How Katoo Got into Power
I remember the year vividly the year 2003 like the palm of my hand. Geoffrey Mepukori Ole Parpai, the then incumbent Kajiado South Constituency MP, was sickly and was admitted to Nairobi Hospital. Katoo Ole Metito was only 30 years then and a student at the University of Nairobi (UoN) pursuing his BSc. in Micro-processor Technology and Instrumentation.
On 5th August 2003, Geoffrey Mepukori Ole Parpai passed on after only 7 months in office. The Kenya Year Book describes him as a proven politician but an untested minister. It was devastating news for the whole of Kajiado and the Maasai community as a whole.
Parpai was so much loved and was seen as the liberator for the Maasai people. His political skills plunged his extremely opinionated opponents into the murk. His constituents knew that freedom was indeed coming but he, unfortunately, passed on shortly after being sworn in.
Katoo was a close aide to the late Geoffrey Parpai, an apprentice they say. He was born on 12th March 1973. The Parpai stronghold noted that he was the true son of the soil and they seriously campaigned for him so that he would trample his 11 other opponents.
Katoo took the lead with over 20,000 votes in the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) party primaries. He was the head over the likes of the incumbent Kajiado Governor Joseph Ole Lenku who had slightly over 1000 votes, Namiyo Kahiu who came second after Katoo with 1800 votes, Solonka Ole Tiges with also a thousand votes, Phillip Lambat Sing’aru with 136 votes, the late Anthony Tumaina Mepukori, Engineer Joseph Nkadayo, the late Daniel Munkesia Ole Somoire, the Maasai Pioneers author Sironka Ole Masharen among many others.
On 19th November 2003, Katoo was elected as the member of the National Assembly for Kajiado South Constituency.
Katoo was seen as the saviour of Kajiado South and the residents waited in awe to see what their elected leader would do. This is my personal experience of Katoo as a leader, an MP of Kajiado South.
I am a firm believer that personal testimonies of people have great weight compared to mere words of political fanatics and sycophants.
The First Time I Met Katoo
I first met Katoo at the Kajiado South Constituency offices in Loitokitok. I remember the date and the time. Because I love documenting things, I even took a photo of the lounge. The date was 7th May 2015.
I arrived at his office at exactly 12:00 mid-day and I asked to see Mheshimiwa. I was ushered to wait in the lounge since he had another meeting in his office. I was a young jobless man who had just started the now defunct blog www.loitokitok.com.
I had the idea of automating all the constituency’s processes including creating a portal for students to apply for bursaries, checking if it was approved or not and notifying the residents about projects the office of the MP has undertaken, something more of what we have now – The Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU)
The current meeting in the office took quite some time and in a short while, a group of four people left the office. It was more of a Church Harambee thing. The person who I presumed to be the pastor came out so happy while the three other people accompanying him came out saying that they were so glad Mheshimiwa was willing to come for their Harambee.
I was next in line and I went in with my laptop and a well-done technical presentation to present to Mheshimiwa what I had in mind. I knew nothing about budgets, or how his office works. All I had was my presentation.
I was a young man with a vision greater than mine. I took my time giving my very technical presentation to him and I realized that maybe I did not make him fully understand. And then he asked me a question I firmly remember, a question that really changed my entire life.
He asked, “What do you want?”
I had never looked at life in the eyes of what I want but what is good for my sphere of influence. I have never been a ‘me & my’ kind of person but a ‘we and us’ kind of person. I then later came to know that I needed a balance between the two rather than kill one and focus on the other.
At that moment, as naive as I was, I thought that Mheshimiwa reduced all my well-put thoughts into a mere gadget that I wanted. I had told him that I needed what the project required, a laptop and a camera. And that was it, he thanked me and I left his office.
Katoo Bought Me A Camera
I lost my job in 2016 and I had nowhere to turn to. I remember sitting in my living room with two of my friends deliberating on what do to next. I was devastated, I was thinking of relocating back to the ghetto, I actually had got no food and I was wondering what course my life would take.
It was then that a friend of mine asked me, “What skills do you have?” I mentioned but a few, among them, was photography.
He went on to ask me, “Now that you are a photographer, where can you get a camera?
I remembered my MP, Katoo had asked me in the previous year what I wanted and I noted that I wanted a camera and a laptop. I quickly looked for his number and I texted him. I told him, “Hallo Mheshimiwa, this is Siloma, you once promised me that you will buy me a camera.”
I was certain that he wouldn’t reply. We are so used to having politicians who block themselves off their constituents once they got in power. To my amazement, he replied and asked, “How much is the camera?” I told him that it was KES 50,000. He told me that he would send me 40,000 and I should add the rest.
This taught me a very good lesson. Swahilis say that “Mkono mtupu haulambwi.” I learned that even in helping others, you should consider what are they bringing to the table. How far have they gone in trying to solve their current issue?
My notion was that he would just ignore me as many politicians do with their empty promises but to my amazement, in not more than 5 minutes I got an MPESA message that I have received KES 40,000 from him. I thanked him a lot and rushed to town.
I went straight to KTDA Building in Tom Mboya street to a shop called Jacaranta Digitech, a place where they used to sell second-hand cameras, and got Nikon D3300 an entry-level beginner camera at KES 30,000. I remember bargaining for the camera to my last breath.
I also wanted the 50mm price lens but I couldn’t afford a new one or even a second-hand one. I went to a camera repair guy I was referred to and I got an extremely old manual 50mm lens at 10k. Though broke, I went back to my house feeling happy like a village boy during Christmas.
I was never worried about my troubling bills. I knew I just had to survive a few days before my photography career starts paying off.
Siloma The Photographer
I did my first gig three days later courtesy of my friend, Billy Miaron. Ironically, I helped Billy in his photography career, I had taught him a few things and organized gigs for him. Indeed, what goes around comes around.
