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HomePoliticsResolute Administrator Natembeya finally gives way to try out politics

Resolute Administrator Natembeya finally gives way to try out politics

After an illustrious career spanning over two and a half decades in the Public Service, the resolute administrator in Rift Valley Regional Coordinator Mr. George Natembeya has quit the service to try out a political role as a gubernatorial aspirant.

Natembeya, who resigned on Wednesday afternoon to gun for Trans Nzoia Gubernatorial seat in the General Election slated for August this year, has in equal measure won admirers and attracted critics almost simultaneously.

To some, Natembeya who has been at the Regional Commissioner’s perch for two and a half years is a firm bureaucrat who does not compromise on discipline, a stickler for the rule of law, perhaps to a fault.

Others, especially politicians, view him as a fervent administrator who ruthlessly exploits his powers to the fullest.

Natembeya’s outstanding success was exemplified when he spearheaded the eviction of illegal settlers from the Mau Forest complex to pave way for the restoration of the vital water tower within a few months of his elevation to Regional Commissioner.

This earned him tributes from conservation groups and foes from the political class, particularly those representing evicted communities.

And even as politicians throw brickbats at him, Natembeya has taken the bull by its horns and said he is ready to suffer the consequences.

An accomplished orator, the administrator who previously served as Narok County Commissioner before his promotion, is a master of crowd pulling antics and satirical comments which generally center on life and his work.

The straight shooting and plain speaking Natembeya is not known to mince his words, with his antics and satirical comments when tackling issues of insecurity, teenage pregnancy and conservation of forests earning him a lot of admirers.

In May 2020, as the country was being ravaged by Corona Virus, Natembeya was in his best element while putting chiefs on notice over increased teenage pregnancies.

His choice of words and the ease with which he conveyed his opinion on the sticky issue of early pregnancies message left his audience in stitches.

Infuriated by the rising cases of teenage pregnancies as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the tough-talking administrator told chiefs that they would be held responsible for any teenage pregnancy reported in their jurisdictions. 

“Wewe kama ni chief na kuna mtoto msichana amepata mimba kwa eneo lako na hujui mimba ni ya nani, itabidi uchukuwe hilo jukumu mpaka DNA ifanywe. (Chiefs will be deemed responsible for any schoolgirl who gets pregnant until DNA test to identify the baby’s father is done),” he declared mockingly to an electrified gathering in Uasin Gishu County.

“You have all the personnel and powers to arrest the culprits before they impregnate the young girls. If you sleep on the job and they get pregnant you will be called to account,” he said.

During a press briefing to announce his resignation, Natembeya who was flanked by 14 County Commissioners from the region maintained he is not funny at all, affirming that when it comes to matters security and issues affecting the people, he does not compromise.

“Matters security come first for me. I do not compromise on discipline and I follow the law to the letter,” he pointed out.

These traits, he stated, were both anchored on and reinforced by hard work and strident honesty. “If people find my comments funny and the message is home, so be it. The important thing here is to pass the right message to the people,” he added.

And in July last year Natembeya was at it again. A four-minute video clip of him sensitizing locals of Nessuit trading centre in Njoro Sub-county on virtues of family planning went viral on social media.

 “You have got it wrong. You have been drawn into a battle that you barely know its origins. Politicians are lying to Ogiek that if they don’t give birth to many children they will soon be extinct,” he says in the video.

“Politicians’ lies urging you to give birth to many children are driven by selfish motives of having numbers for political reasons. You who have been lied to if you vie for an MCA seat you won’t even come close to winning. They have reduced you to giving birth to as many children as if they are groundnuts,” he said.

The occasion was a peace meeting, following ethnic clashes that had left six people dead, scores injured and dozens of homes torched, over issues to do with land.

Sometime last year when addressing a security meeting in North Rift, Natembeya directed chiefs and their assistants who were unable to contain recurrent armed cattle rustling activities to “wake up from deep sleep or pack up and go”.

“Criminals cannot continue mocking the Government. Some chiefs know women who got pregnant in the night and do not know an armed criminal,” he said.

In January 2019, when serving as Narok County Commissioner, Natembeya caused a stir when he declared that there would be mandatory examination of schoolgirls’ genitalia to determine if they have been circumcised, with dire consequences.

He told the media briefing that his steadfastness on security matters and other issues affecting the people was acquired during his stint as a junior officer working under then Internal Security Minister John Michuki.

“Everything I know (public service) I learned from the late John Michuki,” Natembeya stated.

Those who have worked with him say Natembeya is never shy to speak his mind.

“He is one man who will never hesitate to tell the truth no matter how bitter it is. He follows the law to the letter and always holds his juniors to account,” says a senior administrator who has worked closely with Natembeya but who did not wish to be named.

In the two and half years as Rift Valley Regional Commissioner, Natembeya has become synonymous with Mau Forest reclamation and conservation efforts.

But Natembeya has succeeded where others failed. He has driven settlers out of the Maasai Mau Forest, a section of the 427,000-hectare complex.

His latest attention has been on the Eastern Mau Forest where the eviction of some 20,000 families has sparked ethnic conflicts in five villages in Njoro Sub- County.

Natembeya affirmed that he does not regret decisions he made and actions he took in his chequered career as an administrator.

He added “In Murang’a, I jointly worked with the County Security organs and we managed to eradicate criminal gangs such as Mungiki and illicit brews, while in Kamukunji we managed to identify and dismantle terrorist cells that were operating in Eastleigh.”

Rift Valley Regional Commissioner during a press briefing in his office where he announced his resignation ahead of contesting the Trans Nzoia County Gubernatorial seat in the forthcoming August Polls

Natembeya hopes to use his experience as an administrator to tackle thorny issues afflicting residents of Trans Nzoia County such as lack of title deeds, poverty, unemployment and drug and substance abuse among the youth.

He pledged to offer servant leadership.

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