1. Who is Lenku?
Wikipedia describes Joseph Jama Ole Lenku (born 20 October 1970) as a Kenyan politician currently serving as the second Governor of Kajiado County after winning in the Kenyan General Elections on 8 August 2017. A question on most critics’s lips is if he really won the elections or he was a pawn for some people to acquire land in the county.
He was born on October 20, 1970 in Lenkisim sub-location, Entonet location, Loitokitok Division, in the then Kajiado District in Rift Valley Province. His father, Lenku Ole Mpaa Kapei was a senior chief in Kajiado South, and his mother Sentema Lenku also hailed from a lineage of a powerful Maasai family. He comes from the Orok-kiteng’ (Black Bull) clan (Ilaitayiok sub-clan).
He schooled in Lenkism, Il-Bissil, Nkama, and D.E.B Loitokitok Primary Schools and was later admitted to Nakuru High School. He attained a diploma in hotel management at Utalii Hotel and later graduated a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing degree from the University of Nairobi. He went on to further his studies (still at the University of Nairobi) and obtained a Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management. He also has numerous certificates from different institutions, including a certificate in Project Management from Greece Ote Academy and a certificate in Corporate Governance (Centre for Corporate Governance).
He has worked both in Tanzania’s Serengeti Serena as an Assistant Lodge Manager for two years and Kenya’s Kilaguni Serena Hotels and was subsequently promoted to General manager until the year 2003 where he vied to be the Kajiado South MP after the death of Mr. Geoffrey Mepukori Parpai. He vied under the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) ticket but he lost to the incumbent Katoo Ole Metito.
He returned to his career where he was appointed General Manager of the David Livingstone Safari Resort. In 2005 he joined the government service to work as General Manager of Kenya Utalii College. In May 2013 he was appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta as the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government where he served for one year surprisingly with no experience on security matters. This is where his rivals got the ‘burning mattresses’ slogan which they frequently use against him.
On 21 September 2013, four masked gunmen attacked Westgate Shopping Mall which led to the death of approximately 69 people and the wounding of approximately 200 others. Joseph Ole Lenku, the then Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government stated that the smoke emitting from the building was due to the terrorists burning mattresses. A theory that would, later on, be refuted.
The then Kisumu Central MP Ken Obura, gave a notice of motion to impeach him. “The house expresses its dissatisfaction with the conduct of the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and National Coordination Mr. Ole Lenku and censures him for his total inability and incompetence to secure peace and security” read Obura in his notice of motion. Most critics saw him unfit for the position due to the increased security incidences or armed attacks on citizens in Lamu County, Mpeketoni and Gunana at the border of Mandera and Wajir counties.
Having served for barely 20 months, Joseph Ole Lenku was fired as CS on 2nd December 2014 and was replaced by his tribesman the late Major General (Rtd) Joseph Nkaissery who apparently, were not in very good terms.
Joseph Ole Lenku is married to Edna Chelangat Lenku and has four children (3 girls and one last born son).
2. What Has He Achieved?
According to Wikipedia, Ole Lenku steered significant reforms in the security sector, including a robust crack-down on drug trafficking, reforms of the police force and increase in its budget and devolution of security during his first year in office.
It is also stated that Lenku spearheaded the rolling out of a new security framework known as “Nyumba Kumi” (ten households) anchored on the larger concept of community policing. Any other achievements are not documented online and our efforts to reach representatives who would give us information about his achievements proved futile. We were informed that there used to be a Governor’s Delivery Unit but it was shut down because the opposition would use that information against him.
Another noted that the achievements or rather the projects he initiated all had issues. With very little information about him online, most of which are negative, people shared their opinion on global pages. According to the Standard, a volunteer wrote an opinionated profile of Joseph ole Lenku, describing him as a ‘cook’ and ‘comedian’ on Wikipedia.
3. What Are His Shortcomings?
Well, despite the recent collapse of Paai bridge (just a week after launch) that costed the county a whopping 100 million shillings, Lenku has had tons of other scandals that are not documented on the wider nation’s blogs nor media houses. One would find them on Kajiado Facebook and WhatsApp Groups or people close to him.
This has really brought down development in Kajiado County as leaders are not brought to book for their actions. You will rarely see Kajiado County news hitting headlines and rarely will you also see a leader’s achievements on blogs and articles. They forget that these stories last a lifetime because the internet never forgets.
It is claimed that Lenku has and is still favoring people from his clan. It is only the people from his clan that get appointed to positions in the county, it is the people from his clan who get bursaries and also the same who are allocated tenders in the county. From the KAJIADO SOUTH PEEPS(Rombo, Loitokitok,Kimana……) Facebook group, one writes
“Lenku’s team here at murtot in entonet lenkism ward sack a security guard from the dispensary simply because he is not supporting ole lenku. Desperation😂😂
They sack him because he is trending from oldomongi clan and replaced him with lenku brother 😂😂😂. tafathali wacheni aibu ndogo ndogo. Kwanza kumbuka kuwa uko chairman wa hiyo dispensary ambayo imejegwa na katoo juu ya katoo na oldomongi people.
Yaani watu wa ilmolelian wamenuka karibu na watu wa lenku especially those who work under lenku’s regime.”
It is also claimed that Lenku is always visiting his clansmen and prominent families giving them empty promises to garner votes for the 2022 August elections. He has gone to the extent of ‘hiring’ people with no pay even for periods exceeding six months giving them empty promises of securing them a well-paying permanent job.
