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Power play and heightened political activities in Central

Updated Sun, October 31st 2010 at 00:00 GMT +3

By Gakuu Mathenge

The anticipated removal of some players from politics by the International Criminal Court (ICC) has triggered a flurry of political activities in the Central Kenya region.

The ICC factor has complicated the Kibaki succession politics and November is poised to be a nervous month with ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo expected to issue indictments before Christmas.

There is anxiety in Central Kenya as Kibaki is set to retire in less than 18 months, and Moreno-Ocampo’s Christmas deadline draws close.

On Friday, Assistant Minister Mwangi Kiunjuri claimed powerful forces in Government were out to cut him to size over his presidential ambitions and prop Mr Amos Kimunya.

“They thought the Water ministry gave me too much political mileage on the ground. With ICC threatening to alter the political terrain, Mr Kimunya is being propped up to become a political kingpin and must be shielded from competition. These tricks will not work and must be resisted,” Kiunjuri said.

The Laikipia East MP became the first member of Government from the region to publicly accuse President Kibaki and Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura of acting in bad faith by transferring him from Water to Public Works ministry.

MPs from the region never criticise Kibaki and Muthaura in public for fear of backlash.

“Like in the French revolution when generals were hanged to save political leaders, some of us have to be sacrificed to secure the succession designs of the rich and powerful. They blocked me from the Constitution Oversight Committee saying I am not PNU but GNU. I served diligently in the PSC up to Naivasha and GNU never became an issue. Why now? I’m shocked things have gotten this vicious,” Kiunjuri said.

Punished with a ‘demotion’

He said he worked hard for Government but had been punished with a ‘demotion’ for allegedly threatening succession designs of powerful interests.

Kinjuri’s brave attack on President Kibaki was a sign succession spasms were getting tighter.

Previously moribund parties have been pulled out of the closets, spruced up and reactivated in a manner unseen before since 2002 when the National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) kicked Kanu out of power.

Presidential candidates are watching the region closely, keen to figure which force or a coalition of forces will produce potential rivals or running mates.

The Party of National Unity can no longer claim to be in charge as MPs and officials are busy building and joining other outfits.

“There are a lot of hyper political activities of both the defensive and offensive kind in the region. It is a strategy to take advantage of developments to fix others, and others trying to avoid being fixed. Politicians want to take advantage of the anticipated developments to be in good position in the succession lane,” history professor and political analyst, Macharia Munene, told The Standard On Sunday in an interview.

Besides PNU, Narc-K and Safina that have been active as distinct entities, the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the Democratic Party and the GNU party have lately been activated with a series of high profile meetings, retreats and public events that point to determined efforts to revamp the political outfits.

GNU Secretary General and former Mathira MP Nderitu Gachagua staged a colourful relaunch of GNU in Nyeri, in a move viewed as an effort to make an impression in the county.

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