The Mt. Kenya region is in a self introspection mode looking for the best of the best to lead their camp as President Uhuru second term comes to an end in 2022. The criteria which many people are using are the track record of persons in their professional and career life as well as personal integrity and demeanor. Amongst great persons from Mt. Kenya region whose names are cropping time and again are; Laikipia’s Governor Ndiritu Muriithi, Former Kiambu governor William Kabogo, Kirinyanga’s governor Anne Waiguru, former Meru governor and current cabinet secretary Hon. Peter Munya, Cabinet Secretary for Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives.
To every great project there is a pilot project. In mature democracy like US the state governors and senators are the most people who make it to White house. Likewise in Kenya from the inclusive reform process that birthed a new Constitution in 2010 and credible and legitimate elections in 2013 until today, Kenya has achieved many democratic milestones. Among them was the creation of 47 new county governments, effectively creating a new devolved system of political power. This has created an opportunity to enlist the County leadership among the bleeding hubs for the national political leaders.
Let me delve a bit how it came to be. The Politics of Kenya take place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Kenya is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system in accordance with a new constitution passed in 2010.
Executive power is exercised by the executive branch of government, headed by the President at national level and by the county governor at the devolved county level.
At the County level the executive authority of the county is vested in, and exercised by, a county executive committee. Which consists of; the county governor and the deputy county governor; and members appointed by the county governor, with the approval of the assembly, from among persons who are not members of the assembly. In accordance with Kenyan Constitution, Chapter Eleven, Part 2, Article 179.
Governors with excellent performance record are taunted as the next inheritors of national government leadership. There has been an upcoming debate whether the exemplary performing leaders should be left to vanish into thin air after their term expiry or should they be automatically be absorbed by the national government.
We have county chiefs who have proven great through their transformative leadership. Kitui governor Charity Ngilu, Laikipia’s Ndiritu Muriithi, Makueni’s Kivutha Kibwana, Turkana’s Josphat Nanok and Kisumu’s Anyang’ Nyong’o have the highest approval ratings having being ranked 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th respectively. According to survey conducted between April 16th -19th involving 18,800 respondents of age 18 years and above across the 47 counties. The survey conducted by Pottpoll to indicate how the governors are rated by Kenyans. Shortly before Kenya’s 47 governors meeting in Kakamega for the devolution summit 2018.
Governor Ndiritu Muriithi’s impressive performance has been attributed to his achievements which include the launch of destination Laikipia to market his county, and gravelling of more than 150 kilometers of road. Laikipia County also leads in new NHIF registrations at 20,000 people. Destination Laikipia is a hallmark project that has gained an international traction and many local and international tourists are visiting the county. Within the Laikipia wilderness are individual, privately and community-owned conservancies that offer superb distinct accommodations, exceptional exploratory activities, striking scenery and diverse wildlife experiences. Some of the preferred conservancies in Laikipia are: North Laikipia‘s Loisaba, Mugie, Lentille. East Laikipia‘s Lewa, Borana, IL Ngwesi, Lekurruki. South Laikipia‘s Solio, Ol Pejeta. West Ol Ari Nyiro & Central Laikipia‘s West Segera.
Other notable County Flagship Projects which includes; Clean and Accessible Water, Contract Farming, Education Initiatives, Outcome of Tenders, Public Service Reforms, Smart Town Initiative, Statistical Abstracts, Universal Health Coverage (UHC), Amaya Triangle Initiative, which seeks socio economic transformation of four pastoralist counties by pushing for adoption of feedlots and other modern technologies in livestock husbandry. The initiative has made the governor an exceptional treasure beyond his county. Mr. Muriithi was been instrumental in the drive to have the derelict Nairobi-Nanyuki and Gilgil-Nyahururu railway lines rehabilitated. The project which if and when effected, will transform the entire Mt. Kenya region and make it unmatched economic block.
Prior to becoming the county chief, Ndiritu had a reputable professional, career and political life.
Born on 10th February 1967 he started his school life at Shamanei Primary School, and then went to Kagumo High School before joining the prestigious Alliance High School. In 1990 he graduated with a degree of Economics and Finance from St. Francis Xavier University in Canada. He attended the University of Technology, Sydney in 1994 and 1995 pursuing a master’s degree in project management.
Ndiritu Muriithi is a seasoned economist and financial markets expert with over 24 years’ experience in leadership and management in Kenya, South Africa, Canada and Australia. Mr. Muriithi has spearheaded numerous financial market strengthening initiatives across African countries covering establishment of credit sharing and scoring institutions, improved bond market function, expansion of mortgage markets, and even growth of women-owned enterprises. He was primarily involved in the design and implementation of these programs and contributed substantively to the development of financial markets that provide required services to many nations.
Ndiritu Muriithi was Member of Party of National Unity (PNU) representing Laikipia West as a member of parliament between 2007 and 2013. He then defected to United Democratic Forum Party (UDF) in 2013.
Governor Muriithi served as Assistant Minister for Industrialization between 2007 and 2013, in the government of Mwai Kibaki. He was involved in reforms to improve the environment for doing business, and improving incentives to promote investments. He was also involved in the development of policy and law related to finance and economics such as legislation governing establishment of credit bureau, interest rates, taxation and other fiscal measures.
In 2016 he joined the Jubilee party to propel him to governorship of Laikipia County but was defeated during the nominations and opted to vie for the Laikipia gubernatorial seat as an Independent candidate during 8th August, 2017 general elections which he won.
What remains to be seen is the governor’s next move and how he intends to use his enormous political capital. But the information reaching us is that he is among the leading regional political figures that the region is counting on to champion a favourable political positioning during and after Presidents Uhuru’s exit.