Entertainment / Celebrities
Thursday, 03 Nov 2016 09:59 EATnewsdesk@kenyafreepress.com
When a long-term ally of Nakuru Governor Kinuthia Mbugua’s graduated with a degree from St. Paul’s University last month, the meaning of his lavish celebration party was not lost on the attendees. Mr Ezekiel Kesendany, who is the director of special programs in the Nakuru county government, always met every qualification for the leadership of his Ogiek community: a good reputation, financial security, a family, including, well, two wives.
Mr Kesendany is one of the most connected leaders from the minority Ogiek tribe. A resident of Kuresoi South Constituency, his friends include Governor Mbugua and his deputy Joseph Ruto and Kuresoi South MP Zakayo Cheruiyot. So esteemed is he that Governor Mbugua did not think twice before appointing him to the senior-most position in the county government that he could hold, without a university degree or professional qualification.
In fact, many are the people who believe that Mr Kesendany was Governor Mbugua’s first choice for a running mate in 2013, but that lack of a university degree came between him and the position. He and the governor then identified Mr Ruto, a former high school principal, who went on to become the governor’s running mate and deputy governor and with whom Mr Mbugua has worked remarkably well, without any of the differences typical between governors and their deputies in other counties.
As soon as Mr Kesendany got his county government job, he, like many other aspiring leaders in the country, knew well that he needed to get a university degree if he was to advance to higher echelons of county governance, especially given that his long-time friend Mbugua will easily win re-election. He enrolled at the St. Paul’s University in Limuru from where he graduated last month. To celebrate his achievement, the director threw a lavish party for his friends and community members at Tendwet Secondary School grounds last Sunday.
As expected, his big supporters showed up, as did Ogiek and Kalenjin community elders who demanded that the director, who was suitably qualified for the position he missed in 2013, should become Governor Mbugua’s running mate in the next election. Some carried a newspaper cutting showing the mark of the director's life successes: the leader celebrating his graduation, his two wives Ruth and Jane in tow. The two have been the pillar of Mr Kesendany's community leadership.
“We have been complaining of neglect by your government and now we have the person who will connect us directly to the government,” said Juliana Langat, a position that was endorsed by Hon. Cheruiyot, Jubilee politician Nelson Kipyegon and former Tinet councillor David Sitienei, all of who, like the deputy governor, are Kalenjins. Mr Sitienei said: “Kesendany has all qualifications for leadership, but last time you guys said he did not have papers, now that he has graduated please give him this seat that belonged to him.”
Governor Mbugua declined to discuss the subject. Like the deputy governor Ruto, Kesendany also hails from Kuresoi South, which is one of Governor Mbugua’s strongholds. The deputy snubbed the event, perhaps anticipating the calls that would be made there.