By WAINAINA NDUNG’U
If political realignments in Mt Kenya region would make one man bitter, it would be Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi.
In the earlier days when some key players had not identified political vehicles for their presidential bid, Kiraitu was riding on a wave and looked set to be an influential kingmaker in the next General Election.
During the hotly contested Kirinyaga Central by-election in which the winner Gachoki Gitari was pitted against Narc-Kenya candidate Daniel Karaba, Kiraitu warned the flower party leader and presidential aspirant Martha Karua that the Uhuru Kenyatta wave would relegate her into political oblivion.
The minister was also instrumental in organising the signing of a protocol last year between Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, and Internal Security Minister George Saitoti where they pledged to support one of them for president.
During the launch of the Alliance Party of Kenya (APK) in Nairobi two weeks ago, Kiraitu spoke fondly of the pact.
The Imenti South MP also played a key role in organising Uhuru’s prayer meetings in the region prior to his appearance at the International Criminal Court for confirmation of charges hearing last year.
An MP associated with APK says then it was apparent that Uhuru faced a rebellious Kanu faction and lacked a secure political party to launch his presidential bid.
Abandoned the party
The Party of National Unity (PNU), which Kiraitu was Secretary General and most Mt Kenya MPs belonged to, was marred with confusion as party leader Prof Saitoti had presidential ambition and was obviously not keen to give up.
A former MP associated with PNU say they were surprised when Kiraitu abandoned the party to launch APK.
But a Mt Kenya MP allied to Uhuru’s camp says the Energy minister was specifically tasked to form APK as an insurance against Saitoti’s hold on PNU.
Interestingly MPs who stuck with Kiraitu and ended up in the APK like Mathira MP Ephraim Maina were most enthusiastic when the party last year called, but later postponed the recruitment drive.
APK was seen as the region’s preferred vehicle for the elections. Indeed that was the origin of the ‘bus’ symbol.