Four Jubilee factions spring up in Mt Kenya capture region

Friday, July 10th, 2020 00:00 |
Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi (centre) adresses the press after a group of Mt Kenya political leaders held a meeting in Nairobi on Wednesday. Photo/PD/SAMUEL KARIUKI

At least four camps have emerged within the Jubilee Party in the Mt Kenya region as local politicians seek to position themselves in readiness for the 2022 elections.

The emerging camps are all jostling for President Uhuru Kenyatta’s nod to succeed him as the region’s political kingpin after he exits the preidency in 2022.

While the region’s politicians allied to Deputy President William Ruto, derogatively reffered to as the “Tanga Tanga” team, have somehow been edged out of the party operations, the rival “Kieleweke” faction, allied to Uhuru, has since split into three camps.

The original Kieleweke team revolving around Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu and his Nominated counterpart Maina Kamanda is said to have fallen out with the group coalescing around Kieni MP Kanini Kega following the recent purge in both the National Assembly and the Senate, which saw Ruto’s allies kicked out of powerful positions in the two Houses.

 Kega was instrumental in the removal of former majority leader Aden Duale and is poised to take over the chairmanship of the powerful Budget Committee as a reward for his role in the purge targeting Ruto’s allies.

Disrespect accusations

The fallout has come to the fore after Wambugu, for instance, expressed his reservations in the way the positions previously held by Ruto’s allies are being dished out.

Wambugu hit out at the Jubilee Party vice-chairman David Murathe, accusing him of showing disrespect to Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) MPs led by Minority Leader John Mbadi, who have been agitating for some of the seats. 

The Nyeri Town MP is on record telling Murathe that he will be forced to swallow his words followig his attacks on the ODM leaders who are demanding positions.

Only for Murathe to hit back: “My friend please stick to Nyeri Township. We know what we are doing.

Your strategy of division, hatred and toxic ethnicity has been mastered. Please don’t poke your nose in matters bigger than your brain Madam Ngunjiri.”

In response, Wambugu said; “Watu wataambiwa ukweli. Hata wakikasirika.”

On Wednesday, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi led a group of seven top politicians from the Mt Kenya region to a meeting at Nairobi’s Panafric Hotel.

The four-hour meeting was attended by, among others, four governors from the said region, fuelling speculation about its motive.

They were Kiraitu Murungi (Meru), Ndiritu Muriithi (Laikipia), Lee Kinyanjui (Nakuru) and Muthomi Njuki (Tharaka Nithi).

Also in attendance were National Assembly Leader of Majority Amos Kimunya, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya, former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth and Kirinyaga Senator Charles Kibiru.

The meeting has elicited harsh criticism from a section of the Kieleweke MPs coalescing around Kega, who have since dismissed the Panafric group as “busybodies” planning to reap where they did not sow.

Kiambaa MP Paul Koinange told People Daily that the Panafric meeting’s sole agenda was succession politics.

“One thing I can assure you is that the President is not with the team. They are just but self-seekers,” Koinange said, adding that his group had resolved to support Uhuru finish his term.

Koinange said the Panafric team has not been supportive of the “Handshake” between the President and Opposition leader Raila Odinga.

“They are fence-sitters. They were nowhere when we fought the other side (Tanga Tanga). Why resurface now and claim to be charting the region’s way forward?” posed Koinange.

Senate Majority Whip Irungu Kang’ata who is also in the Kega faction, was also quick to dismiss the meeting saying, “If the meeting was about a lunch to congratulate Kimunya as alleged by the convenors on his elevation, that is good, very proper.

Indeed we celebrate his elevation. For long, this region has been neglected ostensibly because we have the presidency. That needed to change.”

Kang’ata, however, warned that he would lead like-minded politicans from the region to fight the Panafric team if their meeting was about Uhuru’s succession.

“We are solidly behind President Uhuru and we shall fight anyone imagining he can outshine him,” Kang’ata said.

Addressing journalists after the meeting, Kiraitu said they were “having a political lunch” to congratulate Kimunya who was recently installed as the Majority Leader.

Another MP allied to the Kang’ata-Kega faction, Sabina Chege (Murang’a), did not have kind words for the Panafric group, saying the convenors had nothing to offer to Kenyans.

“They said they were having lunch. That is okay, but we did not see any elected member from Central Kenya. The only person from Murang’a (Peter Kenneth) represents no one,” said Chege.

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