Kivutha Kibwana Biography
Kivutha Kibwana was born in Mwanyani, Nzaui District in Makueni county on 13th June 1954. He is a Kenyan politician and the governor for Makueni county. He is also a former advisor to President Mwai Kibaki.
He is a member of Muungano Development Movement Party and a coalition member of Coalition for Reforms and Democracy.
Kivutha Kibwana Education Background
Ended 2012: Graduate Student of Africa International University, (MA – Theological Studies)
August 1985-May 1988: Graduate Student of George Washington University, USA (SJD)
- Subjects: International Law; International Human Rights Law; Comparative Law; Jurisprudence and Legal Theory
August 1983-June 1984: Graduate Student of Harvard University, USA (LLM), Masters of Law
- Subjects: Anthropological Approaches to Law; International Business Transactions; Labour Law; U.S.A. Constitutional Law; Foreign Investment in Natural Resources
1976-1977: Graduate Student of University of London,(LLM), Masters of Law
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- Subjects: Comparative Constitutional Laws of the Commonwealth; Law of Natural Resources Africa South of the Sahara; Principles of Civil Litigation; Jurisprudence and Legal Theory
1973 – 1976: Undergraduate Student of University of Nairobi (LLB.), Bachelor of Law Degree
1969-1973:Student at Machakos Boys High School, ‘O’ & ‘A’ levels
Kivutha Kibwana Political Positions
Current Political Positions
Started 10th March 2013:Governor for Makueni county.
Started 21st February 2013: Coalition Member of Coalition for Reforms & Democracy
Started 20th February 2013: Member of Muungano Development Movement Party (MDM)
Started 2012: party leader of Muungano Party
Previous Political Positions
January 2008 → September 2012: Presidential Advisor of the President on Constitutional, Parliamentary & Youth Affairs
2006 – 2008: Cabinet of Minister of Land and Settlements
2005 – 2007: Cabinet of Minister of Environment & Natural Resources
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2003-2007: Member of Parliament for Makueni
2002 – 2007: Member for Makueni of National Rainbow Coalition
1997 – 2002: Spokesperson of National Convention Executive Council (NCEC)
Kivutha Kibwana Job History
1977 – 2002:Associate Professor of University of Nairobi
August 1993 – August 1995: Dean, Faculty of Law, of University of Nairobi
February 1991-September 1992: Dean, Faculty of Law, of University of Nairobi
December 1989-June 1992: Senior Lecturer of University of Nairobi
May 1989-June 1989: Chairman of Department of private law
September 1977-February 1989: Lecturer of University of Nairobi
Kivutha Kibwana Interview
I love sitting with wazee in village barazas- Kivutha Kibwana
Interviewer: In 2013, on your first day in office as Governor, what was going on in your mind?
Kivutha Kibwana: I was thinking, Lord, this is how the first crop of national leaders must have felt in 1963! Was I going to disappoint the people of Makueni who expected a lot from devolution?
Knowing that many professionals were sceptical about leaving Nairobi, I was also apprehensive about the quality of staff I would get to run our government.
Interviewer: What were your immediate and long term priorities for the county?
Kivutha Kibwana: My immediate priorities were translating our party election manifesto into a county vision, establishing a county government and recruiting senior staff, together with mechanisms for performance contracting and a County Rapid Results Initiative Team to speed up development projects.
In the long term, our priorities were water and food security; roads and infrastructure; youth empowerment; livelihood and wealth creation for each of our 165,000 households; and universal healthcare.
Interviewer: Your county is listed among the poorest in Kenya. Why so?
Kivutha Kibwana: Makueni District which was hived from Machakos district in 1992 was the least developed among the then three districts of Ukambani.
Until the onset of devolution, we didn’t even have one single modern industry. It has been a battle to redress such widespread marginalisation.
Broadly, what are you doing to lift your people from the shackles of poverty?
Kivutha Kibwana: The county has aggressively invested in dairy and fruit production by supporting the farmers through provision of inputs, strengthening extension services and construction of Makueni Fruit Processing Plant and Kikima Dairy to address the challenge of finding market for produce.
Second, we have made water harvesting for household and agricultural production a priority to ensure every family has adequate and safe water.
