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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

The Mwendwa Dynasty: 34 years after the death of its architect- Maluki Kitili Mwendwa – Part 1

Three decades later, the family of the late Mwendwa Kitavi political fortunes are dwindling….at an alarming rate. And here is the empirical evidence. The late  Eliud Ngala Mwendwa was a Minister in the first Cabinet of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.

His brother Kyale Mwendwa was the first black education director in independence Kenya. And the overly ambitious Kitili Mwendwa, a controversial man by all standards…the first African Chief Justice in Kenya.

Had he not succumbed to a freak accident along Thika Road, he would most likely have risen to become one of the most sought after politicians in Kenya.

So why should the political fortunes of independent Kenya’s one of the most famous families be dwindling

Political arrogance

Ngala Mwendwa said the family had defeated poverty by 7 corners | PHOTO COURTESY

For a long time, the Mwendwa Kitavi family was accused of political arrogance. During his power days, the Ngala is said to have famously said the Mwendwa family was so “rich that they had won the race against poverty by more than seven corners”.

It so happens that there is a road stretch at Kiongwe, on the way to Miambani and Mutitu in Kitui County. This stretch has seven sharp corners and its thought this is what the humorous Ngala may have been referring to.

Development record

Matinyani Town. It never benefitted from the Mwendwa family fame | PHOTO COURTESY

The Mwendwa family, despite the fame and connections, is not known to have helped the locals…most of them still wallowed in poverty and deprivation. And this has explained why former MP Francis Nyenze and former  Yatta Mp Charles Nyamai easily gained political mileage in the constituency.

Political apathy

Most of the second generation and third generation Mwendwa family scions have kept away from politics. Neither the sons of Ngala, and Kyale have shown political interest in Kitui County. Other than Dr. Kennedy Ngumbau Mulwa, the US trained education who wanted to be the Governor of Kitui in 2013.

Maluki Kitili Mwendwa junior tried his hand in politics in December 2017 but failed miserably….his undoing was his poor mastery of the Kamba language….he is  allegedly supposed to have greeted women groups thus…Iveti Mwi asyau?  Instead of Iveti Mwiaseo…….jokes that have done little to boost his political standing.

The Dr. Kalonzo Musyoka factor

Wiper leader, Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, with Nyiva Mwendwa | PHOTO COURTESY

The Wiper leader is now a political colossus in Ukambani. Since his election as an MP in 1985, Kalonzo has dimmed political stars of many people…including the Mwendwa’s.

Although he is related to them by marriage, current political realities makes it impossible for him to attempt to rescue the Mwendwa family politically.

The likes of Senator Enoch Wambua, Gideon Mulyungi  among others have developed political clouts that will be impossible to break…

The Nyiva Mwendwa factor

Concerns abound that former  Cabinet Minister Nyiva Mwendwa should have retired in 2012 to pave way for a younger scion of the Mwendwa family. But her popularity of the ground dissuaded her from doing so…

And then there is the Kennedy Kalonzo , the EALA Mp factor. Kalonzo is lately emerging as his own man and may soon want to curve a political niche for himself.

The Charity Ngilu factor(Charity Ngilu)

Charity Ngilu, Kitui County governor | PHOTO COURTESY

Since her arrival in the political scene in 1992, Ngilu managed to drive the Mwendwa’s out of Kitui Town Constituency.  Kyale was the culprit of the Ngilu emergence. Even after Ngilu left parliamentary politics, the Mwendwa’s had retreated too far to possibly come back.

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