Kimani Ngunjiri: The MP who earned presidential rebuke

Fire spitting Onesmas Kimani Ngunjiri (pictured) is in the eye of a storm, an unwelcome yet familiar territory for the abrasive Bahati Member of Parliament.

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President Uhuru Kenyatta was in Ngunjiri’s backyard in Nakuru County yesterday when he took the gloves off and read the riot act to the MP.

“There is one man who has made it a habit to insult me every day. I decided to keep quiet and observe him until the day I would come to Bahati,” Uhuru began firing his salvo.

“If he (Ngunjiri) is not able to deliver, he can step aside and I will take his place and deliver what you (Bahati constituents) expected from him,” the President went on.

Ngunjiri, a second-time MP and former Kanu operative, was sitting barely 20 meters away from the president as he savagely criticised his leadership.

“Instead of working, he is always in the press insulting me. Ask him what wrong I have done to him. Tell him to leave me alone.”

This was not the first time Ngunjiri, who is popularly known to constituents as OKN, was attracting the wrath of Uhuru.

On January 7, Uhuru told him off over claims he had neglected the Mt. Kenya region despite the area overwhelmingly voting for him in the last elections.

“I am not a person who is easily scared. Those going around playing petty politics, I want to tell them this. We will not launch development projects based on which region a leader comes from,” Uhuru said in Mombasa.

The president’s remarks came barely 24 hours after Ngunjiri had asked Uhuru to resign if he was tired of leading the country.

Ngunjiri then fired back. He led his supporters in a procession through Nakuru town, faulting Uhuru’s statement, while also blaming Raila Odinga for their woes.

The MP walked from Railways grounds to the CBD in Nakuru town donned in a white T-Shirt printed ‘TeamWashenzi’. Washenzi is Swahili for fools.

Ngunjiri fell out with the President in the post power struggle in the Jubilee party after the March 9, 2018 handshake between Uhuru and the de facto opposition leader Raila Odinga.

A section of the party under the banner Tanga Tanga viewed the truce deal between Uhuru and Raila with suspicion.

The Jubilee wing is composed of MPs backing DP William Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid and was on a collision path with Kieleweke team which supported the handshake.

To Ngunjiri, the handshake has made them outsiders in a government they campaigned for.

Ngunjiri is, however, not new to controversies owing to his past numerous run-in with the law.

Just last week, the outspoken MP’s security and firearm licence was withdrawn in the ongoing purge on politicians who have been linked to crime.

He was grilled for about an hour at the regional Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) offices in Nakuru before he surrendered his shotgun.

This was after the National Police Service’s decision to take guns away from misbehaving VIPs.

Addressing the press after surrendering the gun, Ngunjiri claimed he was being intimidated because he supports DP Ruto. The police did not confirm or deny those allegations.

In 2013, a similar decision was made to take away his guns after the MP was involved in a scuffle with a traffic police officer.

He was charged with six counts of assault and traffic-related offences.

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