The Democratic Action Party (DAP-K) has endorsed Mr George Natembeya, who just quit his post as Rift Valley regional commissioner, to bear its standard in the Trans Nzoia governor race on August 9.
Mr Natembeya resigned on Wednesday to focus on his political bid, ending a national administration career that spanned more than 25 years.
In an interview with the Nation yesterday, DAP-K secretary-general Eseli Simiyu, who is also Tongaren MP, confirmed that Natembeya would be their candidate. “We will have George Natembeya to fight for the Trans Nzoia gubernatorial seat on a DAP-K ticket,” Dr Simiyu said.
The party, associated with Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, was launched in December and is supporting the Azimio La Umoja Movement, led by the Orange party boss Raila Odinga. DAP-K is apparently targeting Bungoma and Trans Nzoia as its political bastions.
Party leader and Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi, and Dr Simiyu, fell out with Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula during a protracted battle over the control of Ford-K, in which they were accused by the Wetang’ula faction of staging a leadership coup. The matter ended up in court.
They eventually quit.
Natembeya joined the civil service in 1996 and rose through the ranks from a district officer (DO) to a regional commissioner.
He served as DO in Kilgoris, Narok County, and other divisions before joining former Internal Security Cabinet Minister John Michuki as his personal assistant from 2005 to 2008. He says he learnt important lessons from the no-nonsense politician, who died in 2012, and plans to apply them, if elected governor.
He joins a growing list of aspirants, seeking to inherit Trans Nzoia governor Patrick Khaemba’s mantle. The county boss is serving his second and last term.
The straight-shooting administrator will face off against Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa and long-serving member of Khaemba’s cabinet, Finance executive Boniface Wanyonyi, who wants to build on his boss’s legacy.
Trans Nzoia Woman Rep Janet Nangabo is in the race as are former Agriculture executive Andrew Wanyonyi, businessman Moses Khaoya and Philemon Samoei. Others from the Deputy President’s Office are Abraham Singoei and Maurice Bisau.
Political analysts say the race would be between Natembeya and Wamalwa, a close ally of Mr Wetang’ula. Natembeya, seen as more assertive, has shown a tough approach to issues during his stint in the civil service.
He is also influential in Trans Nzoia where he has helped push for completion of several national government projects.
Natembeya became the first high-ranking official in President Kenyatta’s administration to resign ahead of the February 9 deadline for public servants seeking political seats in the August 9 General Election.
More than 20 senior government officials, including Cabinet Secretaries, Principal Secretaries, Chief Administrative Secretaries, heads of state corporations, are expected to resign ahead of the polls.
Although two cases have been filed in the High Court against the resignation order that civil servants resign six months before the polls, several State officials are expected to bow out in the coming days. They include Cabinet Secretaries Charles Keter and John Munyes (Petroleum), State House Chief of Staff Nzioka Waita, and Chief Administrative Secretaries Ababu Namwamba, John Mosonik, Joseph Boinnet, Lawrence Karanja and Nelson Gaichuhie.
Namwamba wants to succeed Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong, while Boinnet and Mosonik are eyeing Elgeyo Marakwet and Bomet governor seats respectively. Karanja has joined the race for Nakuru senator, as Gaichuhie seeks to recapture the Subukia MP seat he once held.