foreign affairs minister- to sell his Narc-Kenya party, which is an affiliate of President Kibaki’s Party of National Unity. It has also been hard for him to sell President Kibaki’s PNU in the region simply because of the Orange Democratic Party wave and its presidential candidate Raila. However, Tuju’s chances have been boosted by the many development projects he has initiated for the last five years.
Tuju has made it clear that his priorities are on development, not endless politicking. Even his critics concede that during his tenure, there has been a rapid transformation in Rarieda constituency.

Indeed, during his tenure, Tuju has turned Rarieda into a model constituency not only in Nyanza but in Kenya. Some people have, however, attributed this development to the Minister’s closeness to the corridor of power unlike his other Luo MPs who bolted out of the NARC government after the November 2005 constitutional referendum in which the government lost. Raila Odinga led a team of politicians that campaigned against the draft constitution.

The main areas where Tuju has concentrated on are water, electricity, schools, women groups and Aids orphans. The projects initiated by Tuju include power supply from Ndori to Luanda Kotieno through Asembo Bay and the tarmacking of Ndori – Owimbi – Luanda Otieno road. Before the dissolution of Parliament, Tuju was working on housing projects for the widows in is constituency. Tuju has also been effective in lobbying private sponsors from overseas to support Rarieda projects. The mobile health clinic unveiled by President Kibaki was donated by an Italian. The immediate former MP has roped in other groups like Plan International, which assisted in the supply to medicines to rural clinics. On his insistence, the CDF money allocated to Rarieda has been concentrated on women groups, who he is keen to empower as a way of tackling grassroots poverty. Ruma Aids orphanage is one of his pet projects. Though the children stay with relatives, they come to the orphanage for food where they also get assisted with fees, uniforms and vocational training. A Dutch organisation helps with the funding. The orphanage has about 306 children.

Though Rarieda is one of those constituencies closest to Lake Victoria, which is the second largest fresh water lake in the world, there has been constant drought in Asembo and Uyoma, the main regions that make up the constituency. However, under Tuju’s watch, several water projects have been initiated. The first piped water was released to the residents recently at Ong’ielo Dispensary and Nyilima center. It covers a 12 kilometer radius as the project expands to cover the entire constituency. Engineers have been laying water pipes from Lake Victoria to a purifying and pumping station uphill from where it will flow downhill using gravitational pull to ease the water shortage in various parts of the constituency. He has also overseen the construction of hygienic fish landing beaches and refrigerated storage for fish, and is behind the recent introduction of ferry services between Uyoma, Karachuonyo, Asembo-Bay and Mbita in Suba District. The Ferry services has eased the hitherto hazardous canoes transportation system for the fishermen and fish traders. During his campaigns, Tuju has promised to tarmac Madiany-Gagra- Ndigwa road.

Presently Tuju’s critics agrees that he has tried to develop the area unlike before but are quick to point out that much more needs to be undertaken. Many say that apart from a political mistake that he made by “betraying” his Liberal Democratic Party colleagues-by working with President Kibaki’s government-he has done more than necessary and if not for the wealthy and development conscious aspirant he could as well be elected unopposed.
Opponents argue that though CDF fund has been well utilized, the constituency needs income generating projects for small scale entrepreneurs. Tuju has also been criticized of failing to spearhead the establishment of sisal, cotton, mango as well fish processing factories.

Rarieda is, however, said to be a one term affair for any sitting MP as since its establishment it is said that none has gone twice to Parliament. The area’s first MP was former Envoy Bob Jalang’o between 1988 – 1992, and the late Achieng Oneko 1992 – 1997 upon which Odeny Ngure took it in 1997 – 2002 paving way to the current MP Raphael Tuju.
Already, a host of aspirants have lined up ready to unseat Tuju. They include Nairobi based Engineer Nicholas Gumbo, Hotelier Moses Owiti “MaloMalo”, Nairobi based Petroleum Consultant George Obala and the latest aspirant Ugandan based businessmen Paul Odhiambo.
The set up shows that the constituency’s politics will be determined by the area’s two major clans Asembo and Uyoma . The battle will be stiff. Tuju has already lost favour with Raila, the man said to have helped him get the LDP nomination certificate after he was allegedly defeated by one Samson Owiti Malo Malo in 2002.

