Gathoni Wamuchomba: Mt Kenya's voice of defiance

Despite vigorously campaigning for President William Ruto in Mt Kenya region in the last general elections, Githunguri MP, Gathoni Wamuchomba has turned out to be government's bitterest critic.

In an exclusive interview with The Standard the vocal MP explains why she has chosen to call out the same government he helped place in power.

Wamuchomba, says she has refused to join what she terms the ‘choir’ of her party members as she knew the electorate would suffer.

‘’ it is a very controversial act and there are things I couldn’t agree with because I knew if I did, people that I represent would have suffered. I felt like the Kenya kwanza government was insensitive with the people that supported me, I knew what it meant to say yes to that bill (housing tax)’’ she said

The MP said despite public participation which showed that most Kenyans were against some of the key proposals of the bill, she tried reaching out to the parliamentary finance committee chair Kimani Kuria through a letter expressing constituents displeasure to the bill but to date she has never recieved a response 

‘’When a member of parliament within your own political outfit says no its only fair to reach out to them and ask why. Nobody asked me why I was against the bill. All I heard was threats and intimidation. I wrote a letter stating my displeasure I even tried to be heard during the public participation but I was sidelined,’’ Wamuchomba states.

She argues that the Mt Kenya region are ‘unhappy’ with the government for forcing some contentious proposals down their throats.

With the implementation of the controversial affordable housing project that president Ruto has maintained has to be implemented, the MP says it will be the biggest ‘scam’ the country has ever witnessed.

The people behind that proposal to tax Kenyans to construct the houses across the country which was a blackmail to win the goodwill of innocent Kenyans who already know that good and affordable housing is their right as enshrined in the constitution.

‘’The thinking behind the housing is not geared to solving the problem of housing it’s a means towards the collection of monies that we desperately need to pay loans but somebody wittingly crafted it as housing so that people can easily accept it,’’ the MP claimed.

She went on to challenge her critics to prove that to the country that the monies collected so far is indeed channeled towards the housing project

‘’I want any auditor who can prove me wrong to come up and prove that every single coin collected as housing levy is going towards housing because that’s not true.

‘’As we speak the houses that the president is opening and launching were opened by the previous regime and it’s a public private partnership deal that was started earlier on. You want to tell me the houses he has launched in Ruiru or Nakuru are his projects? Those are the projects of Uhuru,’’ she said

Further she told the government to use other avenues to construct the affordable houses as his predecessor did without overburdening Kenyans.

‘’Uhuru Kenyatta did not ask us for a housing levy so I have been criticizing it is coz there a person using the name house to collect tax. If you want to make for people affordable housing use whatever is available and make them the houses. Don’t give me an affordable house with unnecessary pressure,’’ she said.

 Although she is strongly behind the housing levy and VAT, the vocal MP supports the hustler fund which she argues is strongly benefiting the people at the bottom of the pyramid.

‘’ where they do good I will tell them, and the hustler fund is working for the people at the bottom. What it actually did it eliminated power and economic brokers and allowed the wanjiku to access money without middlemen,’’ she said

She says that there has been a price to pay for her outspokenness' because “People don’t believe a woman of my age can stand on her own without a god father so they start saying I am being funded, or I am a girlfriend or wife of so and so. Others say I am doing what I doing because I am related to Uhuru Kenyatta,’’ she said

 Wamuchomba narrates how at one-point last year she was sidelined when the president visited her constituency. She talks of being sidelined in the entire planning of the president’s visit to some of the activities president Ruto had.

‘’ immediately I voted no, the president himself and his deputy together with a troop of CSs and members of parliament came to hammer me. I sat there watching them I was like are these the same people I campaigned with.  I couldn't believe that the same people we sat in the same vehicles and did campaigns together are now bashing me but I have no regrets,’’ she said

 Wamuchomba castigated the 13th parliament for playing like lapdogs to the executive saying that it lacks its independence as legislators allied to Kenya kwanza have to be faithful to the president.

‘’This current parliament is going through too much patronization that any time we open parliament we must go to statehouse. We must be told what to vote for and all we can say is yes sir and that makes me very annoyed. We behave as though we have no minds of our own,’’ she said

She further regrets that the 12th parliament was keen on castigating president Uhuru Kenyatta, yet their own Kenya kwanza government seems to have been turned into a ‘one-man’ show

“Parliament   is so much influenced by the executive that we have lost the freedom to speak freely like members of parliament. To some extent I feel like I'm gagged like like I am being I am being patronized," she said.

She added, " unfortunately I was in the previous president where we accused the former president of patronizing us but we never knew that he only did an eighth of what is happening now.

"We have a parliament that is somehow captured and so much influenced by the executive that we have lost the freedom to speak freely like members of parliament. The other parliament kept reminding him on certain matters." she added/

 The MP claims there is a well-orchestrated plan to divide Mt Kenya so that votes can be scattered.

‘’This is not the right time for supremacy fights. That is a tactical way of tearing the Mt Kenya region into pieces and somebody somewhere has sat down and come out with a perfect plan   to tear out Mt Kenya into pieces,’’ she said

The strategy, she said is to sponsor as many voices as possible and distract the local leaders from pursuing a common agenda.

There have been calls for Ruto to drop Gachagua as his running mate and instead pick Kiharu Mp Ndidi Nyoro as he stands a greater chance in securing their second and final term

She further dismissed the narrative that former president Kenyatta can be dethroned as the Mt Kenya region kingpin as he earned the slot by putting his people first.

‘’Kingpin ships are created by people. You cannot become a king of the people by force. What made Uhuru Kenyatta a kingpin is not because he was the son of the late president because you have had other sons of late presidents who are not kingpins.

According to the MP, Uhuru became a kingpi because he showed at some point that he can take a bullet for the people of Mount Kenya.

She faulted some of the senior political leaders in the Kenya kwanza for failing to put the interest of Mt Kenya first saying majority of the layoffs in government has targeted the central region.

"Since Kenya Kwanzaa government came in place over 118 senior people from Mount Kenya region have been fired from the board of   directors from directorship of companies from CEO's and chief executive of parastatals.   I can actually prove to you how do you then come and tell us you are a kingpin and you're not able to protect those positions?" posed Wamushomba.

Wamuchomba also criticised the executive and judiciary meeting, saying the objective was not met and that Kenyans were left in wondering whether the judiciary is still independent.

‘’I thought out of that meeting somebody would come and say I think we overdid politically and we render our apologies. I did not hear that now what are we left those that of us did not that did not attend the meeting what are we left guessing we are left guessing that our Chief Justice subdued,’’ she said

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