It is told that he is rarely in his office because he fears dealing with complex matters pertaining the county. His work they say involves going around in friends’ homes “opening” houses. A story is also told of two neighbors quarreling over grazing land (olopololi) and he was set to amicably decide on the quarrel but residents confess that he picked sides because the one he favored was from his clan.
ii) Oloibor Soit Dispensary
The Oloibor Soit Dispensary in Njukini Sub-location was a project started by the former governor David Nkedianye. Residents claim that after the new regime of Governor Lenku, the dispensary is in an ICU state. They claim that the construction tender was awarded to friends of the governor, has been operating with no drugs, and has become a resting place for donkeys, sheep, and goats.
Photos of the place show the dispensary with a shoddy fence that was poorly constructed by the said ‘friend’ to Lenku. It is also noted that the nurse assigned to the dispensary left due to poor working conditions.
Meanwhile, the governor was launching the Universal Health Coverage and Mbuzi moja afya bora initiative in the county. One is set to wonder where mwananchi will get the needed medical attention after they have sold their goat for a cover.
iii) Paai Brigde
On Thursday, February 17 Joseph Ole Lenku commissioned the Paai Bridge which costed the county KES 100 Million Shillings. After stating that the bridge will serve as the food basket of Kajiado East, Central, and South with the biggest beneficiaries being farmers and pastoralists in Eselenkei, Emashini, IItuleta, Olanti, Mashuuru, and Lenkisim villages, the bridge was brought down by the heavy rains that flooded rivers in the area.
Elders cited that the fall of the bridge represented bad luck in his political career and life as a whole. Theories emerged that it took the bridge exactly 7 days to be brought down and the number 7 is the number of completion which marks the end of the regime of the incumbent governor. It is sad that he went on to blame God for the collapsed bridge.
iv) The Land Issue
Ole Lenku has severally hit headlines in matters land. In an article on Robert Alai’s Kahawa Tungu blog, it is noted that Residents of Kerarapon area in Kajiado County said that he was planning to grab land set aside for veterinary research, with the backing of Environment CS Keriako Tobiko. The land, which is 1,400 acres, was given in trust to the veterinary by the Keekonyoike clan of the Maasai community in 1957.
Liltoika ole Lendoi, a resident of Motoriki has been crying for justice because it is alleged that his uncle who happens to be Lenku’s in-law sold his inherited land to Lenku back in 2014 when he was the CS for Interior and Government Co-ordination. It is sad that he was also arrested but released on a Sh20,000 police bond for allegedly destroying fencing materials on the farm he inherited from his late father.
The Olgulului Land Saga is also on the lips of many residents in Kajiado. A case currently being investigated by Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission notes that Ole Lenku wanted to enrich himself and his family (his wife Edna Chelangat, two of their children; Esther Simaloi and Nancy Silantoi) with 6,000 acres of Ololorashi-Ogulului Group Ranch (OOGR) land.
The land issue is not a new thing to Ole Lenku, he once gave an ultimatum to lawyer Abdullahi Ahmednasir to retract damaging claims on Twitter linking him to a land-grabbing saga in Narok and Kajiado Counties. Lenku was put to task by the lawyer over his leadership skills when he was serving as the CS after Nguruman Group Ranch sued the government for losses amounting to Sh50 billion. The ranch owners accused the governor of ordering the withdrawal of security personnel from the property leading to the invasion by some 200 members of the Loodokilani clan of the Maasai community.
v) Narcissism, Corruption & Threats
It is said that Lenku is the most narcissistic leader Kajiado county has ever had. This is because of the people who benefit from his leadership. It is claimed that the people in his circle are very close friends, relatives, and people from his clan.
It is said that people from his clan are the only ones that benefit from county bursaries, tenders, and employment opportunities. It is also rumored that most have been sacked for being against him. Residents say that he claims other political leaders’ projects as his one being the former Kajiado County Governor David Ole Nkedianye and Katoo Ole Metito projects in the South.
Elijah Keen Naini, Olgulului Group Ranch secretary feared for his life after he exposed to DCI about the plan to transfer 6000 acres of land to Ole Lenku and his family. He noted that anonymous people were calling to stop him from exposing the governor.
Several people have come out citing threats from the governor and his people whenever they had a say against him. It is rumored that he is building four palatial homes for his four children from ill-gotten wealth.
3. The State of the County
Kajiado County is now pathetic. Kajiado has become a pain for both residents and business people who eke a living in the county.
Farmers are also facing challenges in selling their produce. This crate apparently filled past the brim goes for a mere KES 3,500.
4. Does Lenku Stand A Chance in The Next Elections?
The only people who want governor Lenku back are those defending the positions Lenku put them in. The only people who want the governor back are those who are still benefiting from his regime. It is sad that even most county employees are tired. The reactions on social media and even rallies tell it all. An example is this video when he was with Raila in a rally. He was seriously booed by people in the town. He tried to calm them down to no avail.
Does Lenku really stand a chance in the next elections? After Nkedianye has decided to face him off on the Jubilee Party nominations? With Katoo Ole Metito well-tucked successful projects in the South? Well let’s take a look at the image below.
Just from the medical and public health category, how many projects have been done in your area? You can view or download the full document from the button below.
The power of Kajiado County is in the hands of its residents. True change in the county comes from you who is reading this article. They also say information is power and we have worked hard to provide you with it. Tell us in the comments section below, “Will you vote for the current governor Joseph Ole Lenku?”
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