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George Koimburi's long journey, many fights to Juja MP seat

POLITICS
By Fidelis Kabunyi | May 21st 2021
People's Empowerment Party candidate George Ndung'u Koimburi, address press after voting on May 18, 2021 at Magomano Primary School polling stations during Juja By-election [Edward Kiplimo, Standard].

George Ndung’u Koimburi decided to fly the flag of little known People Empowerment Party (PEP) by Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria.

A former staff at Kiambu County Government, the MP-elect did not have it easy. At some point he even went underground when he was sought by DCI sleuths over questionable academic papers.

No stranger to politics, the soft spoken man’s landslide victory in the Juja parliamentary by-election on Tuesday affirms his grip in the President’s backyard, having tried his luck in 2017 but lost to now deceased Francis Waititu (Wakapee). He had vied on a Farmers’ Party ticket.

In 2017, Koimburi faulted the incumbent for using government officials and machinery in his campaigns, which included dishing out bursaries and relief food.

However, this week he upstaged Susan Njeru Waititu, the President’s candidate in the Jubilee Party. For Koimburi, the quest to succeed Waititu had been a long and torturous three months of uncertainties.

“I promise to deliver to the people of Juja by ensuring services are brought closer to them. I will endeavour to ensure every resident gets essential services, because as a local person, I understand the challenges faced first hand. I attribute my triumph to the PEP and Deputy President William Ruto, who held my hands,” he disclosed.

He added: “There was a lot of intimidation from Jubilee Party, but PEP and DP Ruto stood with me during the difficult moments.”

Born in Kianjoya village in Njoro, Mau Narok on May 2, 1975, the fifth born in a family of nine joined Kianyajora Primary School in 1983 and sat his Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examination in 1990.

Thereafter he joined Ekalakala Secondary School in Machakos, and sat the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education Examination in 1994.

He landed his first job in Nairobi at Plastic Rubber Industries as a casual worker for two years, after which he moved to Kenafric Industries in Nairobi’s Industrial. There he worked till 2000.

Koimburi later moved to Baba Dogo, where he established a milk selling business and opened more branches within the estate.

“In 2003, I moved to Juja, and started buying and selling land, a business I have maintained. Long before I joined politics, between 2011 and 2012, following increasing cases of insecurity in Theta, I took it upon himself and erected floodlights in the area. After this, locals requested me to venture into politics,” Koimburi told The Standard yesterday.

He ran for Theta County Assembly seat on a Narc-Kenya ticket, but was unsuccessful. In 2017, he vied for Juja parliamentary seat on Farmers Party ticket and came second.

After losing the elections, he served as Kiambu County Liquor Licensing Board Chairperson under the tenure of former Governor Ferdinand Waititu, where he was in charge of the issuance of licenses to bar operators.

Koimburi also sought to ensure only legalised alcohol was sold in the county. Now he says he was instrumental in the implementation of the county alcohol law geared towards curbing the sale of illicit brews, while ensuring licensed traders make profit.

In 2019, he resigned, citing frustration and highhandedness by county government operators.

New Juja MP George Koimburi at the Mang`u High School tallying centre when he was declared the winner of the Juja by-election on Wednesday, May 19, 2021. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Declared interest 

After the death of Waititu in February, Koimburi declared his intention to vie in the by-election.

But some of his opponents and security agencies soon started allegations of forgery of his academic certificates.

His opponents had a field day, as he went into hiding fighting to wade off the forgery papers tag, and a warrant of arrest issued against him by the Kiambu Court for failing to appear in court on April 14, officer Commanding Station for Kiambu was ordered to effect the same.

Against all odds, Koimburi was facing three counts of forgery, that between November and December 1994 at an unknown time and place within the Republic of Kenya, with intent to deceive, he forged a Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) certificate purporting it to be a genuine and duly signed one issued by the council.

He was also accused that between September 2011 and April 2012, with intent to deceive, he forged a Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) certificate of participation purporting to be a genuine and duly signed certificate issued by the institution.

And lastly, he was charged that between 2011 and 2012 he forged a JKUAT academic excellence certificate.

The developments came after he presented the papers to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for clearance to run for the seat.

His lawyers, Senator Irungu Kang’ata, said his predicaments were instigated by the State to stop him from vying.

Despite the pitfalls, Koimburi mounted a low but well organised campaign amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Other than announcing his move from Jubilee to Mr Kuria’s PEP when the campaigns began, he kept a low political profile.

Flying under the radar, Koimburi quietly built up his grassroots networks during the low key campaign based on initiatives he had begun, especially in Witeithie, among other informal settlement areas.

In fact, at one time, he was stopped by a contingent of police from launching washrooms he had helped build in Witeithie on grounds of enforcing social distance Covid-19 regulations.

Little did the MP-elect know the choices he made would have such consequences as his relationship with security agencies soaring and him becoming a wanted man.

Earlier in March, Koimburi claimed his life was in danger after receiving threats from anonymous phone numbers and that some people had been contracted to monitor his every move.

On April 16 an arrest warrant was issued on him by a Kiambu court for allegedly failing to show up in court. The OCS for Kiambu was ordered by the Kiambu court to arrest and produce Koimburi in court after he failed to appear in court on April 14.

Startling claims

On April 20, Mr Kang’ata made startling claims that Koimburi was missing and blamed the government for the same.

By then there was a warrant for Koimburi’s arrest, and it was Kang’ata’s assertion that his was a case of forced disappearance as he was likely in hiding because he didn’t know what would happen to him if he was caught.

However, none of Koimburi’s relatives filed a missing person’s report at any police station.

Koimburi honoured the court summons and was charged with three counts of forgery, all which he denied. He is out on bond

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