Ukambani leaders challenged to work under one umbrella
The Kamba Leadership Forum yesterday urged the region’s political leaders to work under one coalition in order to increase the community’s bargaining power in the negotiations to form the next government.
The forum which brings together the clergy, political leaders, the Akamba Clans Governing Council, Atumi a ma Thome and the Akamba Council of Elders, says it is determined to ensure the community realises unity of purpose.
A Tuesday meeting which was convened by the forum’s leader, NCCK chairman Timothy Ndambuki at ABC Church headquarters in Bomani Machakos town, resolved to rally the region’s leaders to work under one umbrella.
The meeting was attended by Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana and former Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama.
Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua and Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu sent apologies.
Ndambuki, who addressed the media after the closed-door meeting, said the intention is to convince the Kamba leadership to speak in one voice in pre-2022 presidential election negotiations.
He said the region must be strategically represented in the next government irrespective of who becomes President.
Ndambuki clarified that the leadership was not doing political bidding for any presidential candidate but will sit with the leading formations to negotiate for a better stake in the next government.
“We want to have unity of purpose as a region such that if we decide to join a certain coalition we will benefit as a community in terms of development.
Members of the Kamba community everywhere have expressed their desire of being part of the government and that is why we have come to deliberate on how we can achieve this,” said Ndambuki.
He added: “When we are talking about government, we mean being in Raila’s side, Ruto or even in One Kenya Alliance (OKA). We would like to go with whoever matches our desires as the people of Ukambani.”
Ndambuki said the south-eastern region was open to negotiations.
Among the key resolutions of the meeting was the need to secure strategic positions in the next government and working with future governments to realise development milestones in the region.
The forum said it was also keen to mobilise residents to register as voters as one way of strengthening their negotiating power.
Ndambuki said it was wrong that top politicians were embroiled in turf wars and supremacy battles that, he said, were pointed out by President Uhuru Kenyatta when he toured the region two months ago.
Kalonzo, who is a member of OKA, has declared that he will vie for the presidency in next year’s election.
The former vice president, who was Raila Odinga’s running mate in the 2013 and 2017 elections, has said he will not play second fiddle to any politician in 2022.
Outgoing governors Alfred Mutua (Machakos) and Kibwana (Makueni) have also said they intend to run for the country’s top seat.
Kalonzo has been popularising his presidential candidature under OKA, which brings together party leaders Musalia Mudavadi (ANC), Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya) and Kanu chairman Gideon Moi.
Kibwana has entered into coalition talks with Narc Kenya’s Martha Karua, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi and former secretary-general of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Mukhisa Kituyi.
Mutua, who is also the leader of Maendeleo Chap Chap party, launched his presidential bid a year ago and has been crisscrossing the country and holding talks with various political leaders for possible pre-election coalition arrangements.
Muthama, who is the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) National chairman, is the key point man for Deputy President William Ruto in the region.
The division among the leading politicians has been a cause of concern for the community, with analysts warning that time was fast running out and the region risked going into the August 2022 General Election a divided house.