By LISA KITHURE and ROSELYNE OBALA
The appointment of former Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura to head the Lapsset project has rekindled old supremacy battles in Meru.
Meru region is made up of two counties; Meru and Tharaka Nithi. Meru County is home to ethic Imentis, Igembes and Tiganias while Tharaka Nithi is home to ethnic Tharaka, Chuka, Mwimbi and Muthambi sub-tribes.
Although under the Kibaki regime, individuals from the region were awarded plum State jobs, there has been a feeling that those from Imenti are the beneficiaries.
Ambassador Muthaura, Meru Senator Kiraitu Murungi, Kenya Wildlife Service Chairman David Mwiraria as well as retired Judge Aaron Ringera come from the Imenti sub-tribe.
Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi and Interior Principal Secretary Mutea Iringo come from the same area. Already several leaders from the region have threatened to quit the ruling coalition in protest over the marginalisation.
Maara MP Japhet Kareke Mbiuki, who is from Tharaka Nithi, captured the feeling of the region when he accused President Uhuru Kenyatta of rewarding the same village, just like his predecessor, Mwai Kibaki who rewarded people from Imenti and neglected the Nyambene Tigania, Igembe and Tharaka sub-tribes.
“It’s unfortunate that Uhuru just like his predecessor has decided to reward people from the same village who come from a radius of five kilometres. Where is regional balance?” Mbiuki wondered.
However, Senator Kiraitu defended Uhuru and said those complaining can find a better alternative in raising their concerns than threatening to quit jubilee.
“If there are complaints, let us address them in a more pragmatic manner instead of grumbling. Kenyatta has treated Meru very failry and we denounce those talking of the region moving out of Jubilee,” he said.
Kiraitu made the remarks as he joined his colleague John Lonyangapuo (West Pokot) to applaude the President for appointing Muthaura, who was his co accused at the International Criminal Court.
Prof Lonyangapou stressed that Mathaura is the best candidate for the job, adding that there should be no discontent in the Jubilee coalition over the matter.
Kiraitu said Muthaura is competent and merits the position.
“It’s unfortunate that instead of President Kenyatta receiving congratulations from Meru leaders, he is getting a backlash,” he regretted.
Lonyangapuo also in the process lashed at the leaders opposing Muthaura’s appointment, terming the move as selfish and ill advised.
“Jubilee leaders should not mix their party problems with the appointments. The position of a chairman is that of an overseer while that of a Chief Executive Officer requires daily supervision,” he argued.
He recalled that when Muthaura was the secretary to the Cabinet, he chaired the committee of the then Permanent Secretaries which brought together the Lapsset project.
“He is the engine and driver of this project. He is better placed to head the project to its completion,” he said.
The senators expressed confidence that Muthaura will deliver on his mandate as he is very passionate about the venture.