Mt Kenya leaders vow to solidify mountain
The search for unity among political leaders from Mt Kenya region continued to heighten yesterday with allies of President Uhuru Kenyatta meeting in Nairobi to plot his succession.
Key on the agenda of the leaders behind the meetings is to marshal the more than six million voters in the region and its diaspora to vote as a bloc in next year’s General-Election.
Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi, who is one of the forces behind the caucus, said leaders were racing against time to unite the region in the face of growing rebellion in the President Uhuru Kenyatta’s backyard.
“The political leadership from the Gema community is keen to forge a united front regardless of political affiliations ahead of the election,” he told People Daily, adding that the region’s voters and those in the diaspora must approach the election as a bloc or else lose out in the outcome.
“That is the reality. They must either unite or they will come out with empty hands,” he warned.
In the wake of the Court of Appeal verdict throwing out the Building Bridges Initiative appeal, politicians from six counties that make up Mt Kenya region have lately heightened their political activities ahead of the 2022 contest.
On Saturday, the leaders - said to have Uhuru’s blessings-met in Nanyuki, saying they were open to negotiations with presidential candidates who have the region’s social and economic interests at heart.
The group led by National Assembly Majority Leader Amos Kimunya (Kipipiri), governors Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga), Muriithi, James Nyoro (Kiambu) and MPs Jeremiah Kioni (Ndaragwa) and Sabina Chege (Murang’a).
Last week alone, leaders from the region held more than three meetings, one in Thika, another in Nairobi and a retreat in Laikipia to plot Uhuru’s succession.
With the President scheduled to hang up his boots at the end of his two terms in office next year, the vote-rich Mt Kenya region has witnessed a scramble by leading politicians, mainly Deputy President William Ruto, Opposition chief Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper) and Amani National Congress’s Musalia Mudavadi.
Yesterday, in a follow up of the Nanyuki meeting, the Central Kenya leaders met at a Nairobi hotel for close to five hours to discuss the region’s future.
“The purpose of this meeting was to consult with various party leaderships on the direction that we are proposing to take as a region and the country,” Muriithi told journalists even as he dismissed the notion the President’s political backyard is not up for grabs.
“We have just began a journey and will be meeting more often and eventually we will have a common ground even as we reach out to others,” added Waiguru.
“We have meeting as politicians, we have now gone to parties and their leadership, and we expect to expand to business community and everyone so that when we say we are speaking on the unity of the region, we are doing exactly that,” she said.
She said the forum was a follow up of several regional meetings the leaders have been holding, and “more will follow”.
“We need to continue putting our people together to ensure we speak in one voice, in social and economic aspects,” she held.
Last weekend, after the Laikipia meeting, Waiguru and Nyoro, who have been supporters of ODM leader Raila Odinga stirred the political scene after denying ever endorsing the former Prime Minister.
They said their engagements with other national leaders were only consultative and they had not settled on anybody.
“There has been speculation that we are leaning towards Raila. That is not true. In fact, what we are doing is consultations so whoever we think will articulate our issues is the one we will back,” she had said.
She made the remarks barely a day after the court upheld the nullification of BBI which she had been vouching for.
And immediately after the judgement, Waiguru had tweeted that suggested a change in her political stance.
“Kenya will go on. BBI intended well but we must respect the constitutional authority of the courts and find other legitimate means to achieve Kenya’s unity and prosperity.
And for some of us, it is time for serious introspection on the political way forward,” she had tweeted.
Yesterday, Waiguru said the caucus is ready to meet with other stakeholders to ensure all ideas were incorporated in the leadership and development of the region.
On his part, Muriithi said the Mountain region was rich in resources, and the residents needed to live a life worth their toil.
His sentiments were echoed by Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni who said the farmers should be guaranteed of their produce prices.
“The purpose of our meeting is talking about the need of our region and improving social economic issues in our area,” said Kioni, adding they have lined up a series of meetings to rally the region behind one candidate.