Natembeya tramples on Wetang'ula's toes in pursuit of Luhya Nation greatness

 Trans Nzoia Governor George Natembeya. [Christopher Kipsang, Standard]

For slightly over a month, Trans Nzoia Governor George Natembeya has played the bogeyman, causing National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula sleepless nights.

The toothful man, sorry, truthful man has burrowed deep under Papa wa Roma’s skin with his ‘Tawe Movement’, which seeks to send the speaker into political Siberia.

Bwana Natembeya accuses Weta of causing the Western region untold suffering, blaming him for endemic poverty and entrenching ethnicity.

Further, he believes that like ambassadorial nominee Charles Githinji, Weta lacks ambition, with his only plans for the region being “reviving Webuye Panpaper, Nzoia and Mumias Sugar”.

Equally important, he accuses Kenya’s ‘third in command’ of failing to use his influence to uplift the Mulembe Nation with jobs, a factor that has seen many youths spend more time in their blankets than on farms.

All that interests Weta, Bwana Governor claimed recently, was the demise of others. In a recent interview, Natembeya said that Weta could only brag about finishing opponents and not projects promised to the people.

Concerned that Natembeya’s war with Weta threatened to ruin funerals, as it did three weeks ago, a section of the region’s clergy last week warned the pair that their fight could make the community a laughing stock.

They also warned that the Luhya community would lose their bargaining power and elective posts. How they would lose the latter, the church elders did not expound.

Understanding Natembeya’s beef with Shakespeare’s biggest fan is not an easy task. For starters, there is a language barrier that one must overcome. Being from Ingo, the good governor tends to drop jargon like ‘changamoto’ and ‘kusudi’ in regular speech.

Then there are the glaring contradictions in his messaging. As he has claimed countless times, Natembeya’s beef with Weta is that Papa wa Roma seems to have forgotten that only Jesus Christ is to be worshipped.

“Anataka nipange line nyuma yake... anataka tumuinamie,” the governor said recently, asserting that he would not acknowledge Weta as his tribal chief. He also said that he abhorred the idea of having regional ‘kingpins’.

But in the same breath, Natembeya said that he intended to find the Mulembe Nation a spokesperson who would be as bold as he is, only then would he line up behind someone. That was after he pointed out that other regions had their ‘spokespersons’, a clever synonym for kingpins. 

Perhaps the first-time governor should make up his mind about whether or not he minds being a follower. While at it, he should also decide whether or not he wants a kingpin.

Many suspect he wants the role for himself, which he vehemently denies. Indeed, he recently said that Weta cannot walk the journey of Masinde Muliro and Kijana Wamalwa, both deceased, to trace where the cliched ‘elusive Luhya unity’ was dumped.

With his Tawe Movement already sweeping Western Kenya, Bwana Natembeya is treading a beaten path. Many before him have tried, without success, to have the Mulembe Nation speak with one voice.

A huge section holds on to Elijah Masinde’s prophecy that the region’s leadership will come through the lake and has followed Baba religiously, ignoring its sons such as Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi.

Before he decided to lead the masses into a no-campaign against Weta, Natembeya served as the Rift Valley regional commissioner, a role former President Uhuru Kenyatta awarded him after noticing Natembeya’s talent of issuing threats.

Even then, he hated being chained to certain situations. While his name confines him to a single mode of transportation, Natembeya preferred choppers as he traversed the vast Rift Valley, spreading his terror to bandits and child abusers.

Always the tough-talker, the former administrative officer would threaten to smoke bandits out of their hiding zones. Chiefs, too, were not spared his tongue-lashing. He would accuse them of concealing bandits as well as tolerating early marriages and child pregnancies.

“Msichana akipata mimba, chief, kwa area yako mimi nitajua hiyo mimba ni yako mpaka ile siku mtoto atazaa tufanye DNA. Kabla hajazaa wewe ndiye utampeleka clinic... ulikuwa wapi akipata mimba,” he once warned chiefs.

He had also been a county commissioner, working in Isiolo and later Narok. Years earlier, he served as the late John Michuki’s personal assistant, where he ostensibly learnt the art of frowning.