George Natembeya resigns to focus on governor’s race

George Natembeya

Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya who has resigned to focus on his political ambitions.

After more than 25 years in public service, Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya has resigned to focus on his political ambitions.

Mr Natembeya, 50, who rose through the ranks from a district officer to a regional commissioner, is eyeing the Trans Nzoia governor's seat.

On Tuesday, he revealed that he would announce his resignation the next day to join elective politics.

"I will on Wednesday formally announce my resignation to focus on politics as l seek the backing of residents of Trans Nzoia to become their governor," Mr Natembeya revealed.

"My rivals have been asking me to remove my official uniform and face them in Trans Nzoia. As from Wednesday, I will hang my boots to teach them about leadership."

Mr Natembeya is the first high-ranking official in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration to resign ahead of the February 9 deadline for public servants eyeing political seats in the August 9 General Election in line with the Elections Act.

More than 20 senior government officials, including Cabinet secretaries, principal secretaries, chief administrative secretaries and heads of state corporations, are expected to resign ahead of the polls.

Resignation rule

Although two cases have been filed at the High Court challenging the resignation rule that says civil servants must resign six months before the polls, several State officials are expected to bow out in the coming days to concentrate on politics.

Senior government officials in the current administration said to be eyeing political seats include Cabinet secretaries Charles Keter, James Macharia, John Munyes, Sicily Kariuki, Peter Munya, Eugene Wamalwa, Ukur Yatani, Simon Chelugui, Mutahi Kagwe, Keriako Tobiko and Najib Balala.

Others are State House Chief of Staff Nzioka Waita and chief administrative secretaries Ababu Namwamba, John Mosonik, Joseph Boinnet, Lawrence Karanja, Zack Kariuki and Nelson Gaichuhie.

Mr Namwamba wants to succeed Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong whereas Mr Boinnet and Mr Mosonik are eyeing the Elgeyo-Marakwet and Bomet governor’s seats respectively.

Mr Karanja has already joined the Nakuru senatorial race as Mr Gachuihe seeks to recapture the Subukia parliamentary seat that he previously held.

Mr Natembeya was in charge of the vast Rift Valley region, which borders Tanzania in the south and Uganda and South Sudan in the north.

Meteoric rise

His rise in national government administration was meteoric. At 50, he is the youngest regional commissioner.

A student of former Internal Security minister John Michuki, whom he served as personal assistant for four years, Mr Natembeya says he learnt important lessons from the no-nonsense politician, who died in 2012, that he wants to apply as a governor.

He says he wants to use his more than 25 years’ experience in public service to transform the county.

He joins a growing list of aspirants eyeing the coveted seat, now held by Governor Patrick Khaemba, saying he wants to revitalise the agriculturally rich county.

The father of three describes himself as a family man and a born leader.

Aspirants

In the race, Mr Natembeya will square it out with Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa and long-serving Khaemba cabinet member, Finance executive Boniface Wanyonyi, who says he wants to build on the legacy of his boss.

Others in the race are Trans-Nzoia Woman Representative Janet Nangabo, former Agriculture executive Andrew Wanyonyi, businessman Moses Khaoya and Mr Philemon Samoei.

Also said to be in the race are Mr Abraham Singoei and Mr Maurice Bisau, both of whom work in the office of Deputy President William Ruto.

Governor Khaemba is completing his second and final term.


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