When Nakuru municipality was awarded a city charter by President Uhuru Kenyatta on December 1, 2021, Senator Susan Kihika was conspicuously missing from the historic and colourful event.
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But her decision to skip the rise of her hometown to Kenya’s fourth city was not entirely surprising.
Kihika had from the onset opposed the conferment of city status to Nakuru despite the town having met all the requirements.
She had joined hands with local MPs Kimani Ngunjiri (Bahati) and David Gikaria (Nakuru Town East) and put up a high-spirited fight to have the elevation deferred for another 10 years arguing that Nakuru was not ready.
In a well-orchestrated scheme to sabotage Governor Lee Kinyanjui’s efforts to deliver a city to the people of Nakuru, Kihika used her position as the county’s senator to frustrate the process by colluding with other Tanga Tanga legislators to fabricate a misleading report aimed at painting the county government in a bad light and persuade the House to reject the bid to have Nakuru elevated.
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One plan involved maliciously pushing the Senate Labour and Social Welfare Committee to probe wild claimed that Kinyanjui had mishandled tens of street children as he cleaned Nakuru to meet the standards of a city.
The ensuing report evoked emotions in the Senate, with her cohorts threatening to stop the process on grounds that the county government had acted in bad faith and violated the rights of minors.
It took the Governor’s wisdom and meticulous leadership to separate the chaff from the wheat and astutely nip Kihika’s lie in the bud to save Nakuru from losing the opportunity to get the much-deserved city status.
“We uphold the role of Senate in oversight matters but fault deliberate distortions manufactured to fit a political narrative,” Kinyanjui told the Senate after he was summoned and pinned down on the matter.
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Interestingly, tens of senators drawn from both sides of the political divide were all praises for the city-to-be and were eagerly waiting for the hour of reckoning to approve the recommendation.
When the day came for the final decision to be made, Kihika was among the last senators to speak.
Having watched as her colleagues waxed lyrical about Kinyanjui and endorsed the elevation report in confidence, she was left with no option but to halfheartedly join the bandwagon to avoid the shame of being the only traitor.
From her speech, it was easy to tell the Tanga Tanga senator was seething with rage, pain and anger.
She struggled to keep her calm, but her watery eyes and distorted voice betrayed her every time she uttered a word.
She deviated from discussing the real issues and chose to whip emotions by making reference to the forged report that had no basis.
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She talked from both sides of her mouth, stating that nothing should stop Nakuru from becoming a city while, on the other hand, attacking the governor who had made all this possible.
Carried away by emotions, Kihika ultimately made her intentions known.
“I know he (Kinyanjui) will not serve forever and I am even hopeful that in the next term I will be able to remove him”.
These reasons behind her resistance and deliberate misrepresentation of facts had been an open secret all along.
Kihika had publicly declared interest in the Nakuru gubernatorial seat just as it was becoming clear Nakuru was to become a city.
She felt Nakuru’s great rise would make it hard for her to dethrone Kinyanjui in 2022.
Her selfish interest seemingly blinded her to the extent that she went all out in her bid to spoil Kinyanjui’s moment of glory, all at the expense of the countless benefits that city status would bring to the people of Nakuru.
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But it proved a tall order for Kihika to steal Kinyanjui’s thunder. She failed in her farcical bid to rally the people of Nakuru against a man who worked his socks off to actualize the Nakuru city dream in record time.
Kinyanjui was elected to office in 2017 on the back of a promise to make Nakuru a city. He started working on the project in 2018, ignoring Kihika’s nagging and instead of engaging like-minded leaders to push his agenda through.
He made Nakuru Kenya’s cleanest and most progressive town and finally a city in 2021.
As a transformative and visionary leader who cleaned up the mess and streamlined operations at the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) as its first chairperson, the Nakuru Governor knew all too well what was needed to push such a fundamental proposal through. Negotiation and compromise.
He showcased his sharp leadership acumen. He proved that he can be trusted with overseeing Nakuru’s transition to a fully-fledged city in the coming years and with greater regional and national responsibilities.
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Kihika, on the other hand, exposed her frailties. Opposing the rise of Nakuru makes one wonder what other dreams she may have for her hometown and its people. Regardless of any underlying political differences, missing last week’s conferment ceremony was a clear sign of political immaturity and a lack of leadership.
Kihika has to be reminded that there comes a time when the county (city) is more important than an individual and that there must be short term pains for long time gains.
The people of Nakuru should see her for who she really is and deal with her accordingly on August 9, 2022. For she is the enemy within.
The writer is Robert Mungai, a regular commentator on social, economic and political affairs.
The views expressed here are the writer’s and do not in any way represent the position of TUKO.co.ke.
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Source: Tuko News