I'm not fluent in Kamba - Nzioka Waita admits, says it shouldn't matter

Should it count that an election candidate is fluent in their mother tongue?

Former State House Chief of Staff and Machakos gubernatorial hopeful Nzioka Waita

Gubernatorial aspirant Nzioka Waita has admitted to the fact that he is not fluent in his mother tongue, Kamba, which is the vernacular widely spoken by residents of Machakos County.

Waita, who is hoping to succeed Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua in the upcoming General Election, has also addressed those criticising him for not being able to speak fluent Kamba.

The former State House Chief of Staff argued that the official languages accepted in the running of affairs in the county as well as in administration are English and Swahili.

The gubernatorial hopeful added that though he is not a fluent speaker of the dialect, and to his defense, he does understand the Kamba language.

I listen and I can understand Kikamba perfectly. I speak it like many of the young men who grew up in Nairobi. It’s patchy but I want to ask, is the budget for Machakos County read in Kikamba?” Waita retorted.

Should it count that an election candidate is fluent in their mother tongue?

He further ruled out the option of stepping down from the Machakos gubernatorial race over the alleged language barrier, saying that should he need to speak to the elderly he would seek assistance.

My desire to serve my people should not be compromised. Kambas are everywhere and they do not stop being Kambas. I think this argument should stop now,” he stated.

When he first joined politics, Baringo Senator Gideon Moi similarly faced strong criticism over his limited knowledge and use of his mother tongue Kalenjin, as well as Swahili.

Over the years he has been heard making an effort to increase his usage with some reports indicating that the Senator has taken formal language classes to improve.

Waita recently stated he was under pressure from influential politicians in Ukambani to back out of the race for Machakos gubernatorial seat but vowed not to back down stating he would embark on campaigns to sell his manifesto to the people of Machakos.

“I have been under pressure from senior politicians in the Ukambani region who want me to back out of the race and give way for my competitors to battle it out. I want to state categorically that I’ll not drop out of the race,” he said.

Waita promised to deliver on health, water, education, markets, an enabling environment for job creation and investment attraction, and ward-level development.

If he succeeds, Machakos will have its second former State House operative at the helm, incumbent Governor Mutua resigned as Government Spokesman to join politics in 2013.

Waita has also stated he will rally behind the Azimio la Umoja campaign, which he says is the right vehicle for the country, and further asked for support from the people of Ukambani.

“I will be in support of Hon. Raila Odinga. We will support him until gets to State House. Azimio la Umoja is the right vehicle for this country right now and it's good for my people in Ukambani to join me on this journey and unite with other Kenyans in protecting our country,” Waited stated.

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