Natembeya walks away from administration to politics

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Mr George Natembeya. FILE PHOTO | NMG

On a casual day, just like his name- Natembeya, the no-nonsense career administrator would put on short pants, a T-shirt and cap, take a walking stick and stroll in town without courting attention.

George Natembeya, who resigned on Thursday to join politics, does that every time he visits his home town in Kitale. He used to do so when he was the county commissioner Narok and even when he became the regional Commissioner- Rift Valley.

Those who know him say he would tell his bodyguards and driver to take a rest as he strolls in town without raising any drama.

And when not taking a stroll, Mr Natembeya likes reading. In his home library, there is an array of books from fictional, biographies and autobiographies to motivational genres. While in Trans Nzoia, Mr Natembeya visits his two farms — in Zea on the way to Kwanza and in Kiminini, where he does farming.

The father of three handed a notice to the government on Thursday to join the gubernatorial race for the Trans Nzoia, his home county.

When he announced his resignation, Mr Natembeya joked that competitors were touting to resign and join them instead of campaigning for the seat while still in government.

“Those who wanted me to get off this uniform, I have done it and I am coming,” he said.

An alumni of Mother of Apostles Seminary in Eldoret, Mr Natembeya grew up in Endebess area in Trans Nzoia where his father was working for a white man.

Although his parents were squatters, he and his siblings went through school and he later joined the University of Nairobi where he obtained a Bachelor degree in Arts and later a Master’s of Arts degrees in Anthropology. He loves traditional vegetables and brown ugali joined the civil service at 25 when he got employed as a District Officer (DO) and posted to then Trans Mara District.

He later served in the same position in Elburgon, Nakuru county and later Burnt Forest in Uasin Gishu County. Later, he went for an advanced public administration course after which he was posted to Mulot in Narok and Kaplamai in Trans Nzoia.

While at Kaplamai, Mr Natembeya, who also played football in his school days, would nurture young people and support their teams as a way of keeping them busy. The 51-year-old is a fun of Chelsea, an English professional football club.

In 2005, Mr Natembeya received a call from the Office of President as Internal Security minister John Michuki wanted a personal assistant. He was successful in his interview and he served him for a while before he was deployed to Murang’a where he helped tackled the Mungiki menace.

He says he learnt a lot from the late minister, perhaps the reason he is known as a no-nonsense man. He also worked in Kamukunji in Nairobi and Kamukunji in Nairobi before he was dispatched to Isiolo where banditry was causing havoc.

For the good work, he was sent to Narok as the county commissioner where he faced the problem of female genital mutilation and early marriage.

In fact, the plight of many girls forced into the family way, made him adopt several of them whom he supports in education. Some are in secondary school at the moment.

As the regional commissioner, Mr Natembeya said his is proud of leading in the conservation efforts and saving of the Mau Forest. It was during his time that hundreds of illegal dwellers were removed from the expansive forest.

When he flushed out residents from the forest, Mr Natembeya caused a stir when he accused the community of siring too many children.

He said even if education was free, parents should not forget that they have to feed and clothe the children, adding that it was the reason that politicians take advantage and use them to stir ethnic clashes.

Now that he is set to join politics, as he seeks to succeed Patrick Khaemba in Trans Nzoia, many would be watching whether he will avoid the pitfalls in the game.

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