Constituency Profile: Juja (Part II)

Posted by on 1st November 2007

Categories: 2007 Aspirants Constituency News

By Mzalendo writer

On the other hand, Mr. Thuo is seen as a formidable force, but he will be required to work extra hard if he has any chance of dislodging Kabogo. Constituents have however expressed fears that he might drop out of the campaign like in 2002, when he had campaigned for his election as MP and refused to participate in the election at the 11th hour without explanation. Mr. Thuo however is well enriched in the church Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (Saccos) as he has continuously participated in various religious involvements. If the church decides to throw weight behind him, then he should not be written off.

As for former Juja MP, Stephen Ndichu, constituents have argued that he was not development conscious during his tenure and that he relied on populist politics like uprooting beacons from alleged grabbed land. But he is quick to point out that the CDF kitty was not there when he served as the area MP. Mr. Ndichu argues that by then, MPs could not have developed the constituency through money from their own pockets. Some constituents however accuses him of being a political betrayer arguing that during former President Moi’s era, Mr. Ndichu would shift loyalty from the opposition and join Kanu when his community was supporting
the opposition.

One other aspirant with a bit of a high profile is Mr. Dick Githaiga, he is the founder member of the Democratic Party (DP) in Thika. He is however presently a Narc Kenya activist. He is a prominent businessman with a string of businesses in Thika and currently enjoying state patronage for lucrative contracts. Githaiga has been a resident of Thika for over 30 years. Indeed, he claims that he is the only candidate who permanently resides in the constituency. Mr. Githaiga dismisses his opponents as persons who have residences in Nairobi and only travel to Juja for their political missions. Mr. Githaiga, who is a close friend of the Kibaki family, is known to have almost gone bankrupt after several of his business interest were attached and his flower farm collapsed at Yatta for allegedly campaigning for Mwai Kibaki to dislodge Moi in 1997. During his tenure at the town hall, Mr. Githaiga left a legend as one of the councilors who kept the then Mayor David Njihia’s on his toes over corruption and plot grabbing. On the social scene Mr. Githaiga has participated in various communal projects including development of churches, schools and dispensaries. Mr. Githaiga will be banking on these deeds during his campaigns. His detractors however claim that his main setback is that he cannot express himself adequately. Some constituents have also questioned the way he acquired his immense wealth.

Ms Alice Wanganga is not well known to Juja constituents although she is seen as a courageous woman who kept Mr. Kabogo on his toes during the recent Narc Kenya grassroots elections. She however draws her support from association with youth and women groups. The Narc Kenya activist has participated in various HIV/Aids projects in the Kiandutu and other slums. She has also been organizing clean-up exercises in Thika town and Waiteithie village.

Moving away from the lengthy list of aspirants to the issues – insecurity, widespread poverty, lack of clean water, electricity and unemployment will be the key issues during the campaigns. Aspirants will have to address the issue of slums which are mushrooming in the heart of Thika Town becoming a threat to investors.

Will the amount of money being poured into the constituency by the wealthier aspirants overshadow the issues? Only time will tell…

Constituency Profile: Juja (Part 1)

Posted by on 31st October 2007

Categories: Constituency News

By Mzalendo Writer

It will indeed be a riveting and expensive battle in Juja Constituency, which is in the heartland of Central Kenya, and money is expected to play a critical role in deciding who becomes the next Juja Member of Parliament in the December 27 general elections.

The cosmopolitan constituency, which is in Thika district, is largely a business zone as most of its bigger part is dry thus not conducive for farming. Quarries and coffee estate dominate the bigger part of the constituency.

It has a large immigrant population, which is estimated at 30 percent of the electorate. They are mainly factory workers in the industrial towns of Thika, Ruiru and Juja. Githurai, a populous area adjacent to Nairobi also falls under Juja constituency.


William Kabogo Gitau
, a wealthy and flamboyant Sisi Kwa Sisi politician is the immediate former Juja Member of Parliament and he would be seeking re-election. He is commonly referred to as “Chopper man” for his love of a helicopter which he owns. Come the December general election, Kabogo, 47, will square it out with hordes of aspirants, a notable force being an equally wealthy businessman, the “Citi Hoppa” bus company chief executive Mr. George Thuo. Residents are describing the scenario as the battle between a helicopter and a bus. Mr. Thuo is a business associate of internal security Minister and Kangema legislator Mr. John Michuki. Mr. Kabogo has claimed that Mr. Michuki is on a mission to ensure that his ally and business associate ousts the Chopper man.

