Meru to host BBI meeting as GEMA tables list of demands

Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi during a press conference on October 29, 2019, at Sarova Panafraic Hotel in Nairobi. Governors resolved to support the BBI initiativeon condition that it proposes increase of budgetary allocations to counties for the development and improvement of the livelihood of our people at the grassroots level. [Edward Kiplimo,Standard]

The Gikuyu, Embu and Meru Association (GEMA) has chosen Meru County to host a mega meeting for the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) on February 15 in Meru, Governor Kiraitu Murungi has said.

Meru town is seen as a safer ground to host the event in the restive Mt. Kenya region, which has so far produced more elected leaders septic of the BBI initiative outside of the Rift Valley.

“I will convene a meeting for all Meru leaders to discuss the BBI process in order to establish what benefits the Meru people, before hosting the mega BBI rally for the 11 GEMA counties on February 15, at Kinoru Stadium,” said Kiraitu.

A section of Mt. Kenya leaders have aired their reservations on the BBI, a product of the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM Leader Raila Odinga. They see it as a political tool to sideline Deputy President William Ruto. Uhuru, as the spokesperson of Mt. Kenya region, had promised Ruto for his support in 2022 and 2027, to reciprocate the support he got from Ruto’s Rift Valley constituency during his two terms.

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Compared to the central region of Mt. Kenya, Meru leaders have shown more restraint in opposing the BBI and the handshake and therefore provides a better ground for the meeting to support the BBI. The region’s attractiveness is also boosted by the growing influence of Agriculture CS Peter Munya, who has been traversing the county holding barazas to “explain” government development projects to the residents. Development goodies have also been coming. The latest is the planned milk processing plant in Igembe.

 Last week, Munya visited the New KCC factory site at Kengeta, Igembe central, Meru.

 “This factory, a first in this region, will give the dairy farmers in Meru an opportunity to sell their milk at better prices, in keeping with His Excellency the President’s directive in support of the dairy industry in Kenya,” the CS said.

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Wachira wa Kiago, the Chairman of the Kikuyu Council of Elders Association, an affiliate of GEMA but drawing membership from the central region said in a recent interview with Mt. Kenya Star that the association supports the BBI but on the condition that the process does not discriminate against any section of Kenyans or individuals.

 “In our proposals to the BBI, we had two main issues.  First, we asked for equitable distribution of resources everywhere in the country. Secondly, we recommended that the country adopts an all-inclusive Government. Kikuyus must now let go; including the Kalenjins.

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 “Consequently, the association is not supporting any particular party or presidential candidate in 2022. We believe that by that time Kenyans will have put their act together, where everyone will feel represented in subsequent governments.”

However, the GEMA leadership has been categorical of the unreserved support for the BBI and the handshake. In their most recent communication, GEMA Chairman, Bishop Lawi Imathiu lauded the unity spirit exhibited so far.

“We commend President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga for their bold action in coming together and doing the handshake. This was eventually followed by the establishment of the BBI taskforce,’’ said Lawi in a press conference. ‘’We ask that elected leaders show honor and mutual respect for one another and to the office of the president in particular and his deputy, and by extension all leaders whom God has given the responsibility in various positions,’’ said Bishop Peter Njegwa, the GEMA vice-chairperson.

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GEMABBI meetingMeruMt KenyaUhuruRaila