When news emerged on Tuesday afternoon that President William Ruto had at long last unveiled a list of his proposed Cabinet, Murang’a eyes scanned the list to see what Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro had bagged. It was not a question of if he had been picked; rather, it was what docket he had bagged.
“I looked at the list twice, thrice…believing that my specs were distorting my vision, I removed them and scanned the list again. Unsatisfied, I gave the list to a buddy to confirm it for me. Failing to get his name, we decided it was fake news,” said Edwin Murira, a Maragua constituency politician who unsuccessfully vied on August 9 polls.
Such was the gloom in Murang’a that all elected members on United Democratic Alliance (UDA) refused to comment, many saying “the appointing authority is the president in collaboration with his Deputy, Mr Rigathi Gachagua.
But one of them who asked not to be named said “this is a big issue and soon it shall emerge to be so…We are not the least amused and perhaps, let us bid our time, may be, he will be in the list of the Principal Secretaries in not lesser than Ministry of Interior”.
So high were expectations of Mr Nyoro making it into the cabinet that already campaigns had kicked off in Kiharu with Charles Karundo already releasing campaign posters and Mr Karanja Mburu who in 2017 and 2022 trailed Mr Nyoro in second position being said to be canvassing to decamp from Jubilee to UDA to succeed him.
“My dreams are still valid…it is not over until it is over. Let us wait for the naming of president and Deputy president advisors as well as personal assistants…I have been assured by State House that the government is so big and elastic that as sure as there is a God in Heaven, there will be a by election in Kiharu and you are speaking to the next MP,” Mr Karundo said.
Mr Gachagua has since confessed that Mr Nyoro was among the six Mt Kenya politicians who in April 2018 formed a group to lead defiance against President Uhuru Kenyatta as Mt Kenya kingpin which eventually graduated to a full scale onslaught against Raila Odinga and Martha Karua presidential ticket in the region.
Initially, they came together on behalf of Dr Ruto to oppose the March 2018 Handshake between Mr Kenyatta and Mr Odinga after it had emerged that there was a scheme to sideline the deputy in the 2022 succession politics.
The plot, as it has emerged, was aimed to frustrate Dr Ruto out of power matrix, replace him as deputy if possible and proceed to unite as many politicians against his presidential bid.
Mr Gachagua named the team that Dr Ruto assembled to cushion him against the scheme in Mt Kenya region to have comprised of himself, Mr Nyoro, Naivasha MP Jane Kihara, Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa, Kandara’s Alice Wahome and former Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria.
Of these six, Gachagua besides being the second in command is the Mt Kenya kingpin who replaced Mr Kenyatta, Mr Kuria was named Trade, Investment and Industry CS, Ms Wahome as Water, Sanitation and Irrigation while Mr Ichung’wa has been suggested to bag the Majority leader in the national assembly.
ly miss outs in the assembly of the cabinet that saw Prof Kithure Kindiki—the man who had beaten Mr G Dr Ruto insisted otherwise--bag the Interior men endorsed by 27 members of the panel, Mr Gachagua gaining confidence of three while former national assembly speaker Justin Muturi (now proposed to become Attorney General) had one vote.
It was under such circumstances that many in Mtr Kenya region could not understand how Johnnie come late like Mithika Linturi (Agriculture) and Mr Muturi could make it into the cabinet earlier than Mr Nyoro.
But a high placed source in State House told Nation.Africa that “it is early to speculate since there is a huge chunk of power brokers yet to be named…especially in State House where the job of comptroller is yet to be allocated”.
“The kind of passion President Ruto likes Mr Nyoro is on another level. He treats him like his son…or younger brother…He is a sort of a confidant. Dr Ruto openly says Mr Nyoro shares some of his mindset and are buddies,” said an insider in Dr Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party.
The source said that “Mr Nyoro should be the only measure of discontent if he expressed it and as far as I know, he is very happy and his case cannot even be influenced by anyone in this government since he is the direct responsibility of the president himself”.
Mr Nyoro did not pick our calls but his aides said “mheshimiwa (Honourable) has no comment to make about this since it is still early and if there is anything he wishes to make public, you certainly know very well that he is not deficient on it”.
But Mr Nyoro had remained optimistic that he was headed for greatness in Dr Ruto’s government.
While addressing worshipers in Meru County during Dr Ruto and UDA thanksgiving ceremony, Mr Nyoro said “our president knows what is good for all of us and we are ready to take up our assignments and help him deliver on his mandate”.
The rise of Mr Nyoro started when he won Kiharu seat in 2017 and immediately aligned himself with Deputy President Dr William Ruto.
As time moved on towards August 9 General Election, his political star continued to gain some shine and it had not known a dim moment this far, until on Tuesday’s uncertainty.
