Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua on Thursday evening formally parted ways with the Wiper Movement, which brought him to power, by launching his new party, Maendeleo Chap Chap.
It was a colourful event held at Nairobi’s Bomas of Kenya.
The crowd was adorned in purple t-shirts waving pennants with Dr Mutua’s name on it.
A couple was brought in from Machakos to testify how his water projects had saved them long journeys in search of the scarce commodity.
There were booklets listing all his achievements, from ambulances to police cars to stadia and CCTV cameras.
“Tribalism is not a way of life, he began,” reading from teleprompter.
“But it is something that has been institutionalised to a point where it has become a point of reference,” he went on.
The new party, he called it “a consciousness”, would tackle the problems he argued have dragged Kenya’s growth for years.
The problems he listed included poor work ethic, bureaucracy, corruption and lack of basic amenities.
Dr Mutua said Kenyan contractors are never in a hurry to finish projects, yet they get paid for it.
“We have a never-ending bureaucracy that is just creating poverty. I hate corruption and we are not poor. We are just being robbed,” Dr Mutua said.
NO POLITICIAN INVITED TO EVENT
The launch was a political event but politicians from the current parliament were not present. He claimed the delegates were from all Kenyan counties.
“We have deliberately not invited politicians. This is because Maendeleo Chap Chap is a party of the common mwananchi,” he said.
In May this year, Dr Mutua claimed he feared being rigged out of Wiper nominations due next year and vowed to defend his seat on a different party.
Then he started Maendeleo Chap Chap which he said would deliver his people from the jaws of poverty.
Wiper has accused him of dancing to the tune of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government, threatening to expel him unless he apologised.
However, the defiant governor refused to toe Wiper's line, defending his close association with President Kenyatta.
With the decision to defend his seat on a different movement, Dr Mutua has taken a political risk.
Machakos, like most of Ukambani region, was in Cord in the last general elections. It has remained so despite overtures from the Jubilee side.
Does he worry about this opposition wave? He claimed he wasn't, because he believed the people of Machakos are not gullible.
"We need to walk the talk instead of pulling apart. It doesn't matter which party you support. You too, can be a friend of Maendeleo Chap Chap," said the Machakos County boss.
Earlier, Dr Mutua had angered journalists covering his launch after he ordered his security detail to throw reporters out of a rehearsal auditorium.
But the governor, sensitive to negative reporting, later emerged from the hall to offer an explanation of what he meant when he ejected them.
“There were certain people who are not supposed to be here, he argued shaking hands with the journalists later.
“I want you to understand that I cannot chase you away.”
His utterances in the auditorium had been perceived to be arrogant. He told the burly men to pick out every journalist and take them out then used the word nyonga which translates to strangle.
Later, he argued he was using the word to refer to ejecting people by grabbing their shirts.
(Editing by Joel Muinde)