Politics

Lenku’s strongman under siege

By Jonathan Teikan

Dalalekutuk Ward Representative James Lesere ole Ntaati, 51, a powerful political operative in Governor Joseph ole Lenku’s administration, is a man under siege.

Influential political elites in his ward, who are keen to thwart his expressed ambition to retain his seat for a consecutive fourth time, have accused him of bulldozing other leaders and threatening to influence the dismissal of some county employees who hail from his ward — as long as they continue “attacking” him.

Among the notables who are said to be at loggerheads with Ntaati are; County Assembly Speaker Johnson Osoi, acting County Secretary Samuel Seki, veteran politician Samuel ole Nkokua, County Roads engineer Ezekiel Sampao — once fired for a month — Patrick Masago who is the Finance Support Officer at the County Treasury, among others.

As a consequence of a still-smouldering protests against his leadership, a powerful political grouping, known as Vuguvugu is formed, consisting majorly of his erstwhile supporters, and that is hell bent to “teach him a lesson”, according to one of the group officials, who did not want to be mentioned.

Major political players and business moguls are said to back the formation, that has as a result, been able to gain substantial traction on the ground thus far, that the MCA had to respond to the threats posed by the group during his annual January 2, thanks giving ceremony held, this year, at his rural home.

At the time Ntaati charged: “Nobody should think that I will keep my cool as they continue throwing me stones from all fronts.”

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His perceived difference with the Speaker recently played out when a national newspaper ran a story with the latter calling for a Constitutional amendment to the effect that aspiring MCAs should at least have a degree certificate.

His assertions, though were not necessarily aimed to target an individual, but to influence policymaking at the national level, were widely viewed as a thinly-veiled attack on his Ward boss, who apparently is without any academic qualifications.

However, in a separate interview, Osoi, who is serving his second-term in office, told the Kajiado Star, that he recommends a Constitutional amendment to introduce a clause requiring that aspiring MCAs should meet certain academic qualifications to run for the office — at least an undergraduate degree.

“The law requires that; a governor, deputy government, a member of the county executive, chief officers or a county public service board member, should at least have a degree certificate, yet the people (MCAs) who are mandated to vet them for approval, and to oversight them, are not necessarily required to have any academic qualifications.

“How do you expect a form four leaver to ask hard questions to a governor or any other accomplished officer?” he posed.

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Moreover, speculation is rife that Ntaati could have a hand in a recent advertising by the County Public Service Board inviting qualified applicants to apply for the post of the County Secretary, which implies that Seki, who previously held a powerful education docket, and was replaced by Jeremiah Ncharo, will either be dismissed or have to apply afresh for the post and be subjected to a repeat rigorous vetting process.

Others though think that he will only be moved to another docket, say Public Service and the seat be reinstated to Francis Sakuda, in which case, the advertisement would mean that it was needless.

According to existing local government laws, one can only assume the role of the County Secretary after going through a vetting by the County Assembly, implying that, in case of a reshuffle, the county boss could not just move a member of the Executive to the office, in a substantive position, without the approval of the Assembly.

Meanwhile, his long-term political nemesis, John Loisa, a key ally of Kajiado Central MP Memusi Kanchori, told this publication that Ntaati: “Has become so proud, so dictating, and oftentimes chest thumb that he is more of a deputy governor than an MCA.”

Loisa said, Ntaati is proving to be a “political liability” to the governor, saying that he is partly the reason for the failed attempts by Governor Lenku and the ODM MP to strike a functional political pact.

He said though the MP was willing to support the governor, his loyal supporters who are having grievances with Ntaati found it difficult to sign onto a pact with a political system that is fighting them from within, in the person of Ntaati.

He said, it is high time that the governor either tames the MCA or continue suffering political loses, as potential supporters of his administration distance themselves from him.

Ntaati has not responded to these allegations by the time of publishing the story.

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