Former governors who were trounced in the August 8 General Election are struggling to cope with life away from the trappings of power and round-the-clock security they were used to.
Immediately after elections especially of President and governors, the sudden change in status catches their aides and associates including campaign managers by surprise as State security agents take control and effectively limit access to the leaders.
While attending public gatherings, these new leaders are accorded tight security with dozens of police officers keeping ordinary people at bay .
The Daily Nation tracked some of the former county chiefs to find out how they are coping now that they are bereft of power and authority after a bruising political battle.
Some of the former governors have quietly retreated back to their families as they figure out how to keep themselves busy, while others have fallen back to their professions.
Former Bomet governor Isaac Ruto has resorted to doing community voluntary work because, he says, development starts from the grassroots.
“I just want to recoup in the lost time with my family and continue with my businesses,” Mr Ruto says.
“I want to assist locals to farm through cooperative societies, especially in the dairy sector which has great potential in the region,” he adds.
He now shuttles between his homes in Tumoi, Chepalungu, Kericho, and Nairobi where he runs various businesses.
He remained tight-lipped about his political plans.
The former Council of Governors chairman is remembered for his ‘Pesa Mashinani’ campaign in which he fought to have the national government allocate more funds to the counties.
Former Taita Taveta governor John Mruttu has ventured into agriculture as he sets his eyes on 2022 campaigns, hoping to recapture the seat he lost narrowly to Mr Granton Samboja.
Mr Mruttu has kept a low profile since he lost the August polls but is optimistic of a 2022 comeback.
The former county chief has a large banana plantation farm that he manages in his Taveta home. Besides banana farming, Mr Mruttu also rears rabbits, chicken and doves at his home when not engaged in local politics.
Mr Mruttu, who has since moved to Jubilee Party after losing the election as an Independent candidate, is, however, keen on consolidating his support base before campaigns for the next elections start.
For the Former Baringo governor Benjamin Cheboi it’s time to focus on personal matters and family.
He, however, says he is ready to serve Kenyans in any capacity if given a chance. “If Kenyans want to tap into my experience as a manager, I’m ready for them,” says the former chief executive of the Higher Education Loans Board.
Former Laikipia Governor Joshua Irungu has launched a multi-million dairy farming project even as he waits for the outcome of an election petition challenging the results. He will on Wednesday next week know if the court will uphold or nullify the election of Governor Ndiritu Muriithi.
Mr Muriithi, who contested as an independent candidate, beat Mr Irungu of Jubilee Party with a margin of fewer than 2,000 votes. A voter, Sammy Ndung’u, filed a petition challenging the win and Mr Irungu’s attempt to join the case as an interested party in the petition failed.
“In case the court nullifies Mr Muriithi’s win and the voters ask me to contest in a subsequent by-election, I will honour their request,” says Mr Irungu on the telephone.
Mr Irungu, an environmentalist, describes himself as an ambassador for climate change and currently sits on the management board of Upper Tana Nairobi Water Fund that supports conservation of water catchment areas and promotes rainwater harvesting.
“I intend to pump in Sh10 million in the dairy project where I will have 100 pedigree cows with a target of producing 2,000 litres of milk a day. Recently I bought four pregnant cows at a cost of Sh1 million and each of them is giving me 25 litres daily, “Mr Irungu says.
“I am passionate about dairy farming and my intention is to have a model farm and offer interested farmers pedigree cows at affordable prices. I am also diversifying into a biogas project so that the energy from the cow dung will power the entire project,” he says.
Already the former governor has put 20 acres of his farm under Rhodes grass for hay production and has constructed a store capable of storing 10,000 bales of hay, an indication that dairy farming would remain his major preoccupation whether or not he returns to politics.
Former Nyeri Governor Samuel Wamathai who had a short stint at the helm of the county’s top most job says he has taken some time off work and politics to rejuvenate.
Mr Wamathai who took over as the county boss following the death of the county’s first governor Nderitu Gachagua, lost to the late Dr Wahome Gakuru in the August elections.
“I have been working continuously for a long time and I have just taken some time to rest and put my house in order,” he says.
He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Air and Space law from McGill University in Canada and works as a part-time consultant with the United Nations on matters related to Civil Aviation.
TOO MUCH TO BEAR
For others such as former Isiolo governor Godana Doyo, the loss has been too much to bear and since the August poll, he has never been seen in public in the county. Mr Doyo, a lawyer by profession lost to Mr Mohammed Kuti.
Former governor Issa Timamy of ANC is currently running his law firm Timamy and Company Associates in Mombasa as he awaits for the results of a petition in which is challenging the win of governor Fahim Twaha of Jubilee party.
Mr Timamy, narrowly lost to Mr Twaha coming second with 22,420 votes against Twaha’s 22,969 and is rarely seen in public.
Former Tana River Governor Hussein Dado now lives in his Odda home in Garsen, where he has ventured into pastoralism, community welfare issues and his family. Mr Dado has been nominated Chief Administrative Secretary for Devolution.
Reports by Samwel Owino, Kalume Kazungu, Anita Chepkoech, by Oscar Kakai, Mwangi Ndirangu, Vivian Jebet, Grace Gitau and Florah Koech and Brian Ocharo