There is quite a lengthy list of other aspirants in Juja constituency including: Mr. Dick Githaiga, a constructor and a long time buddy of President Mwai Kibaki; former Juja Member of Parliament Mr. Stephen Ndicho who is currently a preacher; Ms. Alice Wambui Ng’ang’a, a young stone mining agent; Dr. Kiama Wangai an advocate cum pathologist’ Mr. Francis Waititu Munyua an Estate Manager commonly known as “Wakapee”; Mrs. Beatrice Wairimu a women’s leader; Mrs. Mary Kirika, a businesswoman; Mrs. Eunice Gathigia Githua; Mrs. Agnes Wangui Kibugu; Mr. Charles Ng’ang’a Muchai, who contested the seat in 2002 on the ruling National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) ticket and came second to Mr.Kabogo; Mr. David Nzioka and Mr. Boniface Karanja, a social worker with the Anglican Church. It will indeed be a tight pick for the voters in Juja constituency.

Mr. Kabogo has vowed that he will pour money into Juja and make sure that nobody dislodges him. He has however received a lot of negative remarks from constituents for conducting his meet the people tour with a chopper, which is considered showing off. According to residents, he has done very little for Juja people despite his remarks that he has enough money to an extent that he can loan the Kenyan government. Mr. Kabogo is on record saying that he is not in Parliament to make money but to assist poor people of Juja.

As far as his development record, he has installed electricity in most parts of Juja constituency through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). A number of police posts have also been put up through CDF. Those which have been completed include Mwiki Police Post in Githurai location, Prison AP Post (Kihunguro) and Kahawa Sukari Police Post both in Ruiru location. Others include Ndururumo Police Post and Thika Location Chief’s Toilet in Thika location. CDF funds have also been used to put up several health facilities such as Athi Dispensary, Juja Farm dispensary and Gatuanyaga Dispensary, and roads in Kiandutu slums and Athena have been greatly improved.

Mr. Kabogo is praised by many to have a touch for the needy and poor and he is also praised to be a man down to earth despite his immense wealth. He is considered by many voters as somebody who is always on the ground. He is very popular especially with youths and he has stayed close to the ground throughout his entire tenure the last 5 years. This would be a big plus for him come the voting day. He has, however, not been having a cozy time with some key government officials including Michuki who may campaign against him.

Employment Bill Debate (16/10/07)

Posted by on 26th October 2007

Categories: MP Participation News

By Mzalendo Blogger

5:30 pm to 7:00 pm

The house switched into committee mode. MP Gor Sungu took the Speaker’s chair as the chairman of the committee, (not the speaker) and the committee members who debated an Employment Bill.


Minister Newton Kulundu
would stand up and struggle to read that “I propose that clause as amended be approved” and the Chair would then ask MP’s to vote – “those in favor say aye, those who opposed say nay.” And this tedious process had to be repeated for all 80 clauses
in the bill, which took over an hour. It appeared boring, but as we have been told, committees are where debate and legislation is done.

Njoki Ndungu proposed 3 amendments to the Bill :
(i) to increase maternity leave of a new mother from two to three months
(ii) to grant new fathers 2 weeks paternity leave to tend to their new children and
(iii) to delete a clause in the current law that requires private employers who pay maternity costs for staff to be reimbursed by the National Social Security Fund (NSSF)

MP’s Ruth Oniango, Wangari Maathai and Charity Ngilu spoke in support of the maternity extension motions and the bills were passed by the
committee.

After 6:00 PM, the Vice President stood to pass a motion to adjourn the house for the day, and allow the committee to continue their debate thereafter. The house was in committee mode and the language used was slightly different. The VP, Labour Minister and even Njoki has several
time be instructed by the Chairman who himself was probably reading on the proper language to use on things like “make report” “I propose that the bill as amended be adopted” and even had to remind people that he was “Mr. Chairman” not “Mr. Speaker”.

So the Mace was put back on the table and the committee became parliament gain for a minute as the VP adjourned the house for the day. Gor Sunguh was back in his seat as MP, as he addressed the temporary Speaker with a report that the committee would continue
after adjournment. Then the Mace was removed and the committee resumed
its debate on the employment bill, with Sunguh back in the Chair.

After the 80 clauses were passed, MP Njoki Ndungu brought forward another amendment this time to grant a mother who adopts a child the same rights a mother of a newborn baby.

This amendment however did not sail as smoothly as the earlier ones.