Mr Nyoro had grown within a span of five years to become a billboard of popularity in Mt Kenya region politics and with Dr Ruto now the president, his calculations had steadily continued to blow his way tides of prominence in the naming of the cream of the central government.
Word was rife that Mr Nyoro was destined to be one of the most favoured by President Ruto to belong to his kitchen cabinet while the rest were anticipated to wield their power in Mr Gachagua’s office.
But Mr Kindiki appear to have beaten Mr Nyoro to it since as it is, he becomes the Mr fix it equivalent in Dr Ruto’s cabinet.
In the campaign trail, Dr Ruto was not concealing his political love for Mr Nyoro and it was hard to miss the two in close proximity in all public functions the two attended.
“This young man is one of the key pillars of my campaigns. He is doing a wonderful job mobilizing youthful voters to our side. I beg you people of Kiharu and Murang’a to flee him to help me in the national campaigns. Embrace him as one of your own and release him to me and I will remember you once we succeed,” Dr Ruto said on July 27 when he campaigned in the area.
With Mr Nyoro now in government at 37 years of age, he is being rated by Mt Kenya pundits as one of the rising stars, who if couched well to shed off some of his glaring, shortcomings; holds great promise.
He is said to be full of verbal venom against those he does not like, is bold in a reckless way, surrenders his soul to a cause and has a tendency to become prouder the more he goes up.
In the battle for Mr Kenyatta and Dr Ruto supremacy duels in Murang’a County, Mr Nyoro featured prominently in some functions that turned chaotic—some inside churches as he battled for his master.
At some point, a warrant of arrest was issued against him but Murang’a County threatened to erupt into anarchy if Mr Nyoro got arrested, leading to security agents silently shelving the move on September 9, 2019.
He had been accused of assaulting and badmouthing former nominated MP Mr Maina Kamanda in Gitui Catholic Church where the two met. Mr Kamanda was representing Mr Kenyatta and Mr Odinga while Mr Nyoro appeared uninvited as area MP and Dr Ruto loyalist.
“Summed up, it is being said that Mr Nyoro require to reconcile his emotions with his position to come up with a more compact persona that is guided by humility, compassion, sensitivity and more accommodating,” said Mt Kenya political analyst Prof Ngugi Njoroge.
Prof Njoroge believes that if Mr Nyoro were to do that, he holds a great promise in his personal life and the leadership ambitions he might be having.
“He is one of the few Mt Kenya rising political stars that for the next 40 years, God willing, will be featuring prominently in the Gikuyu, Embu and Meru Association (Gema) politics. It is important for him and for us that he works on his faults and project himself as a leader, not a politician and he who unites rather than divides,” he said.
In the run up to the August 9 General Election, Mr Nyoro featured prominently in the list of those who appeared to make President Kenyatta, Interior CS Dr Fred Matiang’i, Interior PS Karanja Kibicho and Information Technology CS Joe Mucheru stink bad in the political arena.
In all his public meetings, Mr Nyoro’s script was consistent in labelling the five as suspects in stealing Dr Ruto’s votes.
A second term MP, he comfortably won the August 9 duel by a margin of 60, 000 votes against his closest competitor. And he never printed any campaign poster neither campaigned for the position since his proximity to Dr Ruto was enough selling point.
His disdain for Mr Odinga’s presidential bid in the campaign trail endeared him to majority of Mt Kenya voters and those in Kiharu.
A graduate of Kenyatta University—where he too was a student leader—with a Bachelor of Arts (Economics), Mr Nyoro graduated from being the Kiharu’s National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) chairman in 2017 to contest. This was after the then area MP Irungu Kang’ata vied for the senate seat and won.
On April 26, 2018 during the burial ceremony of multiparty fight hero Kenneth Matiba in Kiharu, Mr Nyoro came out strongly as one whose political inspiration was drawn from South Africa’s political firebrand, Julius Sello Malema.
This was after he ‘plagiarized’ the speech Mr Malema had earlier uttered in mourning apartheid resistance heroine and wife to founding father of South Africa Nelson Mandela—Ms Winnie Mandela.
While Mr Nyoro has been very sarcastic of those who refer to Mr Odinga as ‘baba’, he in his speech to mourn Matiba referred to him a dozen times as his ‘baba’.
Mr Nyoro is a multimillionaire entrepreneur with interests in stock brokerage, communication, construction, civil works, water engineering and drilling. In his public speech stints, he says he commenced his entrepreneurship as a cobbler and a hawker in his peasantry teenage life in Murang'a County, selling himself as an example of bottom-up economic model success.
Married to Sophia Wambui, the last born in a family of four, Mr Nyoro is the author of a motivational book, 'How to Succeed in High School'.