Top Stories / 2017 Elections
Sunday, 16 Oct 2016 14:59 EAT
The Jubilee government has failed Kenyans. This was the message from former lands cabinet secretary Charity Ngilu, a top member of the Jubilee coalition at its formation in 2013 and one of President Uhuru Kenyatta's leading allies in Ukambani. Now running for the Kitui governorship in the next elections, Ms Ngilu has played her political cards safely since leaving government last year, striking a middle ground between Jubilee and opposition CORD, especially former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka's Wiper Party which is the dominant force in Ukambani politics.
In recent months, she has increasingly moved closer to CORD in tandem with the Kitui electorate, but until Friday she had not publicly rebuked the government, triggering concerns among some Kitui political pundits that all she was seeking was a viable posture for her political interests.
However, speaking at the burial of the late Prince Henry, husband of former Kathiani MP and CCU party leader Wavinya Ndeti, Ms Ngilu faulted the Jubilee government for failing to fulfill "the basic needs of Kenyans they pledged during campaigns," and enumerated the ways in which the government had failed.
"The Jubilee government has failed. Looking at the promises they pledged to Kenyans during campaigns, where are the things they promised," she lashed at the government, in an address couched as a call for women leaders to rise up and claim their "rightful" position in politics and end the decades of marginalisation by male leaders.
Other females leaders at the event also called for the empowerment of women whom they said could offer better leadership to the country compared to their male counterparts. Ngilu and former Starehe MP Margaret Wanjiru addressed the subject at length, with both saying the government had not fulfilled the promise to eradicate poverty among the people.
But Ms Ngilu's remarks stood out for their specificity on the issues she felt the government had failed in, including poverty, food and water, education, wealth creation and youth and women empowerment. She blamed the government for neglecting the people who elected them saying that they should understand and implement the needs of their electorates.
"Some leaders have the tendency of neglecting the people who elected them and it is shameful; leaders should understand and implement the needs of their electorates," added Ms Ngilu, who has come under pressure from activists in Kitui to declare her political loyalties. She is expected to run for the seat on her own NARC party ticket, while her main opponents (incumbent Julius Malombe and current senator David Musila) are vying for nomination of the Wiper Party.
NARC is a member of the Jubilee coalition, and during the recent launch of the Jubilee Party all leaders elected on the party's ticket announced their defection to the new party, including Ms Ngilu's closest ally in Kitui, MP Rachel Kaki Nyamai of Kitui South.
The former minister, however, did not dissolve her party, and she is yet to state whether the party will be allied with Jubilee in the next elections. Having not dissolved into Jubilee is no evidence that the party quit the coalition, since a number of small parties affiliated with Jubilee also declined to dissolve, opting to retain their individual identities.
At Friday's funeral, Ms Wanjiru, who is running for Jubilee Party's nomination for the Nairobi governorship, pointed out that the coming elections provided the women folk with opprtunity to change the male-domination in leadership. Like Ms Ngilu, she also pledged to support Wavinya's bid for the Machakos gubernatorial seat.
The writer is the news editor of the Kenya Free Press