New turf war pitting Kiraitu, Munya further divides Meru
Political battle between Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi and Agriculture CS Peter Munya has boiled over into the county Assembly as the two political horses fight for control of numbers in a fresh war that has left the House divided.
The wars are fuelled by Munya’s recent declaration that he will have another stab at the governorship, which he lost to Kiraitu in the last election. County Women Rep Kawira Mwangaza has also expressed interest in the seat.
Munya at the weekend called a meeting of all assembly members to discuss “agricultural issues” facing the county but only 20 out of 68 members attended.
The 48 who boycotted the meeting accused Munya of fronting a political agenda that could thrust the region into early political campaigns.
Minority leader Ayub Bundi blamed the governor of directing Majority leader Victor Karithi to incite the MCAs not to attend the Munya meeting.
“This is a game of supremacy. We know Majority leader was sent by Kiraitu to whip Jubilee Party members to boycott the meeting which was aimed at discussing challenges in the tea, miraa, coffee, cotton and fishing sectors,” said Ayub.
Munya who vied on the Party of National Unity (PNU) party, was last year appointed to Cabinet.
PNU has 21 MCAs while Kiraitu’s Jubilee has 22 members.
Of the 40, according to Karithi, included eight members of PNU. Munya was forced to cancel the meeting.
The sources further revealed to People Daily that the MCAs were allegedly threatened with dire consequences including losing ward development funds if they attended Munya’s meeting that was to be held at his Muthara home.
“Tough guidelines were issued for whoever would attend the CS meeting and majority of the members had nothing to do other than dance to the tune,” said one of the MCAs.
But speaking to People Daily Karithi, who is also Athwana Ward representative ,dismissed the claims exonerating governor Kiraitu for poor attendance of his rival’s meeting.
He said Kiraitu was away on an official duty in Nairobi and the boycott was only attributed by failure by the CS to offer an official and formal invite.
“We don’t have a problem with our CS Munya but there is no way we could attend a meeting that we were not officially and formally invited because we only received a phone call from the Speaker Joseph Kaberia and there was no formal letter to that effect,” he added.
Karithi who was accompanied by the 40 members of the assembly further accused Munya of trying to advance his political agenda and take power through the back door by using the assembly as a political tool ahead of 2022.
“We decided not to attend the meeting because we felt there was a hidden motive and not to discuss agriculture.
If it was something genuine he would have invited the Meru governor as well,” added Karithi.
Ayub, at the same time, revealed that a formal invite was sent to the assembly and the meeting was slated for Friday June 12, after which it was postponed for the second day after governor Kiraitu announced that he wanted to meet the MCAs on the same day.
A section of youths have accused Kiraitu of sabotaging development.
“Sabotaging a development meeting that was spearheaded by President Uhuru Kenyatta, through the agriculture Cabinet Secretary, is betraying the Meru farmers,” said Julius Mugambi a youth leader.
Munya and Kiraitu who were once close allies in 2013 and intensively companied together for governor and senatorial seat respectively which they won, were embroiled in political differences in 2016 when Munya openly accused Kiraitu, a veteran politician, of being greedy for power after he expressed interest to oust him in 2017 race.
“Kiraitu instead of retiring from politics and give us ‘young blood’ time to lead the county he is again claiming he will vie for the governship that is being selfish and greedy for power,”Munya said.
Their wars have continued since the last election, with Munya accusing Kiraitu of a poor development record.