Oldest politicians:GG Kariuki makes comeback at 74
Laikipia, Kenya: He is a man who has seen it all. For those who thought they were hearing the last of veteran politician GG Kariuki, they were wrong.
The man who has been in three successive governments is back with a bang, having clinched the Laikipia senatorial seat. GG has remained vibrant in the political scene where he has been on and off in his endeavour to lead people.
When he lost the Laikipia West parliamentary seat to newcomer Ndiritu Muriithi in the 2007 General Election, many thought his political star had dimmed. But in Monday’s election he was overwhelmingly voted, polling 96,616 against his closest rival John Kinyua, who garnered 23,481 votes.
His win makes him one of the oldest politicians in the Senate, at 74. GG served in the Kenyatta Government having entered Parliament at the age of 29. In former President Moi’s era, he served as a powerful Cabinet minister in the Ministry of Internal Security.
Moi, who at that time was his closest friend, later appointed him in the Lands docket. After Moi’s tenure, the veteran politician who had lost his parliamentary seat in 1997 made a comeback and was re-elected to the National Assembly on a Narc ticket in 2002 and served in President Kibaki’s regime.
He later lost the seat to Ndiritu in 2007. And now the man is back again, this time round as a senator. This means that he becomes one of the few politicians who have served in four different governments in his lifetime.
In case Jubilee presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta is declared the winner, GG would have served with his father and now his son. GG has served in Parliament for 25 years where he made his name. He endeared himself to the people of Laikipia when he was the Minister for Lands and Internal Security. It was also during his era that saw the tarmacking of Nyahururu-Kinamba road and Nyahururu-Rumuruti road.
“This was a milestone in his politics as many people benefited from land. He used his powers to have the people from the region get title deeds. e,” says a resident, James Kimunya. Most of them were issued to members of Laikipia land buying company and Mutukanio farmers co-operative society. “This was another milestone for him as the people could now settle permanently on their land. He used his position as an mp to have the title deeds processed,” he says.
His experience as a veteran MP and politician has endeared him to the people . “Most people believe that the seat should be held by someone experienced in politics as the senate requires a master in debating and fighting for their representatives rights. In this race, he was the only veteran politician as the others were newcomers,” says Nyahururu lawyer Ndegwa Wahome.
But what is the secret behind his political comeback? “I have got what it takes to serve as a senator due to my experience in politics. The position requires an experienced and mature leader who knows the problems facing Laikipia County,” he says.
He notes that the people of Laikipia had already decided that they wanted a leader who had a development track record. “It is during my era that Laikipia region developed at a high rate. When people voted me out, they realised that I was an asset to them since no development took place and I believe it is the highest time I once again served them,” he says.
He dismisses his critics who talk ill of him due to his age. “Age does not matter in politics as long as you have the energy and skills. I will prove them wrong,” he concludes.