Interviewer: Was it hard leaving Nairobi to settle in a rural town? What does a city guy do in Makueni?
Kivutha Kibwana: I am not a city guy! I grew up in the village. I don’t even stay in Wote town but in Mwanyani, my rural village. Although I often go to Nairobi for work related reasons and also to visit relatives, I don’t miss the bright lights of the city.
Interviewer: You underwent surgery at the Makueni County Hospital. Weren’t you risking your life?
Kivutha Kibwana: When I am in Makueni, I go to hospital in the county in the first instance. I underwent surgery in Makindu Level 4 hospital because the surgeon was as good as any in Nairobi.
The surgery cost Sh6,000. In Nairobi, I would have paid about Sh300,000.
Interviewer: Your universal healthcare plan… is it sustainable?
Kivutha Kibwana: Our universal healthcare plan has been working for two years. We started with a pilot for households of those over 65 years old. Then we extended it to cover all our households. Senior citizens don’t pay even the registration fees.
Those below 65 years pay 500 shillings annually. For that sum, they receive all services in our level four 12 hospitals. We also encourage our residents to have NHIF so that they can be covered in hospitals outside Makueni.
Interviewer: Why do you have a climate change initiative?
Kivutha Kibwana: As far back as 2006 when I was the minister for Environment and Natural Resources, I learned about the deleterious effects of climate change in the world and especially Africa.
In Makueni, due to deforestation, soil degradation, pollution and other genres of environmental degradation, climate change has altered rain patterns causing endemic drought and famine.
Interviewer: You were at the forefront of a creating a new constitutional order. In retrospect, what should we have done better?
Kivutha Kibwana: After seven years of implementation of the constitution it is time for us to consider its review. I would now focus on, inter alia, ‘genderizing’ parliament; strengthening devolution by revisiting the Bomas Draft structure; ensuring mass titling of all land in the country and guaranteeing 10 per cent of afforestation for all land; expansion of the executive and reverting to a mixed parliamentary and presidential system; committing at least 15 per cent of the annual budget to counties, reforming the security apparatus and securing electoral justice.
Interviewer: You are a big man. What is it with servant leadership and sitting with wazee in village barazas?
Kivutha Kibwana: Public life is a life of service; it is missionary work. In Makueni we listen to one another so that we can build consensus on how we want to develop. I enjoy sitting, talking and walking with our people. When I leave public life, I will dearly miss this aspect of my public political life.
Interviewer: What would you consider your lowest and highest moments as governor?
Kivutha Kibwana: My lowest moments were when I realised the first county assembly was bent on frustrating development by refusing to pass the first budget. Also, when about eight of my senior officials were taken to court by the then speaker of the Assembly through trumped up charges.
Of course and when I was almost assassinated at the precincts of the county assembly. My highest moments have been when we launch life changing initiatives such as the fruit processing factory; the diary plant and universal healthcare.
Interviewer: You’ve faced death on several occasions. How did it feel?
Kivutha Kibwana: During the Kanu era, I was abducted at my doorstep. I thought that was my end. Recently, before the 2017 elections I was shot at the Makueni County Assembly. One is traumatised.
Interviewer: What is your advice for first time governors?
Kivutha Kibwana: It is a hard job. The moment you are elected, your opponents often embark on strategizing how to get your job. Always mobilise the county residents so that they are on your side and involve them in decision-making.
Work with the county assembly, the members of the parliament and representatives of the national government as well as international development partners. Integrity is key
— use county resources in a prudent manner and try to develop a mechanism for resolving conflicts before they escalate.
What is the biggest lesson you learnt from your lecturer, Dr Willy Mutunga?
Always try to be on the side of the majority poor so that you can be a catalyst in helping change lives. Don’t exploit people. Be respectful of diversity.
Be a mentor to repay mentorship debts. Be an honest teacher. When you meet egos, try to by-pass as opposed to confronting them. Mistrust power even when you are part of it.
Interviewer: What tames civil society activists when they get government jobs?
Kivutha Kibwana: Collective responsibility in government ensures you don’t expose mistakes made by the power elite. Some activists are critics because they are missing an opportunity to exploit public power, to become eating chiefs.
Kivutha Kibwana Contact
Facebook: Governor press Service- Makueni County.