Centre for Multiparty Democracy chairman Justin Muturi, a strong Uhuru ally and founder member of the DPM’s party, The National Alliance (TNA), poured cold water on allegations of rifts in Mt Kenya politics.
“Anybody wishing to see any difference between Kibaki and Uhuru are suggesting the President should be campaigning for Uhuru. The claim is premature and unfounded,” says Muturi, emphasising the DPM still has the backing of the entire Mt Kenya and looks to tap into regions that did not vote for the President in the last election.
The region has produced two presidents – founding President and Uhuru’s father Jomo Kenyatta and Kibaki.
Still, the emerging scenarios have transformed Mt Kenya into toss-up electoral district for Raila and Mudavadi, who have made inroads into a hitherto intransigent electoral bloc. The PM has on his side leading businessmen Joseph Kuguru, former Attorney-General Charles Njonjo, media mogul SK Macharia and Kiambaa MP and businessman Stanley Githunguri, and activists John Githongo, Maina Kiai and Wambugu Ngunjiri.
Uhuru, however, is not sitting back: he is responding to the challenge by putting together an election that will allow him to retain his clout in the next government through Parliament and Senate even if the charges of crimes against him being pressed by ICC rules him out of the running.
When The Standard On Sunday to spoke to Wachira Kiago, the chairman of the elders, he could neither confirm nor deny if they have sat down Uhuru. Instead, he says they address Uhuru as their son and it is up to him to accept their counsel.
“Our position is informed by sentiments from the grassroots. This is our country and what we want is peace. We want to do politics in a conducive environment. Uhuru to Mt Kenya is like the best athlete representing Kenya at the Olympics. We want other communities to pick their best and out of them we back one of them,” says Kiago, who together with Catholic priest Joachim Gitonga, ex-chief Gathecha and Mau veteran Muiruri Njuguna prayed for and blessed Uhuru as the Mt Kenya spokesman at Ihuura Stadium in March 2011.
The resolutions of the council are apparently informed by the ethnic animosity in 2007, out of which thousands of internally displaced people are yet to be resettled in the Rift Valley.
The ad hoc group says it wants to address “prejudice and ethnic suspicions first amongst members of the Kikuyu community themselves and between them and communities.”
The council chaired by businessman Wachira Kiago expressed apprehension the tussle to succeed Kibaki has the potential to plunge the country into the abyss as a result of competing ethnic and regional interests, plus the perceived Kikuyu hegemonic hold on national institutions and resources.
“One of the threats confronting our national stability and peace is ethnic suspicions and mistrust. Described variously as tribalism, Negative ethnicity or ethnic nationalism, it exists and thrives where people do not know or understand each other or hold little or distorted information... it is made worse in an environment of competition for scarce resources and opportunities where various members of ethnic groups often try to use their ethnic or tribal identities to maximise their advantage,” he says.