From farming to academia, poll losers move away from the limelight
By Jacob Ng'etich
| January 13th 2019
You win some, you lose some. This is an old adage that politicians know too well. But just how do they take the loss and the life after?
In Kenya where election victories usher in leaders into glamorous life, wealth and power, to some politicians defeat is sometimes deeper loss than one can imagine.
Nonetheless, one must find a way to still live as they strategise a comeback.
Saturday Standard went behind the scene and sought to interact with the politicians who though some are still smarting from their loss of political seats ranging from that of the now prestigious governor position to Senate and National Assembly, had picked up the pieces.
Early in the year, President Uhuru Kenyatta gave a lifeline to a number who had lost by appointing them as Chief Administrative Officers (CAS), tens of others remained in the cold and forced to wait for the next election.
Away from the village
Though some could still benefit from appointments coming in future, a number of them have found something to engage themselves.
From doing nothing at all, to tomatoes farming, dairy and small business in the local towns the politicians just like the ordinary folks are finding their footing back after their exciting stints in office.
1. Former Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo
“I have so much time with me that sometimes I don’t know what to do with it, I literary do nothing, nothing at all,” said former three-term Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo. Midiwo lost in fourth term bid to Elisha Odhiambo.
Midiwo who petitioned but lost the petition case at the High Court in Siaya, says his phone has stopped ringing but he loves it that way.
“I used to get calls every minute, nowadays, I sometimes switch my phone off then on thinking that perhaps it had hanged, they no longer come, now I easily pick every call that comes,” he said.
After 15 years of public service, Midiwo who was one of the vocal MPs in the 9th, 10th and 11th Parliament, says:
“After 17 years, I now have time to take Christmas break with my family away from the village, I have no regrets.”
2. Former Kajiado Governor David Nkedienye
“Losing an election could make you feel low but also has its on advantages that once you have adjusted after the defeat you start enjoying,” said Dr Nkedienye.
The former governor, 55, who holds a PhD in Pastoralism, Land-use and Conservation from the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom says that he has time to rear cows and goats on his farm in Kitengela.
“For me it is an easy life, i now have time with my family. Sometimes when you are in politics your life becomes public to an extend that your family takes a back banner.”
Nkedienye who lost to former Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku runs business in Kitengela.
“I enjoy the relatively peaceful life that comes with the calmness of being away from public life, I deeply appreciate the opportunity Kajiado residents gave me and would be free to serve them again in whatever capacity,” he says.
Nkedienye dropped his petition against Lenku after the promise that he would be rewarded with a government position, but for him whatever comes will be welcome.
3. Former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto
Having been the first chair of the Council of Governors for two terms and leading a larger than political life, former Bomet governor, Isaac Ruto’s defeat was big news.
Today, Ruto who has been receiving emissaries to make a huge comeback into active politics, is keeping tens of dairy cattle in a multi-million shilling well tended farm in Tumoi at Chepalungu.
“I get a lot of peace being with the cows, every morning when I wake up, I come to check on them as they are milked. Its a rewarding and humble thing. I am passionate about dairy,” he says.
Ruto keeps 90 mature cows, 63 heifers and a few bulls. He notes that each cow produces between 25 and 40 litres of milk per session totaling to 1,500 litres per day.
“In a year’s time, we hope to start producing yoghurt and ghee but at the moment all the milk produced is taken to the Kenya Cooperative Creameries,” Ruto says.
The Chama cha Mashinani (CCM) hosts tens of people in his home every other day but says they only come to seek his opinion on issues of life.
“”After I lost, I decided to give time to Dr Joyce Laboso to implement her vision for the county residents. I am on a sabattical, when I decide to make a comeback I will do that with a bang,” he says.
4. Former Mukurweini MP Kabando wa Kabando
Former Mukurweini MP Kabando wa Kabando had served ten years and was targeting another five before he lost his bid. The eloquent leader is planning to go back to school to complete the PhD programme which he abandoned 17 years ago.
Kabando says he is also doing private consultancy on public policy.
“I am also recouping, reviving and completing my private projects that political life denied me time to finalise,” he says.
5. Former Taita Taveta Governor John Mruttu
Before the elections of the first county bosses, Former Taita Taveta Governor John Mruttu was little known until he beat other seasoned politicians to emerge the best.
Five years later, Mr Mruttu lost to Granton Samboja. Little has been heard from him since the last General Election. But those who know him say he has been busy on the farm.
“I am now a full-time farmer. Farming has more benefits than politics- bananas, oranges, pawpaws, tangerines and watermelons- but my cash cow is tomatoes,” says Mruttu at his 10-acre Kimala farm.
Away from short stint in politics, the former governor says he has gone back to his passion that he has pursued since 1985 after inheriting land from his father
“I also rear poultry, rabbits, dairy cows and fish,” he says
He produces about 200 tonnes of tomatoes per harvest which he sells at between Sh60 and Sh70 per kilogramme at the farm gate.
On a good season, Mruttu harvests 35 tonnes of tomatoes and hires 40 workers to help with farm work.
“I have been meeting my customers’ demands and I look forward to expanding my production. I also plan to do value addition,” Mruttu says.
The banana farm supplements his income. He grows different varieties like Williams, Grand nain, Giant and Dwarf Cavendish.
“I transport seven tonnes of bananas to Mombasa every month and fetches about Sh 700,000,” he adds.
6. Former Labour Minister Kazungu Kambi
Former Labour Minister Kazungu Kambi contested the Kilifi Governor seat on a Kaddu Asili ticket in the last election but lost to the incumbent, Amason Kingi.
Mr Kambi who was among the CSs implicated in corruption and hounded out of office during President Uhuru Kenyatta’s first term but later cleared by Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission was appointed to chair the board of the Coast Development Authority (CDA) in April.
Apart from chairing the board at CDA, Kambi has now gone into the world of academia and is pursuing a PhD at Maseno University.
“I have finished the first year and expect to finish my PhD in 2021, I have really longed for that time,” he says.
Apart from studies and government responsibility at CDA, Kambi says he is a businessman who joined politics to help his people.
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