George Natembeya: From D.O to Uhuru's Right Hand Man

  • Former Rift Valley Commissioner,George Natembeya and President Uhuru Kenyatta (right)
    Former Rift Valley Commissioner, George Natembeya and President Uhuru Kenyatta (right)
  • On Wednesday, January 12, Rift Valley Regional Commissioner, George Natembeya, announced his resignation to contest for the Trans Nzoia gubernatorial seat.

    Natembeya has been termed as a straight-talking, no nonsense administrator, who has gained favour in the eyes of his boss, President Uhuru Kenyatta.

    However, little is known about how the soft-spoken District Officer (now Regional Commissioner) rose through the ranks to become the President's right-hand man.

    With a background in administration from the Kenya School of Government, he begun his career as an administrator at the office of the President, Harambee House, in 1996.

    An undated photo of former Rif Valley Regional Commissioner, George Natembeya.
    An undated photo of former Rift Valley Regional Commissioner, George Natembeya.

    Natembeya was then posted in Kilgoris, Narok County, where he would serve as a District Officer.

    His exemplary service caught the attention of the then Minister for Internal Security, the late John Michuki, who hired him as his personal assistant (PA).

    Speaking to the media, Natembeya noted that he worked with Michuki between 2005 to 2009, adding that he learnt a lot from him. 

    "He was like a father to me, having being twice my age. I learnt a lot from him, including how to be firm and how to effectively execute his mandate," he stated.

    He also noted that Michuki trusted him, despite 'noise' from others, about having an assistant who was not from his tribal backyard.

    "Michuki entrusted me with roles including writing memos that came from his office. At times, he would approve the documents without cross-checking," he recounted.

    Consequently, he was promoted to County Commissioner for Muranga, Nairobi, Isiolo, then Nandi.

    He made great strides in restoring and maintaining security in those counties with some of his notable achievements including eradicating the Mungiki in Muranga.

    "We worked hard with the area residents to flush out the Mungiki who were terrorising residents," he remarked.

    In Nairobi, he worked with the residents of Eastleigh to flush out members of the Al Shabaab and its sympathizers, following sporadic attacks in the area.

    His stint in Isiolo led to the reduction of incidences of cattle rustling. While in Narok, he quelled the inter-community tension between the Maasai and Kipsigis.

    Natembeya oversaw the voluntary mass surrendering of guns by the two communities, and later the evacuation of Kenyans living in the Mau forest.

    The high-performing County boss was promoted to Rift Valley Regional Commissioner by the Head of State, becoming the youngest to hold that position.

    Interior Cabinet Secretary, Fred Matiang'i, lauded his appointment.

    "What we have seen Natembeya doing in this county is the plan of the National Government and he speaks the voice of the President. 

    "I dare to say this in public that there is no one in this country who can sack him despite the threats because we are behind him,” Matiang’i stated.

    After serving in public administration for 25 years, 51-year-old Natembeya will make a stab at the Trans Nzoia County boss in the August 9 polls.

    Former Rift Valley Commissioner,George Natembeya and Interior CS Fred Matiang'i
    Former Rift Valley Commissioner,George Natembeya and Interior CS Fred Matiang'i
    Citizen TV