By Obegi Malack
Every region in Kenya has kingmakers who decide on who should take over leadership positions in the said areas.
John Senewa Kaurai, 78, is one of the kingmakers in Kajiado County as most politicians seek his blessings before venturing into politics.
The tough talking politician was born in 1943 in Kerarapon in Oloolua ward.
He joined Kerarapon Primary school in 1949 before moving to Kiserian primary in Kiserian town where he schooled up to class 8.
The tough talking politician was taken through leadership roles by his father, paramount chief Albert Kaurai of Ngong division, who died in 1982 aged 120 years.
Senior Kaurai was an indigenous Maasai. He occupied Kiserian town and together with his wives, they started farming in the centre.
Senewa was privileged to be among the few sons who worked closely with their father.
He received support to venture into farming in the town and became his family tractor driver.
“We moved to Kiserian in 1958 and were the first farmers in the town. We also started businesses in town and some of the shops are still intact to date,” he said.
He revealed that his father gave his 16 sons inheritance and left out his 14 daughters as the Maasai culture doesn’t consider daughters for inheritance.
After his marriage, Senewa got employed in Nairobi County Council as a lorry driver and he earned Shs 250 monthly.
“I was spotted by President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta when I was ferrying sand for construction of a road in his home in Gatundu. He recognized me for my hard work and made me a tractor driver since I had the experience,’ he said.
From there, he was promoted to be a driver of a senior government official Murang’a County Council chairman Njuguna wa Mwangi. He also served as an ambulance driver for Murang’a district hospital in 1963.
In 1973, he resigned and ventured into the Matatu business. He had bought a Peugeot 504 which plied the Murang’a Nairobi route. He later opened a typesetting and driving college in Murang’a town.
Due to his interaction with who is who in the government, he vied for the position of a councilor in Murang’a County in 1974. Unfortunately, he lost the election.
After losing the election, he moved back to his home in 1975 and threw his weight behind veteran politicians like former MP Ole Oloitipitip and Kajiado West division (Kiserian, Matasia, Rongai) councilor Kimani Kinuthia of Olkejuado county council.
In 1977, he vied against Kinuthia who was his political mentor and beat him. He ruled for one term.
“When I took over, I ensured that every church had allotment letters. I started with Rongai PCEA, Catholic and Orthodox Church among others. I was also involved in subdivision of plots in Kware but did not get even one plot,” Senewa said.
His other achievements include setting aside 10 acres of land for Rongai police station, allocation of 3 acres land for putting up of Keekonyokie slaughter house in Kiserian and being among the founders of Nakeel High School in Nkaimurunya ward.
‘I achieved a lot during my tenure. No one can achieve what I did because politics has become dirty and full of propaganda,’ he said.
In 2017, President Uhuru Kenyatta through the then Nairobi governor Evans Kidero, appointed Senewa as a member in the Nairobi County Liquor Board.
His leadership skills led to the formation of Kajiado County Former Councilors Association where he is a patron. The association was awarded land in Kajiado by governor Lenku and another land in Ngong.
The veteran politician is now involved in conflict resolutions to ensure the region enjoys peace.