It was opposed by Minister Kulundu several times, even once saying that a lady could
give birth and adopt a child every other year and always be on leave to which Njoki replied that was a male viewpoint unlikely to happen in real life. VP Moody Awori challenged the definition of an adopted child saying it did not make sense when a school age child was adopted to award
maternity leave to the mother. MP Justin Muturi asked for a definition of duties of a parent to an adopted child. MP Omingo Magara challenged the wording of the bill that gave mothers, and not fathers, rights to which Njoki replied that it was the current laws that did not recognize father rights to adopt

The amendment was awkwardly worded and Njoki kept amending the amendment – changing “child” to “infant”, deleting “duties”, but even her allies like Ruth Oniango could not fix it. At one time it appears the amendment had passed, but MP Magara said that the ‘final’
amendment had not been read out, and when it was, the amendment was
voted down by MP’s. It was later confirmed that the amendment did pass.

MP Julia Ojiambo stood to add another amendment called ‘gender action’ should proceeded to read out a 5 minute summary of what the Bill hoped to do which was in essence to require that the government balance out
by giving women 30% of employment in public sector. This also led to a lot of debate

Minister Martha Karua stood to support the motion saying it would out into the laws what it no the government position that 30% of public service jobs be set aside for women.

Chairman Sunguh asked that MP’s carefully analyze the amendment since the definition in the amendment was any organization that received public funds, including the parliament – and if that was workable or they would end up in industrial court forever.

Minister Kulundu said that the matter should be addressed to the Minister for Public Service who was present. Minister for Public Service Akaranga added that such an amendment should be directed to the public service reform bill being drawn up by
his ministry to be presented later (even in the next parliament). MP Justin Muturi argued that this would be regulated by a board which was not even in existence and seriously would offer tax breaks to private companies for complying with the 30% law.

Debate was still going on up to 7:00 PM, but the amendment appeared doomed

Finance Bill passed this week – Report by Mzalendo blogger

Posted by on 19th October 2007

Categories: News

By Mzalendo Blogger

5 PM to 5:30 PM

Tail end of the financial bill debate

About 50 MP’s are standing around in the chamber having conversations with each other. Government side seems to have a slight advantage in numbers – 30 to the opposition’s 20. Very loud conversations going on except that of government ministers. After about ten minutes of this, the Speaker shouts out “Where are the Tellers?” and the house gets back into character as MP’s take their seats again.

Three MP’s Kuria Kanyingi, Gor Sunguh and Njoki Ndungu begin a ceremonial march around and into the chambers, then come and bow before the speaker. They announce the results of a vote as being 25 for aye’s and 25 for the nay’s then bow and take their seats.

The speaker (not Kaparo) announces the result again, and adds that house rules give the house speaker a chance to break such a vote and he casts his vote with the aye’s resulting in the opposition side thumping their feet in celebrations. Finance minister Amos Kimunya stands up and challenges the speaker’s vote – asking if he had voted initially and if it was in order for him to vote again? The speaker replies that the rules were clear and that he was in order to break the vote. A few minutes later, he read out the relevant clause for Minister to show that he was within his right to vote (since he was not the House Speaker).

Debate on the financial bill continued.

MP Oburu Odinga got up and proposed an amendment in the bill so that a 20% increase in the cost of used spare parts be deleted, saying that many Kenyans depended on these affordable parts for their cars. Minister Kimunya stood up and said that his intention when he inserted that tax in the budget was to cut down on the dumping of those spare parts – but he has listened to the wishes of the people and he concurred that the tax should be deleted from the bill. Oburu then asked for further tax increase he mentioned on VAT for real estate be deleted from the bill, but Kimunya clarified that the clauses had already been amended by the house and were redundant.

Kimunya then asked that dates of two matters in the budget be amended as part of the bill. First that a tax on plastics to begin on October 1 and another that a tax on liquors to start effective today (October 16) – both of which were passed.

The Finance Bill, which is considered crucial before the house is dissolved for elections, was then passed and MP’s then stood to give comments on the Bill. MP Wangari Maathai stood and commended MP’s for their passage of the bill and especially for the tax on plastic bags since they (bags) were an environmental menace.

MP Otieno Kajwang then stood and asked that when taxes are proposed in the budget/financial bill, they be formulated to promote local entrepreneurs, not multi-nationals.

MP Jakoyo Midiwo added that he agreed with Kajwang’s comments –and wanted the Finance minister to consult more with the finance committee of parliament before coming up with tax proposals. However, as he went on to describe the Finance Minister of being, arrogant and evasive, the speaker cut him off and asked him to restrain his comments – so he finished by saying that he wants the record to show that multi-nationals have continued to intimidate members of the finance committee before ‘going behind their backs to cut deals with the Finance Minister’.

