The anti-Deputy President William Ruto group Kieleweke has written to Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi seeking to be recognised as a parliamentary caucus even as it seems to be running out of steam.
The team that is vehemently opposed to Ruto’s 2022 bid now wants to operate in Parliament as a ‘MPs for Unity Group’.
Led by Nyeri town legislator Wambugu Ngunjiri and Nominated MP Maina Kamanda, the group fashioned itself as the antidote of Team Tanga Tanga, a political grouping that has coalesced around the deputy president and his presidential bid.
“We now have more than 20 MPs in the House supporting us. We have notified the Speaker so that we can be recognised as a caucus,” said Ngunjiri.
With no candidate to politically market for the presidency in the next polls, Kieleweke has on several occasions thrown its weight behind President Uhuru Kenyatta’s war on corruption but has suffered some setbacks in the recent past.
From being jeered and kicked out of churches across the Mt Kenya region to losing some of its key members, Team Kieleweke has endured many setbacks and finds itself between having to sustain the tempo or becoming a cropper.
On Thursday, Ruto tore into the group, calling them “confused elements” who had nothing to offer and were purporting to teach him how to work with and respect President Kenyatta.
“This group called Kieleweke cannot teach me how to work with Uhuru. I have worked with him for 20 years and supported him from 2002,” said Ruto in a Kameme radio station interview.
In the last two months, members of the group have encountered hostile receptions in Kiambu and Naivasha. In one instance, Wambugu, Nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura, Nominated MP Maina Kamanda, Kasarani lawmaker Mercy Gakuya and Kiambaa MP Paul Koinange were denied a platform to address the congregation in a church in Limuru.
Ngunjiri dismissed the allegations, saying they were not locked out and were ‘heartily’ welcomed in another church in Banana.
A similar function almost aborted in Naivasha when area MP Jane Kihara stormed the service and warned them about creating divisions. When her turn to speak came, she told off the MPs.
“I want to tell you MPs from Central Kenya to leave us alone. Why do you want to bring trouble to the Rift Valley? You were not here when we had issues, please stay in your areas,” Kihara said.
So bad is the relationship between Kieleweke and Tanga Tanga that Kihara refused to sit with Ngunjiri’s team at the service.
The team has on a number of occasions hit at the deputy president, accusing him of frustrating Uhuru’s pursuit to deliver on development as he seeks to build on his legacy.
At Kaharo ACK Church in Maragua last Sunday, Kieleweke called for the removal of Ruto, claiming he was engaged in 2022 campaigns in open sabotage of President Kenyatta.
“When the president is calling for an end to politics and more focus on his Big Four Agenda, someone is going round the country doing 2022 politics. We can’t allow that,” Ngunjiri said.
The MPs also hit out at their colleagues who supportRuto and accused them of being greedy.
“Those MPs supporting that man are greedy. They are doing so at the expense of Wanjiku. When they eat, have you eaten?” Kiambu Woman Representative Wamuchomba posed.
The group, whose other members include Igembe North MP Maoka Maore, Muturi Kigano (Kangema) and Wiper’s Robert Mbui (Kathiani) and Stephen Mule (Matungulu), has lost some of its most vocal Ruto critics.
Recently, former Mukurweini MP Kabando wa Kabando was appointed chairman of the Lap Fund while his former colleague Dennis Waweru (Dagoretti South) was appointed to chair the Kenivest Board.
Former presidential candidate Peter Kenneth, who was seen to have joined the group, seems to have developed cold feet after an event at St Stephens ACK Church in Nairobi where Governor Mike Sonko took on him and Maina Kamanda over doube speak in the war on corruption.
“Lets not argue about corruption selectively, some of you here are very corrupt ...,” Sonko said.
In the Rift Valley, where Kieleweke is represented by Kutuny, a group allied to the DP have brought on board former Cherangany MP Kipruto Kirwa.
Kirwa was the deputy leader in Musalia Mudavadi’s Amani National Congress (ANC) through which he vied and lost the senatorial race in Trans Nzoia.
But Kutuny said he is a political force who has fought his own way all along and will weather any political machinations and attempts to unseat him.
“At the moment, we are looking at bigger things, we want to support Uhuru to deliver his mandate. We will not be distracted by those whose eyes are only on the next elections,” said the MP.
He argued that if the DP will not stop attacking Uhuru and Raila in the ongoing anti-graft war, then the two could team up and send him home in 2022.