The gig was a show was by a company called the JW Show, a fashion brand. They were paying KES 2,000. It was happening in Thika so they were to pick and drop me to and from Roysambu so there were no travel expenses.
Well, to date I was never paid but that job landed me so many other jobs. It is crazily ridiculous that they entered into an agreement with Ajiry by Tribus-TSG, a subsidiary company of Centum Investment PLC, to empower youth in Kenya. Anyway…
These were a few of the shots.
I went on to land so many jobs because of just this unpaid gig. I shot in political events, political figures, social events like weddings and baby showers, and even consulted with NGOs simply because my MP, Katoo bought me a camera.
I went on to make a livelihood and build a good photography portfolio. I went on to shoot for social good. The whole county of Kajiado had little or no news and nobody was really documenting the stories, I went on to run the website www.kajiado.co.ke which we later ran with a friend, an experienced and reputable journalist, Kurgat Marindany.
Returning Katoo The Favor
Since Katoo helped me get a means of livelihood, I went back to return the favor by documenting his events. I did not just have fun documenting those events but I saw the impact those projects had to the native Kajiado South Citizen.
Many political fanatics advocate for their leaders based on the little handouts they get from them. Some praise the structures they constructed in the course of their tenure and most think that that is all a politician has to offer. I think a politician should have a ‘we’ mentality and not an ‘I’ mentality.
If a project is to benefit just but a few, it shouldn’t see the light of day. But if it is to benefit a diverse group of people then it should be effected with great haste. For example, digging a well that serves the community is better than constructing a road leading to a politician’s home.
Kajiado South NG-CDF Cup
When I was young, long before most people had Tv Sets in their houses, we would go to the local primary school field to watch young men as they played soccer. Men, women, and children would storm the field as traders sold snacks.
This brought the community together and top players would act as icons in the society. They were cheered on and being conscious of the pride they carry, they would ensure that they show utmost respect and behavior. They would even go to schools to mentor young people.
But then again sports died and it was no longer celebrated. Today, all the young stars we knew turned into drugs and alcohol and the glory they had in their younger days all faded. The village is now filled with petty thieves and since people stopped hanging out during sports days, there now no togetherness in the community.
I attended the Kajiado South NG-CDF Cup on 21st August 2016 and it was the best thing that I have ever seen done for the youth in my county. I saw how the youth engaged in sports and not in any queer lifestyle as many do.
Esukuta Boma Community Borehole
Many people who live in cities know that water is an essential, a must-have treasure for every person. But that is not the reality in most Maasai villages. Esukuta Boma is one such village where water was scarce.
Most pastoralist communities depend on harvested rain from shallow dams, seasonal rivers, streams that are very far from their homes or towns that have clean water.
I almost (or maybe) shed a tear when I saw very young souls shoving and pushing for water. I knew water was something very essential and that every primary school in Kajiado South had clean drinking water. I never thought for once that kids would shove for water like a mouth-watering KFC chicken.
Water is Life Kenya and the Kajiado South NG-CDF came together to bless the people of Esukuta Boma with fresh and clean drinking water.
The project was commissioned on 31st July 2016 by Kajiado South MP, Hon. Katoo Ole Metito at Esukuta Primary School. In attendance were local leaders, religious leaders and the community as a whole.
Rombo Girls Secondary School Dining Hall
How many girl schools are there in Kajiado South? Well, there are not quite a number as compared to the numerous boys’ schools. Sister Anastasia Nkoyai, the unmatched feminine icon known for transforming Rombo Girls Primary School into a glorious girls’ primary school was at it again; adding another girls’ secondary school to the list of male-dominated secondary schools in Kajiado South.
Of course, in her quest, she needed help, and the Kajiado South Constituency came in very handy. On 30th July, together with Hon. Katoo, they commissioned the Rombo Girls Secondary School Dining Hall.
Olmaroroi Primary School Classrooms
The Kajiado South NG-CDF during Katoo’s tenure has rehabilitated most of not all primary schools in the constituency. All this is on record at the constituency offices in Loitokitok. Most have seen newly constructed, fenced, or repainted schools thanks to the Kajiado South NG-CDF.
I got a chance to visit Olmaroroi Primary school on 29th July 2016 and got to witness the commissioning of 7 classrooms built with the NG-CDF fund.
It is tested and proven that the Kajiado South NG-CDF has not only partnered with stakeholders who have a positive and firm agenda for the community but has also delivered on its mandate.
It is sad that the national media doesn’t cover such accomplishments made by serious Members of Parliament like Hon. Katoo Ole Metito. In my honest opinion, Kajiado South Constituency is undoubtedly the most performing constituency in terms of the utilization of the NG-CDF fund.
Most students have received bursaries for their tertiary education year after year without fail. Children can now go to school since there are many primary schools at their doorsteps. Gone are the days when children would trek 6-10km to go to school.
Katoo is a leader. A fearless strategist with well-calculated moves not to benefit him but the whole community as a whole. Katoo is vying to be the next governor of Kajiado County and I believe that he is the man for the job.
Kajiado County has suffered violence not only in its coffers but in the management and allocation of resources to its residents. We have had employees work with no pay, we have had some fired without any reason whatsoever, we have witnessed crazy dramas with group ranches, and the misery untold in public hospitals like the Loitokitok Sub-County Hospital.
We need an impartial leader who will align all these. We need one with a proven track record of accomplished works and leadership skills that will harness the cosmopolitan nature of the county. And who is this leader if not Hon. Katoo Ole Metito?
Now that in visual representation I have journeyed through some of Katoo’s accomplishments, my question is, will you vote for Katoo? Tell me in the comment section below.