MP Kiema Kilonzo stood and added that Kenya needs a paradigm shift in (i) how bills are formulated to benefit local entrepreneurs and not multinationals and (2) how the finance minister handles his public relations

Finance Minister Kimunya had the final word and stood to thank MP’s for passage o the bill. He described is a difficult process, adding that he had lost weight, to which some opposition MP’s yelled “Farewell!”

He commended the MP’s saying it was their dedication and work that enabled Kenyans to win the international award for 2nd most improved country in Africa and 8th overall in the world

Constituency Profile: Gichugu (Final Part)

Posted by on 18th October 2007

Categories: Uncategorized

By Leah W. Njuguna

ASPIRANTS FOR 2007 ELECTIONS

Harry Mugo
, a professional valuation and quantity surveyor for the last 30 years, is the strongest challenger to Karua. He has maintained a high level of campaigning in the region. Mugo says he is driven by the desire to serve the community. Mugo is calling for an audit of the Gichugu CDF alleging that projects which have been implemented so far do not correspond to the amounts allocated. He has also questioned the CDF committee and contractors selection saying those awarded the tenders were Karua’s cronies. In addition, he points to the poorly performing health sector and the lack of a clear vision for education in the area. According to Mugo, “Education quality has gone down drastically since the school committee and teachers have no motivation for the pupils and students.”

Another serious contender is Fedesius Nyagah, a former director of the Kenya Power and Lighting Company. He resigned to vie for the seat and will be trying to unseat the incumbent for the third time. Nyagah has been involved in horticulture and assisting farmers to get markets for their produce locally and abroad. He also claims to have assisted locals get electricity to their homes.

Dr. Jakan Gutu is another aspirant who cannot be taken lightly. He has promised to provide free medical camps occasionally if elected. The aspirant has been organizing these camps attracting hundreds of sick people. He has also been donating wheel chairs to physical challenged people. “My responsibility is the health of the Gichugu people because once you have good health other things go well,” he told a gathering recently. Gutu has also said he will revive the small scale industries to create employment and improve transport. The aspirant has said his main focus would be women and the youth who he terms as the perfect vehicle to eradicate poverty. Gutu has also said that education will also be his top priority where he will initiate Gichugu education loans board similar to the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) and ensure that no single child is left out of school due to fees. Gutu, who is a director of Kimunye tea factory, has also promised a better deal for tea and coffee farmers if he is elected. It remains to be seen the challenge he will pose to the incumbent MP.

With a number of skeletons in her wardrobe, Karua’s opponents and aspiring politicians will try their best to articulate her failures and why she should be kicked out.
But this will not be an easy task since Karua, being a tough fighter, will use all her muscles in an attempt to re-capture the Gichugu seat.

Constituency Profile: Gichugu (Part 2)

Posted by on 15th October 2007

Categories: 2007 Aspirants 2007 Elections Constituency News

By Leah W. Njuguna

ISSUES IN GICHUGU

Being the seasoned politician that she is, and enjoying the support of State House, Karua is promising a tough fight in Gichugu. Critics contend that besides her frequent visits to the area, Karua has not performed well in uplifting the lives of her constituents. Some claim that she is only involved in national matters and has failed to meet the dire needs of the constituents. Many also consider her as aloof and arrogant saying she must change. Her detractors are citing the alleged rigging of Narc – Kenya party election in Gichugu saying that the provincial administration aided the Minister in the exercise. The aspirants are accusing Karua of neglecting the constituency to an extent that it has performed increasingly poorly in national examinations, especially for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE). Former academic giants like Kianyaga High School, Mutiga Secondary School and Ngiriambu Girls have lost their former stature. In addition, many children have been forced to drop out of school and are either picking coffee or engaging in other cheap labour to supplement their parents’ meagre earnings. There has also been a major outcry over the state of dilapidated roads that slow transportation of goods to Kutus, Kianyaga, Kiamutugu and other market in interior places.
Critics argue that Karua is only available on Mondays at the constituency office and can hardly give an ear to the hundreds who throng the office seeking her attention. However, she is said to be fond of making appearances in religious functions and women groups where she is said to be donating generous amounts of money in the run up to the elections. In addition, since she once served as the Minister for Water Development, Gichugu constituents expected to have water at their doorsteps particularly for irrigation purposes. This did not happen and this made the Gichugu people bitter with their Member of Parliament. Instead, water services were taken over by a private company that is charging for connections and monthly water bills. This has not gone down well with Gichugu residents since most of them are poor hence cannot afford the monthly rates.

