The announcement by Kitui governor Charity Ngilu that she will hold a meeting of fellow Kamba governors atop the revered Nzambani Rock in Kitui has drawn the ire of elders who fear that such a function would anger the ancestors and result into a calamity in the community.
Ngilu made the remarks in Machakos town at the launch of South Eastern Kenya Economic Bloc where she had joined Machakos governor Alfred Mutua and Makueni governor Kivutha Kibwana. Folklore has it that the rock is actually a girl who long ago was sent by her mother to collect firewood with strict instructions not to touch a certain sacred tree but she defied and cut a branch of the tree whereupon she turned into the stone that kept on growing and still grows up to today. At the Machakos function, the three governors could not help throwing barbs at Kalonzo with Ngilu blaming Kalonzo for being the person behind the underdevelopment in Ukambani. Not to be left behind, Mutua said that Ukambani has lacked results-minded leaders. “Today is a historic day in the fight against poverty in Ukambani.
The signing of this South Eastern Kenya Economic Bloc agreement provides us, the three governors, a chance to jointly provide rapid, result-based leadership for the great people of Ukambani,” Mutua said. The import of this statement is that the leadership of Ukambani has not been concerned about results. Because Kalonzo is the leader of Ukambani everyone inferred that it was Kalonzo who was being put on the dock. “We want to empower people so that they have money in their pockets in our bid to improve the quality of their lives,” the governor who now has less than two years in office said. Mutua’s critics were quick to point out that if Mutua has had eight years and has not empowered the people economically, what magic is it that he has that will achieve the feat in 19 months? On his part, Kibwana, more or less, echoed Mutua’s remarks saying that although Kambas started well, “later on, some leaders came who did not have the interest of Kambas at their heart”.
“Along the way, we lost this progress due to poor leadership. We hope the new awakening through synchronized regional development will restore this forgotten history,” said the law professor-turned-politician. Anyone who follows politics in Ukambani knows that when Kalonzo’s enemies want to score what they suppose is a goal against Kalonzo, they talk of or lack of development in Ukambani. Ironically, it is an accusation that only a few can make with a straight face because if it is Ngilu, she has been in power since 1992 when she was elected the MP for Kitui Central and as such the same questions asked of Kalonzo can be asked of her. As a matter of fact, as she tells Kalonzo to quit politics, there are also those in Kitui who are of the view that Ngilu has overstayed and that it is time she took a rest because as far as they are concerned, she is the proverbial old dog that cannot be taught new tricks.
And indeed, that Ngilu might have run out of ideas was amply demonstrated when Ngilu said that the next Sekeb meeting will be held a top Nzambai Rock which is a legendary heritage site in Kitui with mythical connotation as it said that should you walk around the huge, tall rock seven times your gender changes so that if you are a female, you become a male and vice versa. In what was seen by many as empty politics devoid of substance such comparable to Raila Odinga’s imaginary football commentaries, Ngilu added: “If you’re tired of your gender that will be an opportune time to change your gender.” The announcement has caused some cultural indigestion with elders saying that being an important site, Nzambani Rock is not a place to host political functions and even if that was so, it was not a woman who would make the declaration. As for Mutua, with now eight years under his belt as governor of Machakos, Kalonzo defenders reminded him that he has received over Sh100 billion in the duration and yet Machakos county is worse off in every manner than he found it.
The yoke of poverty that Mutua said at the function Sekeb is going to remove from Kambas’ shoulder, they told Mutua, he has done nothing of the sort, yet he has been handling over Sh10 billion a year from the national government and from the revenue charged on Machakos people. As if aware that Sekeb would draw criticism, the three were quick to ask Kambas not to politicize their organization with Ngilu warning anyone who intends to drag bad politics into Sekeb that they will not succeed. She told her two colleagues to disregard politics that they said their enemies were going to engage in to derail the dream of Sekeb. But it was the presence of Timothy Ndambuki the archbishop of African Brotherhood Church and a Kalonzo confidant at the meeting that has left Kambas talking with many wondering. Some have even been heard joking that with the hard economic times that churches have been plunged into by coronavirus, the bishop has perhaps found the going tough financially as offerings in the church have virtually dried up. He was named chairman of a Sekeb.