Has Kabogo met his match in MP Ng’ang’a?

Posted In NEWS, Politics - By admin on Saturday, February 15th, 2014 With No Comments »
Her trade as a stone merchant in Juja near Thika Town has taught Alice Wambui Ng’ang’a several lessons.

Her trade as a stone merchant in Juja near Thika Town has taught Alice Wambui Ng’ang’a several lessons.

Her trade as a stone merchant in Juja near Thika Town has taught Alice Wambui Ng’ang’a several lessons.

First, to get the right sizes of stones, you have to break huge rocks, which is no easy task — you have to persevere and be persistent in hitting the rock.

This is perhaps the biggest lesson Ms Ng’ang’a has learnt in politics. The Thika Town MP tried and failed to capture the then Juja constituency twice, but as with every strike at the rock, the goal remained on course.

In her first attempt in 2007, she came third on a Safina ticket, with 11,000 votes against winner George Thuo’s 52,000.

In a 2010 by-election, she jumped ship to Peter Kenneth’s KNC and polled 24,860 votes against the winner, Mr William Kabogo’s 42,000.

And when Thika town constituency was carved out of Juja, she again jumped ship to TNA and polled 73,800 votes. Her nearest rival had a meagre 7,000 votes.

“I am awfully persistent. I never lose focus on what I want. I only change tactics,” says the MP.

And barely a year since she became MP, Ms Ng’ang’a, the first ever woman from Kiambu County to win a parliamentary seat, is already ruffling feathers.

She has embarked in a bare knuckle contest with Governor William Kabogo over the management of the county.

Mr Kabogo, a man known for his sometimes unorthodox means of settling matters, is not your ordinary political neophyte.

The man has deep pockets and his antics can be intimidating. But not to Ms Ng’ang’a. Even after Mr Kabogo threw his latest male chauvinistic jibe at her, that unmarried women should never be elected to political office, the MP has picked up the fight and told the governor off.

“Thika people knew I was a single mother before they gave me 73,000 votes. One cannot purport to tell them they were wrong,” says the mother of a nine-year old daughter.

An assertive demeanour and a quick tongue to boot (she admits she is a fast talker), Ms Ng’ang’a either supports you completely or not at all. “When I start on a mission, I give it my best and accept the results. My mission in Kiambu is to fight mediocrity in leadership,” she says with a broad smile.

Dressed in a well fitting dress, Ms Ng’ang’a gazes into the pool at the city hotel where we are meeting and then at me. “Kiambu County does not deserve this man (Kabogo) as governor. People make mistakes and I think most leaders here have realised this. The only thing left is to check the excesses of the poor leadership,” she says.

She avers that the governor despises the poor and the tragedy is that he tells them to their face.

“At one village in the Juja farm area, he told locals that he would bring water because he could never find a girl to marry there as their feet were cracked and dirty for lack of water,” claims Ms Ng’ang’a.

Ms Ng’ang’a recommends Joyce Meyer’s book, Change your Words, Change Your Life to her governor. “It teaches that every word you speak matters,” she says.

Her mind seems to wander and then she quips: “Remember, this is the President’s county. It is embarrassing for the President to always have silly news coming out of his county. How does the President lead devolution when his own county is in a mess?”

But does she have the mettle to face off with one of the country’s wealthiest politicians? Can she take the heat when the governor hits back?

“I am aware what I am up against. Bring the governor on, I will not watch as he ruins the President’s county. History will judge if we are doing the right thing,” she says.

She said she once feared President Kenyatta was upset by her outbursts. “I intercepted him at the airport one day. I expected a tongue lashing but he was easy. At least, this made me feel he knew who was making sense back home,” confides the MP.

Growing up in Kalimoni, Juja, the third born child and eldest daughter of businessman Ng’ang’a Wanyoike, little Wambui wanted to be a teacher. But the closest she came to her dream was when she became a Sunday school teacher at the International Christian Church in Juja between 2000 and 2004.

“I feel at home interacting with children … teaching them how to be better human beings. Even as MP, I spend many moments with students,” she says.

Due to this inclination to teaching, Ms Ng’ang’a treats education as her number one priority. “When one has an education, you empower them to rely on themselves. They also help others get an education,” she explains.

After Kuraiha Primary School, she joined St Anne’s Lioki Secondary School, after which she fell in love with business and proceeded to Nazarene University where she graduated with a degree in Banking and Finance.

She later enrolled for a masters in Strategic Management at Daystar University.

During the interview, the abrasive Ms Ng’ang’a who is known in public is not apparent. She is composed and her speech is measured.

“I look up to Martha Karua (Narc Kenya leader). She speaks her mind and most often, makes sense. Her boldness is motivational to young politicians.”


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