Constituents are also complaining that the minister has not done much to improve farming as an economic activity. Of particular concern to them is a project she initiated with the help of an international company where she is said to have some interests. The company was supposed to market French beans grown in the area to international markets. Farmers were in for a shock after the company went under without paying out the proceeds from the delivered crop. Upon raising the issue with the minister, Karua ordered that the farmers be paid using the CDF funds. The controversial 28,000 hectare South Ngariama ranch in Mwea is another bone of contention. The communal land and which was held under trust of the Kirinyaga county council has witnessed killings in bloody confrontations. Members of the ranch drawn from Kirinyaga and Mbeere districts are up in arms against what they call betrayal by the council instigated by local politicians. In the alleged plot, the scheme is up for grab by outsiders who have been allocated land. Sources from within the nine clans who are the real owners of the land allege that legislators from the district are using the land as a campaign tool by dishing it out to their allies and political supporters. Though the Minister hails from Mwea, she is alleged to have conspired with some legislators from the other districts to deny a rightful share to members.

These are some of the areas Karua’s opponents would be capitalizing on during the ongoing campaigns.

Constituency profile: Gichugu (Part 1)

Posted by on 11th October 2007

Categories: 2007 Aspirants 2007 Elections Constituency News

    By Leah W. Njuguna

GICHUGU BACKGROUND

Gichugu constituency in Central Province Kirinyaga district has over 80,000 registered voters and 58 Polling stations. Gichugu is a rich agricultural area with tea and coffee as the main cash crops and horticulture farming. Despite being an agriculturally well-endowed region with rich soils and good rainfall throughout the year, poverty levels are high. The high cost of farm inputs like fertilisers and seeds has greatly affected the economic standards of the region which is also grappling with deteriorating security.

The constituency has been represented by justice and constitution affairs minister Martha Karua for the last 15 years since the introduction of multiparty democracy in 1992. The constituency has fully supported President Mwai Kibaki in the past three elections, and is likely to continue the trend in the forthcoming general elections. Karua, who is also the deputy leader of government business in the house, is probably the most vocal and courageous fighting general for President Kibaki’s administration. She is expected to be one of the key pillars in marketing the newly launched Kibaki’s re-election vehicle, PNU.

The no-nonsense minister is among the few women who can articulate courageously their political stance without fear of intimidation by her male counterparts. In her native Gichugu constituency, her opponents see her as an arrogant woman who never takes a chance to listen to them.

In contrast, majority of Gichugu residents have commended the MP for her development projects through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) ranging from health, water and education. Since the introduction of CDF in 2003, there are over 130 complete and ongoing projects. There are 3 complete health centers in Riakithiga, Gaciongo and Joshua Mbai; four complete water projects in Kianyaga, Nyaru, Mukia and Ngumara; and seven bridges in Kathata, Konyu, Muratiri, Kanjangiri, Njambo, Gatuki and Karoki.
There has also been construction of Day secondary schools in most primary schools with 10 schools complete. This is under a new policy where the government is encouraging construction of secondary schools in unutilized land owned by primary schools. The complete secondary schools under this arrangement include Rukenya, Gatunguru, Kianguenyi, Kiandai, Gacatha, Kiaumbui, Kathunguri, Karumandi, Kavote and Thumaita. She has also assisted several primary schools in electrification and building of new classes for example at Kiathi, Rwambiti, Gikumbo and Kathunguri. Under her patronage, CDF has also aided in the construction of a laboratory at Ngiriambu primary and a youth polytechnic at Kianyaga.

Karua has also funded planting of trees in all sub locations in the constituency at a total cost of Ksh 400,000. She has also set aside Ksh 2.2 million from the CDF kitty to assist poor former students to obtain their secondary school certificates. Other major CDF projects are revival of the old Kutus Market at a cost of over Ksh 2 million, funding of Gichugu Horticulture exporters association at a cost of Ksh 3 million and funding of Gichugu diary at a cost of Ksh 1 million. Karua is also responsible for the construction of Kianyaga sub district hospital through the African Development Bank and the tarmarcking of the Rukenya-Kimunye road.

Mzalendo Constituency Profiles

Posted by on 9th October 2007

Categories: Mzalendo News

In the coming months Mzalendo will be profiling some of the most active constituencies in terms of comments. We will also have a special focus on constituencies being represented by female MPs.

As part of our efforts to showcase the potential impact of combining technology with local knowledge, we have relied on local correspondents to provide us with these profiles.

Let us know what you think about the profiles and help spread the word.

If you would like to see your constituency profiled, please continue to contribute actively to the website.