Kitui CEC Nominee Energy, Environment, Forestry and Natural Resources- Who is Richard John Mwendandu?

Richard John Mwendandu was nominated by Governor Malombe to serve as Kitui CEC Energy, Environment, Forestry, and Natural resources.

He comes from Ikanga/Kyatune ward in Kitui South Constituency. Richard started his schooling at Ikanga Primary and proceeded to Kapsabet Boys for his A levels.

Richard later acquired a Bachelor of Science (Forestry) from the University of Nairobi, and Post Graduate Diploma in Natural Resources Economics.

In 1987 he won a small grand prize in Africa which gave him a scholarship to go to Canada where in 1989 he completed a Master of Science in Land Use Planning at the University of Toronto, Canada.

Richard worked in the ministry of Agriculture as a young officer in National Agroforestry for two and half years and later was hired by a Canadian firm to do dryland soil management in Machakos. He also worked at Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) as a dryland research officer and was also hired by a Japanese Social Forestry where he contributed to setting up a research center in Kitui and also in Tiva/Kwa Vonza in Kitui Rural.

He is also the pioneer of trees planted from Syongila to Kwa Vonza. In 1997 and 2002 he went for the Kitui South Parliamentary seat under KANU where he lost and left active politics to continue with his career. In the last ten years before he retired in 2017, he was the Director of Multilateral Environmental Agreements where he headed Kenya’s technical negotiations globally for various instruments and acted as a link between the National Government and the rest of the world.

Since his retirement, the father of three and one wife has been doing independent consultancy for various firms including the African Union, World Bank, and European Union.

“I’m bringing on board very wide experience on issues of environment, conservation, and looking at energy, I was the chief architect of Biogas Energy in the early years. On the side of mineral resources, when I was in the Ministry of Environment at one point I worked closely with the department of mining and I have some good knowledge of what we have in this county,” Mwendandu told the vetting committee of the Kitui County Assembly led by Speaker Kinengo Katisya.

Mwendandu pointed out that in Energy docket is the key pillar and said that he would want to work on increasing the inclusivity of energy to many locations and villages across the county because it will spur development by also promoting solar energy.

“We are endowed with livestock most of us and we have looked at cow dung going to waste yet our populations using charcoal and firewood which is causing deforestation. It’s an area which we will need to introduce systematically and see how it can benefit our people,” he stated.

On Environment, he pointed out that he will look at deforestation, soil and water erosion, issues of sand, and issues of charcoal. Richard vowed to promote the planting of trees and grass and make them benefit from the trees and also introduce policies to govern sand harvesting.

“I want to review the 2013 charcoal cutting policy so that we see what are the gaps that are there in the charcoal business and make it benefit our people, the county, and the environment,” he added.

On mineral resources, Richard noted that Kitui County has high-value minerals including coal, limestone, and iron which are movers of the economy but if not well handled they might cause adverse effects on the people of Kitui.

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