A long time spokesman for Kenya’s government has resigned to contest for Machakos county governor in next year’s general election.
Running on the ticket of the newly formed Wiper Party, Alfred Mutua said his experience in the administration makes him better suited to be the governor of the county which borders Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.
“I have decided that I want to go for a representative office to run for a governor for one of our regions in Kenya, and according to the law, I have to resign as a government spokesperson to do that,” Mutua said. “And after serving in this government for over eight years, I felt it is about time that I went back to the grassroots, so I could serve my people even better.”
Kenya’s law stipulates that government officials should resign at least six months before the general election.
Critics say the government’s unpopular policies and stance which Mutua often defended while in office could undermine his election prospects in next year’s poll. But Mutua disagreed.
“What the elites are talking about in Nairobi and what is being believed and received on the ground is totally different. On the ground, I have a lot of credibility,” he said.
Mutua expressed confidence that he will win the gubernatorial vote of Machakos County.
“After eight years serving in government, undergoing so many changes, participating in so many government projects, I feel like I have been a student of real development and real politics from President Mwai Kibaki. I feel like I’m now ready to break out on my own, and to pass my knowledge and my abilities to change the lives of my people,” said Mutua.
Machakos County, which borders Nairobi, is regarded as one of the largest counties in Kenya.
“It is the county for the future because we are going to build an Internet city, a global communication center in that county, which will be serving the whole of Africa,” said Mutua.
“So, it needs somebody who really understands systems and governance," he added. "You need somebody who is corruption-free, you need somebody who is visionary, young and energetic to be able to actually usher [in] this international standard city into the world.”
He said he joined the Wiper party because of its popularity in Machakos County. Mutua said his chances of winning the vote are quite high.
Mutua said that he will soon publish a book which he said will document and explain his over eight years in the government.
“I’m writing a book about my experiences and some of these criticisms are called ‘shooting the messenger’ [blaming the spokesman for a group or organization, rather than those who created a controversial policy]. [The book] will lay clear [and] really tell the truth about what has been happening in our country.”