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Is CS Matiang’i the man to take over the Gusii baton?

By Edwin Nyarangi | July 22nd 2018
Interior CS Fred Matiangi (right) arrives for a funds drive at Nyakembene Primary School, Kisii, on April 22, where politicians backed him for running mate in 2022. With him are South Mugirango MP Silvanus Osoro and Nominated Senator Millicent Omanga. [File, Standard]

In his journey to becoming one of the most trusted individuals in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i is attracting the allegiance of MPs from the Gusii community, who feel that he should take the baton of the region’s political leadership.

Some legislators now feel that Matiang’i’s exploits since his inclusion into the Jubilee government have earned him a spot in Gusii folklore.

The area has had a few leaders who commanded community backing, and whose word was regarded as the voice of the region. The most powerful was former provincial administrator and Cabinet minister Simeon Nyachae, who wielded invincible influence.

Nyachae, a descendant of the colonial chief Musa Nyandusi, served in the Moi and Kibaki governments.

And Matiang’i too has, since 2013, served in several dockets. He came to the limelight after he was appointed the Information, Communication and Technology Cabinet Secretary during  President Kenyatta’s first term.

Bargaining power

Most Kenyans will however remember his tenure as the Education CS, when he fiercely fought cheating in national examinations. He also served as acting Lands CS.

Since the beginning of the year, Matiang’i has been attending fundraisers in Kisii and Nyamira counties accompanied by MPs from the region who have asked locals to support him.

Matiang’i has however in all occasions avoided the political debate, leaving the Gusii legislators to speculate on his future.

Kitutu Chache South MP Richard Onyonka says Matiang’i has proven that he can serve Kenyans well and is qualified to become the next president or deputy president.

Onyonka says he is ready to become Matiangi’s chief campaigner since he believes he is the best candidate from the region to be propelled to the national level.

“Dr Matiang’i espouses the characteristics of a typical Gusii man who is hardworking, honest and out to ensure he is successful in everything he has set his eyes and hands on,” Onyonka says.

Nyaribari Chache MP Richard Tongi says Matiang’i is following in the footsteps of great leaders from the community such as the late Cabinet ministers Lawrence Sagini, James Nyamweya and Zachary Onyonka.

He adds that the CS is a good student of Nyachae, who served as the community spokesman and was the most formidable presidential candidate the community has ever presented to Kenyans.

“It is high time members of the Gusii Community rallied behind our son Matiang’i who has the ability of being a good leader. We are saying whoever wants to talk to us should talk to Matiang’i first,” Tongi says.

National Assembly Deputy Majority Leader Jimmy Angwenyi says Matiang’i has put the Gusii community on the national map by his good performance in Cabinet.

“I am not afraid to say Matiang’i is one of the best performing Cabinet Secretaries since independence, he should be elevated to the next level when the right time comes,” Angwenyi says.

Bomachoge Chache MP Alpha Miruka says Kenyans need leaders of Matiangi’s calibre to streamline the management of government affairs and that if there were 10 CSs like him Kenya would prosper.

He says Matiang’i is known not to spare even friends when they find themselves on the wrong side of the law and that is the kind of leader Kenyans need.

North Mugirango MP Joash Nyamoko, who is the chairman of the Gusii Parliamentary Caucus, says the community should unite to boost its bargaining power in future political arrangements.

He adds that they are grateful to President Kenyatta for seeing the leadership ability in Matiang’i and giving him a chance to serve in the ministries of Interior and Education.

“When the president was announcing his first Cabinet in 2013, our brother’s name was read out first which shows he trusts him,” Nyamoko says.

Track record

South Mugirango MP Silvanus Osoro says he supports Deputy President William Ruto for president in 2022 with Matiang’i as his running mate.

“Matiang’i has performed well in his duties as CS for the last five years, we believe he is the best candidate to be the eputy president in 2022,” Osoro says.

Bonchari MP Oroo Oyioka says the Gusii community is now ready to produce a leader to serve the country at the national level and the CS has a good track record in all the ministries he has served in.

“The Interior CS is hardworking and does not tolerate nonsense. He represents the true character of our people who value honesty and integrity in everything they do,” Oyioka says.

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