How selfishness, greed, and corruption have continuously denied Maara constituency resources for her people

Maara MP launches a transformer in his constituency Image/courtesy

Japhet Miriti Mbiuki (Kareke Mbiuki) formerly an employee of Kabansora and Unga feeds companies has been the Maara MP for 14 years. The circumstances which made the B. A graduate from Kenyatta university leave these jobs still remain unclear. But his rise in politics within the small County of Tharaka-nithi is a story any person with Nithi politics can openly tell you about.

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But who exactly is this MP

The Maara MP joined politics in 2007 as the then Nithi Member of Parliament. Currently, he is one of the longest-serving members of parliament in the Kenyan legislature serving in his third term, but in all these years, the people that he represents have nothing to show for it.

The 2010 constitution offered Mr. Mbiuki the best chance of remaining in power; after realizing that his biggest challenge to retaining power lay with the Chuka side of the then Nithi constituency, he pushed for the subdivision of the Constituency into two, and with that, the MP got his own “island” of Maara constituency, an area that he could run like a personal empire for a decade, with no fear of any serious competition.

For him to ascend into power, he made several concessions including accepting Meru South to be named Tharaka-nithi in order to appease the Tharaka people; He also allowed the lower part of Mwimbi on the border of Ruguti and Mutonga rivers and extending all the way to Tana river to be named a part of Igambangombe and hence the name Chuka Igambangombe.

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Since then, a peaceful region saw the emergence of clan fights between Tharaka people and Mwimbi people where Mwimbi people have been killed in big numbers. The underlying issue behind these fights has been the and issue, that has seen a large number of Mwimbi people leave their land. What is disturbing is that when the Tharaka leaders come out to talk on behalf of their people, babayao has never bothered to defend his people arguably because of his own selfish interests.

For the same reasons above, people close to leadership in the county blame the MP for the loss of Keria (where the MP was brought up) an area up to Mutonga river to Meru county. While the MP was busy sleeping, a big chunk of Tharaka-nithi was lost to Meru county.

The current nature of governance allows the MP to negotiate for anything for the people of his constituency. But unfortunately, for the longest time, babayao has fully failed to represent the interests of his people.

The MP has made sure that since 2013, he has put his people in Thatraka-nithi county for his own interests. It is important to note the relationship that exists between Kareke Mbiuki and county leadership. During the tenure of former Governor Ragwa, the MP positioned himself as the chief adviser of Governor Ragwa, and it is easy to blame the failure of the first county leadership to the Maara MP.

After the exit of Ragwa, which was initiated by the MP especially when he realized that the former governor’s administration was too rotten to be entrusted by the people for a second term, the MP strategically jumped ship and supported the current governor who was the then Chuka-igambangombe MP, so that not to lose sight of the cookie jar.

To endear himself with local authorities, the Maara MP surrendered two nominations for Jubilee MCAs meant for Maara Constituency to tharaka and Chuka respectively. For the avoidance of doubt, MCA Karen Karimi is for Maara but is a nominated MCA of NARC-Kenya for the entire tharaka-nithi county.

To control the county assembly of Tharaka-nithi and generally the operations of the county, it is alleged that 98% of all the county appointments from Maara constituency are his choice including the most recent one of Father Gichunge of Magundu parish who was from Munga to Kathwana Municipality board.

The MP has been the biggest obstacle to dividing Maara constituency into two sub-counties of Muthambi and Mwimbi. According to sources, his idea has been to control the total government resources from Kieganguru where he lives.

Because of that, Maara has been losing 10 people per intake (50 people per year) to the Police, armed forces, prison, NYs, Forest officers, TSC and many other government agencies which recruit people based on sub-counties.

This selfishness saw him open Chogoria police station in the same ward as Ntumu police station, therefore, denying the people of Muthambi and Mitheru a chance to have a police station in their areas.

It is no wonder that the only known appointments that he has been able to push through to the national government are only his brothers and sisters.

It is alleged that the MP has been able to change government projects to the areas that he prefers most. In his first tenure, the MP is accused of channeling 20 million from Kiini health center to Kareke Memorial hospital in Kariakomo. He is also accused of diverting the tea zone road which was initiated by governor Kiraitu in Meru and was supposed to cut along the forest through Mitheru, Muthambi, Kiangondu, Kithogoto to Embu Rukuriri area and channeled it to old Marima-Munga and Kiriani. The cut-off of Mitheru-kaanwa road (2kms) and allegedly taken to Chogoria was all done by the MP

He is the only MP whore residents have no bridges for crossing rivers along river nithi and Tungu, with residents forced to use logs to cross over. His biggest achievement before 2017 was launching a transformer.

Perhaps most saddening is that under his tenure, his constituency has had no roads developed by CDF despite the constituency receiving over 2 billion over the course of his leadership. In 2019 alone, the MP received an additional 500million for the transition from primary to secondary school not including the 120 million CDF cash. what hurts is that the highest amount for bursary one receives in the constituency is between Shs.2000 and Shs. 5000.

The MP has several construction companies ranging from roads, power, and water and it is alleged that most of the construction within the county is undertaken by him. More to that, these companies are accused of doing shoddy work especially the tarmacking of Chogoria town whose construction was done in the middle of the night to escape the wrath of the residents who had resisted the poor quality of work that was being done.

The MP has intentionally marginalized Mitheru and Muthambi in terms of electricity, roads, and water and according to allegations the MP openly told the residents that he doesn’t need their votes to win the elections.

A few months ago, some Maara professionals discussed and raised these issues, and as much as many people may have dismissed their issues, perhaps a question on why Tharaka should have two Huduma centers while Maara has none: why Maara is one sub-county as a constituency while Chuka and Tharaka constituencies are different and why there is no level 4 hospital in Maara need to be addressed. Questions about incomplete road projects that are abandoned due to issues of corruption demands by contractors need to be resolved: Otherwise, 2022 is just a year away…