By Francis Ngige
After dominating Gatundu South parliamentary seat since Independence, the Kenyatta family is bowing out of the stage with Uhuru Kenyatta vying for the presidency.
Uhuru has been the MP since 2002 when he was overwhelmingly voted in an election he also vied for the presidency on a Kanu ticket.
And Gatundu South constituents prepare themselves for an election that will replace Uhuru.
The constituency in Kiambu County has been in the grip of the Kenyatta family, with the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta being the first MP.
At Independence, the constituency consisted of the present day Juja, Gatundu South and North.
When it was split in 1969 to create Juja Constituency, Kenyatta’s son Peter Muigai was elected the MP, a confirmation of the family dominance of Kiambu politics.
After the death of the founding father in 1978, it was his nephew Ngengi Muigai who replaced him as the MP before Zackary Gakunju ousted him in the infamous mlolongo voting of 1988.
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Although the family was kept out in the cold in the subsequent elections, their influence had not waned.
In 1992, Ngengi defied the Ford Asili wave that dominated Kiambu and Murang’a and vied for the seat on a Democratic Party ticket, but he was defeated.
The family was also in the running in 1997, when Uhuru vied for the seat on a Kanu ticket but was trounced by little known Moses Mwihia of Social Democratic Party.
When former President Moi chose Uhuru as his successor, he was elected MP for the area although President Kibaki defeated him in the State House race.
Since then, Uhuru has been in the House but he is unlikely to vie for the seat in the March 2013 elections.
The political activities in the constituency have, however, been minimal with just a few people expressing interest to replace Uhuru.
“Since Uhuru declared his interest in the presidency, the hype associated with the MP’s seat has died down. Not many people are keen to vie,” said Michael Njuguna, a resident of Ichaweri in the constituency.
Another resident, Francis Muigai, said the domination of the Gatundu politics by the Kenyatta family has not been beneficial to the local people.
“We have had a president as our MP, his son was the leader of the official opposition but the area is still undeveloped. How can you explain that water is still a problem in the area,” posed Muigai.
For the constituency to move forward development wise, he said, the people should elect a person with dedication.
“We want a person who will be available when we need him. The Constitution has given us fresh beginning by providing for a president who is not an MP,” he said.
But Joseph Wainaina felt the Kenyatta family has brought development.
Mr Wainaina said a lot of schools were established during the reign of Kenyatta and when Uhuru took over, more have been established through the CDF.
Former MP Moses Mwihia is said to be interested in the seat, but was not immediately available for comment.
A close family source indicated that the Kenyatta family was not keen to sponsor a candidate in the race now that Uhuru was vying for the top job.
“They want Gatundu people to elect their MP without their interference. Most feel it would be wise to concentrate on Uhuru’s presidential campaigns,” said a family member who chose not be named.