Mt Kenya leaders meet to chart region’s unity
A meeting of key leaders from Mt Kenya region led by National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi yesterday exposed behind-the-scenes intrigues that could lay ground for debate on the much-awaited Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) final report and President Uhuru Kenyatta’s 2022 succession politics.
The four-hour talks further exposed the widening rift between Uhuru’s allies and those of his deputy William Ruto in the region and the spirited efforts by the former to consolidate his backyard where the DP was seen to have made significant inroads.
Those at the Panafric Hotel meeting in Nairobi were Agriculture CS Peter Munya, National Assembly Majority Leader Amos Kimunya, former presidential candidate Peter Kenneth who is being touted as Uhuru’s possible heir apparent in Mt Kenya politics, governors Kiraitu Murungi (Meru), Lee Kinyajui (Nakuru), Ndiritu Muriithi (Laikipia), Muthomi Njuki (Tharaka Nithi) and Kirinyaga Senator Charles Kibiru.
According to an insider at yesterday afternoon meeting, the caucus met to congratulate Kimunya for his recent elevation to the position of National Assembly Majority Leader talk about the unity of the sparse region.
“It was a good meeting and the agenda was to congratulate Kimunya and talk about Mt Kenya region unity,” said a source who attended the meeting.
The leaders have are ardent supporters of the BBI project which is spearheaded by Uhuru and his Handshake partner, Opposition chief Raila Odinga.
Ruto and his allies have expressed strong reservations about the initiative, which they claim is meant to frustrate his presidential ambitions. None of the key politicians associated with Ruto attended the meeting.
While Kiraitu said the meeting was meant to congratulate Kimunya for his new role, the leaders, according to sources, deliberated on the current political landscape, unity of the Mt Kenya region as well as the Uhuru succession.
“We are very happy that he (Kimunya) is now leading our troops for Jubilee in the National Assembly especially now we are in an interesting time going forward, with BBI coming and 2022 also ahead and it is good to have elders like him leading the August House,” said Kiraitu who in February hosted the Mount Kenya BBI rally at Kinoru Stadium.
Kimunya replaced Garissa Town MP Aden Duale, an ally of the Deputy President.
Observers said that the fact that Munya who served as the first Meru governor before he was defeated by Kiraitu agreed to participate in a closed-door-meeting involving his rival and Kenneth, was indicative that talks were motivated by the 2022 succession politics.
Benefit from Kimunya
Yesterday, Kiraitu said that Mt Kenya region was set to benefit from Kimunya’s new leadership post.
“Of course our meeting is political. What makes something political is if the players are political.
Even if there is a football match being played by politicians it also becomes political, and so our lunch was political in the same manner because it was being eaten by political colleagues,” the governor told reporters after the meeting.
The other leaders declined to address the media but last week Kenneth told People Daily that what Mount Kenya asked leaders concerned about the future of Mt Kenya after Uhuru retires to forge a united front.
“Mt Kenya is a big bloc. It is very important that it remains united. One of our own should be on the negotiating table.
From the foregoing, Uhuru Kenyatta remains the region’s kingpin and its political leader.
He will remain so even after 2022 to offer advice and direction on matters affecting the region,” said Kenneth who unsuccessfully vied for the Nairobi governorship in 2017.
Already, there are politicians from the region are coalescing around Kenneth who is said to appeal nationalally and matured beyond Central Kenya politics.
During the Meru BBI rally at Kinoru Stadium as well as the continued clamour that he should be appointed to Cabinet has triggered speculations that powerful forces were positioning him for a national political role and sources have indicated that Uhuru’s men could be crafting succession arrangements in his favour.
During speeches in the BBI rally, while former Embu Senator Lenny Kivuti represented all former elected leaders, Raila, who was the chief guest, gave Kenneth a chance alongside other national politicians to speak while others such as former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo who has been angling himself as the former Gatanga MP’s competition in central Kenya politics.