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Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro rises as the new face of defiance

Thursday September 19 2019

Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro

Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro. The young legislator has risen through the ranks to become the face of defiance in central Kenya politics. 

 NYAMBEGA GISESA
By NYAMBEGA GISESA
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Recently, Kiharu lawmaker Ndindi Nyoro created a ruckus after he was arrested for disrupting a church service and resisting arrest.

He accused the State of using excessive power in the matter, yet in the past he has advocated for benevolent dictatorship in Kenya in exchange of democracy.

Despite the ordeals, the Kiharu MP still insists that Kenya’s woes are better solved if they are dealt with “directly, ruthlessly and in a crude manner”.

“I admire the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un,” he remarks as we meet for an interview in his office located within the Nairobi CBD, where he is reading a book on the dictator.

BOOKS

Other titles in his office bookshelf are on Machiavelli, Napoleon Bonaparte, Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Lee Kuan Yew and General Park of South Korea.

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The MP says some of his favourite books include Political Order and Political Decay by Francis Fukuyama, Lee Kuan Yew’s From the Third World to the 1st World (The story of Singapore) and Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco.

His shelf is also littered with publications and books on Machiavelli, Socrates and, interestingly, the Zhou dynasty, tales of the Chinese early state.

When not on the microphone, the 33-year-old politician with a mean-sized body and a warm smile does not look like a man who can threaten a political system.

Well, looks can be deceiving.

CENTRAL KENYA POLITICS

In the recent past, the young legislator has risen through the ranks to become the face of defiance in central Kenya politics.

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria and Kirinyaga Governor Ann Waiguru, who used to be staunch supporters of Deputy President William Ruto have since chickened out, leaving Mr Nyoro as among the notable leaders supporting the self-declared ‘hustler’.

You can easily trace his defiance to his predecessors, especially Ford Asili leader Kenneth Matiba, who was detained for opposing the Kanu regime.

LIFE'S STRUGGLE

Before he became an MP, Mr Nyoro struggled through life after the death of his father who worked as a carpenter in Kiandutu slums in Thika.

As from the age of 15 years after the loss of his father, he burnt charcoal, sold mitumba clothes and repaired shoes for his fellow students so as to pay for his secondary school fees and support his widowed mother.

Recently, Uwezo Fund Board ranked Kiharu as the best in the utilisation of the Uwezo kitty.

The constituency has so far revolved Sh32 million, which is the highest across all the 290 constituencies.

DEBATER

In Parliament, he is an astute debater.

Mzalendo.com, the organisation which ranks the performance of MPs based on how often they speak at the plenary, ranked Mr Nyoro as the best performing young legislator.

Below, the youthful legislator explains some of his views:

Other than politicking, what are your other interests?

I am an author and I have a hobby for reading books about economics, history and politics, especially that of revolutionaries.

I am also a businessman with interests in financial services specifically stock broking and private equity, IT and construction.

You have termed democracy as evil and called for benevolent dictatorship, what is your motivation?

Would you rather be a Singaporean, Chinese or Kenyan at the moment?

Think about these figures: Singapore’s GDP per Capita is above USD57,000, Chinese GDP per Capita is USD8,800 and Kenya's is around USD1,500.

Would you rather have all rights and freedoms while sleeping hungry or living first class life in a country that has under-stable limits?

In poor countries, democracy is usually a cycle of handing over from a set of elites to another and the only beneficiaries of that democracy is the ruling class.

Remember, there are three prerequisites to a modern state: A strong state, rule of law and accountability through democracy.

If you have democracy before a strong state, you will have a very weak democracy that borders on anarchy. Unfortunately, many African countries became a democracy before building a strong bureaucracy based on meritocracy.

It’s prudent to explore other forms of leadership.

The only demerit of this model is that it's subjective and based on luck of getting the right person to be a benevolent dictator.

Imagine even with the embracing of democracy, there is no democracy in East Asia, which grew the economy by 7.3 percent annually.

Imagine that in the past 50 years, the economy of East Asian counties has annually averaged 7.3 percent per annum without widespread democracy while that of Africa over the same period has been at a partly 3.5 percent in spite of the democratic gains.

In developed and mature democracies like the US and UK, the average economic growth over that period has been 3.2 percent.

Arguably, there is something very wrong about democracy.

Also, strong democracies have a sequence. Industrialisation comes first and then formation of working/middle class who objectively start demanding for more rights.

In our case, democracy is based on ethnicity and therefore not objective.

It’s too bad that my presidential candidate in 2022 hates dictatorship and is a paragon of democracy.

Is this the reason why you are an admirer of President Donald Trump?

I admire Trump because like me he believes that political correctness is mediocre. Contrary to how he is viewed out here, his policies like embracing nationalism and dealing with immigration are working for Americans.

What five problems bedevil Kenya? Why is Kenya lagging behind its other peers at independence?

The first problem is ethnicity, which was mostly entrenched during independence.
Then there is corruption, especially through patronage and clientelism, a very weak state in which merit for employment is through political connections.

We also have weak fiscal policies and high unemployment levels.

Why should the government be so huge? We have so many business entities owned by government, most of which are dens of corruption while others duplicate roles.

The numerous government corporations and agencies and commissions only exist to serve political friends while haemorrhaging public resources.

Our macroeconomic policies have not been able to spur industrialisation. Just quick fixes. Public expenditure to GDP ratio is too high.

That's why there's a lot of development happening but no money is trickling down.

What should the President do differently?

He should start by crushing corruption from the source with more drastic actions (Nyoro recently sponsored a Bill in parliament which provided for the capital punishment of the corrupt).

Then, he should take charge of the country’s economic policies, especially fiscal policies through being actively involved in making and implementing holistic policies that carry everyone along.

Value addition and manufacturing should be key.

President Kenyatta should abolish betting and give more incentives to investors engaged in value addition and manufacturing.

He should make his government lean and make it one that is only an enabler and one that plays regulatory roles.

Why do we still have the government owning banks that bleeds cash in a sector making super normal profits? What is the role of over 200 government owned entities?

How on earth is KBC still a parastatal making loss while being the best endowed media house in the country?

The problem is not the people working there. The problem is the rigidity of government. Business environment needs fast decision-making that cannot be present in any government.

The government must never be in business of doing business.

Towards the 2017 general election, you became notorious due to your nasty social media posts on ODM leader Raila Odinga. What did he do to you? Why the hatred? What wrongs has he done? Did Raila Odinga eat your goat?

When I support anything, I do it wholeheartedly. A sycophant. I was supporting UhuRuto, therefore had nothing kind to say about competition.