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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Meet the man who sent Nyachae on compulsory unpaid leave

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Politics in Nyaribari Chache constituency and the entire Kisii community took a fresh turn after the last General Election. The electorate in this area settled on Dr Robert Onsare Monda instead of Simeon Nyachae, the veteran Abagusii power man.

Before then, and for nearly three decades, elective politics in the larger Kisii were synonymous with Nyachae. The business mogul cum politician was politically invincible until Monda appeared on the scene to send him packing. Like Dr Paul Otuoma who vanquished Moody Awori, the former VP and Funyula MP, Monda is a vet. The soft-spoken former District Veterinary Officer says he owes his success to two factors. "The people of Nyaribari Chache wanted a two-fold-change, a young and yet accessible leader. I was ready and available for it. During my campaigns, I managed to convince voters that I perfectly fitted the bill," he says.

But who is Dr Monda?

Born on July 11, 1959, the vet attended Nyankororo Primary School between 1969 and 1975 before proceeding to Nduru High School for his O-levels between 1976 and 1979. He went to Murang’a High School for A-levels in 1980 to 1981. The giant killer-to-be graduated with a Bachelor of Science in veterinary medicine and surgery from the University of Nairobi in 1987. He has also a postgraduate diploma in Community Based Development from Premese Africa Development Institute, Nairobi. Until mid last year when he resigned to plunge into elective politics, Monda was a civil servant. From 1987, he served in various parts of the country including 10 years in Kisii.

Killing giants
A devout Seventh Day Adventist, Monda also serves as a church Elder. SDA is the dominant Christian denomination among the Kisii. It is therefore politically beneficial for one to be identified with this religious group. Blessed with four children, the lawmaker is married to Joyce Onsare. The MP joined active politics in 2005 in the clamour for a new constitution that never was. Although he was still a civil servant, he took sides and spearheaded the vote against the draft in the constituency. The move nearly cost him his job.

As a punishment, he was transferred from Ogembo District to North Eastern Province, clearly to clip his wings in grassroots politics. He managed to find his way back nearer home and landed in Nakuru District where he worked until he resigned late last year. Monda’s sights are focused on improving educational standards in his area. Other key areas he wants to include in his development agenda are roads, healthcare services, water and agriculture. "I want to lay the foundation for transformation of the constituency into an economic hub in Nyanza Province," he says.

Perhaps to ensure that he stays longer in Parliament, Monda’s projection of a perfectly developed Nyaribari Chache spans a whole three decades. He says: "I have a 30-year strategic plan for the constituency," he says. And as if to accentuate Monda’s political potency, ODM leader and Prime Minister-designate Raila Odinga at one time introduced him at a press conference as "a giant killer." But the lawmaker is self-effacing himself attributing his success to God’s will. The legislator says his late mother, Abigail Nyanduko, is his role model.

Soothing songs
"My late mother strived to see us through school. Sometimes we would go to school in shifts because she could not afford fees for all of us at a go. My elder brothers were allowed to access education as we did odd jobs in the farms to raise their school fees. She would always remind us to look up to God so as to live our dreams," he says. His mother, the vet says, believed nothing is impossible with God’s blessings. This is the attitude he has in life and God has never let him down.

The plight of the people of Nyaribari Chache inspired Monda into politics. He has always wanted political services in this area delivered differently and more effectively. "I want to offer this community accountable and democratic political leadership. I am thinking of unified community enjoying equitable social and economic development and efficient management of resources," he says.

Like everybody else, Monda has had his ups and downs in life.

When his mother was alive for instance, her jokes would leave Monda’s ribs in stitches. She was also a good singer and had a soothing voice that he loved to listen to. Monda’s mother also discussed every social matter freely with her children. This included issues like marriage.

Inspiring scriptures
His worst experience is when he could not go to school for lack of fees and was instead forced to work on the farms to see his elder brothers through school. Monda’s favourite read is the Holy Bible and other Christian literature. He draws a lot of wisdom from Ellen Gould White, the maverick author of books that support the SDA evangelism.

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