Kimani Ngunjiri: The MP who earned presidential rebuke

Fire-spitting and a rabble-rouser to the core, Onesmas Kimani Ngunjiri (pictured), the Jubilee MP for Bahati finally met his match on Tuesday in his own yard, Nakuru County.

And when the storm that swept through the area passed, Ngunjiri stood mute, lone, cold and devoid of his characteristic antics.

Just a week earlier, the ex-KANU man had, on order, returned his rifle to the authorities. He fumed, threatened, dared and boasted before the cameras.

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 But when the country’s Commander-in-Chief, President Uhuru Kenyatta, brought the fire closer to him on Tuesday, there was not even a whiff from the man who is remodelling his career from hammering his ex-political god.

 "There is one man who has made it a habit to insult me every day. I decided to keep quiet and observe him until the day I would come to Bahati," the President began firing his salvo and the man cowed a few metres away from him.

 "If he (Ngunjiri) is not able to deliver, he can step aside and I will take his place and deliver what you (Bahati constituents) expected from him," Uhuru offered. 

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Ngunjiri, a second-time MP who has vowed to go down fighting for Deputy President William Ruto watched helplessly as the President tore into his leadership. And he was not relenting:

 "Instead of working, he is always in the press insulting me. Ask him what wrong I have done to him. Tell him to leave me alone."

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This was not the first time Ngunjiri, who is popularly known to constituents as OKN, was attracting the wrath of Uhuru. 

Last year, the President told him off over claims he had neglected the Mt. Kenya region despite the area overwhelmingly voting for him in the last elections. He asked Uhuru to resign if he was tired of leading the country. 

The President was furious, calling Ngunjiri’s ilk ‘washenzi’ [barbarians]. 

"I am not a person who is easily scared. Those going around playing petty politics, I want to tell them this; we will not launch development projects based on which region a leader comes from,” Uhuru said in Mombasa.

The President had walked into Ngunjiri’s trap. The MP seized the moment, leading supporters in a procession through Nakuru town, faulting the President, blaming Raila Odinga for their woes and while donning white T-shirts printed 'TeamWashenzi'.

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Ngunjiri fell out with the President in the post-power struggle in the Jubilee party after the March 9, 2018 handshake between Uhuru and the de facto opposition leader Raila Odinga.

A section of the party under the banner Tanga Tanga viewed and continues to view the truce between Uhuru and Raila with suspicion.

The Jubilee wing is composed of MPs backing Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid and was on a collision path with Kieleweke team which supported the handshake.

To Ngunjiri, the handshake has made them outsiders in a government they campaigned for.

Ngunjiri is, however, not new to controversies owing to his past numerous run-in with the law.

SEE ALSO: Uhuru launches Naivasha SGR operations

Just last week, the outspoken MP’s security and firearm licence was withdrawn in the ongoing purge on politicians who have been linked to crime.

He was grilled for about an hour at the regional Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) offices in Nakuru before he surrendered his shotgun.

This was after the National Police Service’s decision to take guns away from misbehaving VIPs.

Addressing the press after surrendering the gun, Ngunjiri claimed he was being intimidated because he supports DP Ruto. The police did not confirm or deny those allegations.

In 2013, a similar decision was made to take away his guns after the MP was involved in a scuffle with a traffic police officer.

He was charged with six counts of assault and traffic-related offences.

‘Work instead of fighting me’

A meek Ngunjiri has dismissed claims that he has been insulting the president, saying Uhuru was only in Bahati to insult and boo him.

“We welcomed the President in a cordial manner, nonetheless, the conduct of our guest and his team left so much to be desired of their real intentions,” he said in a long rant on his Facebook page.

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Uhuru KenyattaKimani NgunjiriSuccession politics