Why Governor George Natembeya Dumped President William Ruto

By The Weekly Vision Team

The political landscape in Trans-Nzoia County seems to have shifted against Governor George Natembaya. It is a well-known fact that Mr Natembeya had chosen to collaborate with President William Ruto’s administration after abandoning Azimio on whose ticket he won the governorship under Eugene Wamalwa’s Democratic Action Party (DAP-K).

Last week, during the Jamhuri Day celebrations, the governor vowed never to set foot in State House again, denying claims that he had abandoned Azimio for Kenya Kwanza. Analysts now wonder why he has decided to dump President Ruto. Reports emerging from the ground in Trans Nzoia indicate that Kenya Kwanza is no longer as attractive as it was in the run-up to the last general elections.

Governor Natembeya had initially planned to align himself with the power soon after William Ruto won the presidency, but UDA operatives from the region could not allow him, hence the big about-turn. It has been further advanced that the political ground in Trans Nzoia is hostile and that his attempts to convince his supporters that working with William Ruto greatly benefited them have been met with hostility.

The Governor has also realized that DP Rigathi Gachagua is the one who is creating the bad blood between him and his deputy, and therefore working with the UDA was of no benefit to him. Sources say the DP is grooming deputy governor Phelomennah Kapkory to take over from Natembeya in 2027 or even earlier through an impeachment motion.

During last year’s general elections, Mr Natembeya garnered 158,919 votes against his competitor, Chris Wamalwa of Ford Kenya, who came in second with 79,020 votes, but soon after the election, President Ruto targeted five Azimio-allied governors by luring them into working with his administration. The targeted governors were Mombasa’s Abdullswamad Nassir, Kakamega’s Fernandes Barasa, Paul Otuoma of Busia, Simba Arati of Kissi, and George Natembeya.

It’s interesting to note that all five governors have turned their backs on President Ruto. Governor Natembeya had initially shown his readiness to work with President Ruto when he surprisingly attended a major prayer rally in Nakuru alongside the president on 13th February 2023. It was during the same prayer rally that Governor Natembeya publicly said that Ruto had been validly elected into office as president, going against his coalition’s stand at the time, which believed that the election had been manipulated by the IEBC in favour of Kenya Kwanza.

Things took a turn for the worse at the same prayer meeting when Deputy President Rigathi Gachagwa took to the podium and lectured Governor Natembeya, to the crowd’s amazement and even the president himself. Sources say that immediately after the Nakuru rally, Governor Natembeya had serious administrative issues with his deputy, Phelomennah Kapkory.