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Mzalendo Video Vox Pop Series: Dagoretti Constituency

Posted by on 20th September 2010

Categories: Constituency News Vox Pop

Mzalendo in partnership with the Kuweni Serious team will be traveling around various constituencies to get a sense of how Kenyan voters feel about their MP, about issues facing their constituency, and about solutions they would like to see in place. We welcome your feedback.

This video was filmed in Dagoretti constituency.  The interview, echoes the sentiments of a fellow Dagoretti constituent when she points poor roads as a perennial problem.   It’s also interesting that she thinks her current MP – Beth Mugo, over-focuses on women’s groups (presume she mean’s older/established) but doesn’t do enough for the youth or the girl child.

Latest CDF report on Dagoretti by the National Taxpayers Association is available here.

Should the CDF be used to support local small businesses?

Posted by on 1st September 2010

Categories: Constituency News Members of Parliament

Mzalendo in partnership with the Kuweni Serious team will be traveling around various constituencies to get a sense of how Kenyan voters feel about their MP, about issues facing their constituency, and about solutions they would like to see in place. We welcome your feedback.

A recurring theme as we work on these videos is the use of CDF funds to support entrepreneurs. Virtually every interviewee has said that they would use CDF funds to support small businesses in the constituency and to help people be self-sustaining. We wonder whether MPs consider are aware of how their constituents feel and whether they could consider using CDF funds to support more entrepreneurial activities rather than start projects that become white elephants?

Mzalendo Video Vox Pop Series: Starehe Constituency

Posted by on 26th August 2010

Categories: Constituency News Vox Pop

Mzalendo in partnership with the Kuweni Serious team will be traveling around various constituencies to get a sense of how Kenyan voters feel about their MP, about issues facing their constituency, and about solutions they would like to see in place. We welcome your feedback.

This video was filmed in Starehe constituency before the recent decision to overturn the results of the 2007 poll was announced. It is one of the rare constituencies we visited where people had a strong and fact-based opinion on whether their MP was active or not.

The immediate former MP is Bishop Margaret Wanjiru. Her official constituency website is here. Latest CDF stats available here.

Mzalendo Vox Pop: Cheruto from Aldai

Posted by on 29th April 2010

Categories: Constituency News

We are launching a new feature on the Mzalendo blog, something we are calling Mzalendo Vox Pop where we invite Mzalendo users / constituents discuss issues affecting their constituency in more detail.

Our first featured constituent is Cheruto from Aldai Constituency. Her MP is Dr. Sally Kosgei.

Name: Cheruto

Current Problems/Challenges in Aldai: Aldal constituency has a large number of youths and most of them are idle and have resolved to alcoholism…Jua Kali sheds has never been brought up in the place,now what about the fish ponds there is no such initiative in the constituency. Kazi kwa vijana initiative… the youth does not know even what its all about. Why can’t some of the CDF funds be allocated to sponsors sports for the youth? Another problem is access to bursary funds. The disadvantaged students have been subjected to hard times in getting them as you are given in accordance to who you are. Thanks to a newly appointed female chief, at least there is a slight change.

How effective is your MP? On rare occasions does our MP visit the constituency to address the wananchi…unlike the former MP.

If you could meet your MP what would you tell her: Madam, your people need to see and hear from you. We need more institutes, polytechnics, colleges and moreso a university for that matter. It is great Madam that you have boosted the state of women groups in the constituency but what about us the youth? We are the future but where are our priorities,where have you placed us ???????? Sorry to say so but former MP could hear the youth for instance at the press of the button of your mobile phone he could assist you. Madam why cant you get us a contact number for the constituents so that we could be able to share with you the issues affecting you constituency and also the progress?

Interesting take on the situation in North Eastern Province

Posted by on 3rd September 2008

Categories: Constituency News Uncategorized

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.

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.

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.