This man Nyoro: From boardroom to murky politics
In 2012 when James Nyoro quit his position as the Managing Director of the Rockefeller Foundation Africa Region to vie for the Kiambu governorship, little was known about him and had an uphill task to sell himself.
This is considering that Nyoro, who was on Friday sworn in as the 3rd Kiambu governor following the impeachment of Ferdinand Waititu, was joining flamboyant politician and eventual winner William Kabogo, then the larger Juja lawmaker and who then had already hit the ground.
The two were battling for defunct The National Alliance’s ticket, which was equal to winning the seat considering the county is home to President Uhuru Kenyatta who was the founder of the party.
“I was holding a position that was giving me a lot of money but I have chosen to leave it so that we can develop our county which despite having much recourse, we have lagged behind due to poor leadership,” Nyoro said in August 2012 during the launch in Kiambu Town.
Though Nyoro, who took over the county operations on Tuesday after the court barred Governor Ferdinand Waititu from going to the office over graft claims had promised to inject of professionalism into the country’s politics, their campaigns turned bruising and bear-knuckled.
Other than hooliganism, Nyoro, whose demeanor doesn’t betray his character and professionalism persevered below the belt character assassination from some of his competitors even as he continued to conduct himself in a polished manner.
Around September 2012, he recorded statement the police to complain after one of his competitors allegedly orchestrated hard-hitting propaganda which included dropping of leaflets associating him with Satanism.
The leaflets titled “The Rockefeller Bloodline” were dropped in Kikuyu, Lari and Limuru constituencies in Kiambu West which were his strongholds, considering he hails from Kamangu village in Kikuyu Sub-County.
But the Rockefeller Foundation where Nyoro worked dates from 1913 in New York and operates in the United States and around the world.
It expands opportunities and strengthens resilience to social, economic, health and environmental challenges and was started by John D Rockefeller, a philanthropist who made the first donation of 35
Shortly after, following numerous incidents, which even led to injuries, the Mang’u High School alumnae, who enjoyed support from the elite decamped to Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu’s National Rainbow Coalition.
But Nyoro became a casualty of the “Six Piece” voting but after putting up a spirited fight which saw him become a factor in the county politics after he garnered 240, 000 votes despite vying an unpopular party against Kabogo’s 480, 000 votes.
When the government was formed Nyoro, a University of Nairobi trained Agricultural economics and who holds a master’s degree from University of London’s Wye College was picked as an adviser on agriculture.
The deputy governor who operated at Harambee House Annex, however quit in a huff to join the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle Washington where he worked with different presidents among them in Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Nigeria.
But Nyoro was still nursing his political ambition and in 2016, he again quit his job to make a comeback in politics which he declared on November 20, 2016.
“We had dreams of creating employment for the youth through agro-processing and through introduction of factories as well as improving the condition of investors so that they did run away to others counties. We still have those dreams, and when we look back, we see there is a greater need for those things (visions) in Kiambu,” Nyoro said when announcing his comeback.
But his return was too late since the governor race has already taken shape with Waititu, then Kabete MP and Kabogo, who was grappling with allegations of inept, hardheadedness and arrogance being the main contender.
But the determination to kick out Kabogo saw some senior government officials and prominent businessmen force a merger Nyoro and Waititu in a deal that also lope in three fringe candidates- controversial preacher David Ngare (Gakuyo), James Mugwe and Aquiline Njoki
Nyoro’s entry into Waititu’s camp, according to the planners, was meant to bring in professionalism in the candidature due to his vast managerial skills and experience, and also neutralise Waititu’s perceived roughness and hooliganism.
The five are said to have entered into a deal whereby Waititu was the governor, Nyoro the deputy, Ngare county lands minister and a principle secretary, Mugwe the roads minister while Njoki was to be the county legal adviser, only for it to be trashed by the governor.
“Everyone knows the kind of experience Nyoro has, and the vast entrepreneurial knowledge possessed by Gakuyo, and if we combine, I am convinced that will move this county forward. As for me, my responsibility will be to fight the devil (political wars), and as you know, I am very good in that,” Waititu said during the campaigns.
But this marked another beginning of another of Nyoro’s woes in the political arena which saw him vilified by his boss as well as some junior officers in the county who have been pressuring him to resign during his difference with the governor.
Nyoro has been at loggerheads with Waititu, accusing of mistreating him, say he had not only refused involve him in county matters, but had also plotted to have him locked out of office by pouring water in it and also refusing to have his official car repaired.
“Since we entered office, there has never been any Cabinet meeting, and if there has, I have never been involved. The governor makes unilaterally decisions, most of which are not informed by merit or law. MCAs and CECs are always threatened and humiliated and have been warned against working with me,” Nyoro said in June 2018.
Waititu was impeached by senators on Wednesday evening over claims of gross violation of the Constitution, misconduct and abuse of office, giving Nyoro the coveted seat on a silver platter.