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Kiraitu drops Senate leader bid in favour of Kindiki

By - | Published Fri, April 5th 2013 at 00:00, Updated April 4th 2013 at 21:49 GMT +3

By Moses Njagih

Former Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi has dropped out of the Senate Majority Leader’s race and declared support for Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki.

The former minister’s decision was arrived at after a daylong meeting of all 25 MPs from Mt Kenya East sub-region of Embu, Meru and Tharaka Nithi counties at a retreat centre in Nairobi.

The MPs and Senators prevailed upon Kiraitu, initially considered as a front-runner for the seat to drop his candidature and instead support Kindiki.

“We have realised it is important not to have internal competition if either of us has a realistic chance of winning. Consequently, it was easier for me, as the older person to drop out of the race,” said Kiraitu.

Political dust

The Meru Senator said the Mt Kenya East leaders had decided to form a united caucus and back Kindiki.

The Leader of Majority seat in the Senate has been reserved for the Jubilee coalition affiliates while that of the National Assembly will go to the United Republican Party.

The decision of Kiraitu and Kindiki to go for the position had divided the elected leaders from the sub-region on party lines with those elected on TNA backing the Tharaka Nithi leader, while those of Alliance party of Kenya (APK) supporting their party leader.

After the meeting yesterday Kiraitu said he had opted out of the race to “settle the political dust”.

United group

“I have agreed to allow my younger brother go for the seat to ensure it remains with us. I believe he is qualified to do what I could have done on the floor of the House and out,” said Kiraitu.

The former minister said he would persuade other Senators eyeing the position, especially Nyeri Senator Mutahi Kagwe, to support Kindiki. Also eyeing the seat is Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi.

Kindiki said it was important to face the contest as a united group.

“We have been talking and we were on an agreement that it was not good for us from the region to go in the contest with more than one candidate. I am happy my senior has agreed to step down,” said Kindiki.