Facing Mt Kenya: Uhuru starts Central region tour

President Uhuru Kenyatta arrives at Sagana State Lodge in Nyeri on Friday when he was welcomed by Nyeri Deputy Governor Caroline Karugu among other leaders. [Kibata Kihu, Standard]

President Uhuru Kenyatta will arrive at Sagana State Lodge in Nyeri county today ahead of his four-day tour of Central region.

During his visit, the Head of State will launch complete national government projects and inspect ongoing ones.

The Head of State will also meet local leaders to discuss the Big 4 Agenda, the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), curriculum reforms and the fight against Covid-19.

The President's engagements during the four-day working visit will run into Saturday, when he will host a Central Kenya leaders meeting at the Sagana State Lodge in Nyeri county.

According to State House spokesperson Kanze Dena, the consultative meeting whose main agenda is development will be open to invited Central region leaders.

The convention, for which invites are already out, is being held in a familiar place where Kenyatta retreats to speak to his backyard when faced with a rebellion in his vote-rich home region.

The area is seen to be growing weary of being left without a kingpin when the president retires in 2022.

The last retreat for leaders held here with the Head of State turned out to be a humbling experience for supporters of his Deputy William Ruto, none of whom got an opportunity to speak or hobnob with the president at the high table.

Close allies of the president are now said to agree that he needs the support of diverse political players in the region as the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) enters the home stretch with approval required from legislators, MCAs and the public in a referendum.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, on Tuesday announced the transmission of the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill to the  county assemblies, following verification of over one million signatures.

The president is expected to address constitutional amendment that has not been received well in his backyard.

At the burial ceremony of Mama Hannah Mudavadi in Vihiga last week, President Uhuru Kenyatta told off those criticising his style of leadership, saying he was in full control of his government.

The president’s sentiments came just days after one of his allies, Senate Majority Whip Irungu Kang’ata, had written to him painting a not so rosy picture of the popularity of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) in Mt Kenya region.

Kang’ata, who has stood by his sentiments in the letter dated December 30, 2020, warned that the BBI would fail in the region unless the president personally took charge of campaigns for the document.

He also advised Jubilee Party to change its strategy and work with all leaders for the initiative to register a favourable result.

His sentiments have drawn criticism, with president’s allies accusing him of gravitating towards Deputy President William Ruto, a critic of BBI.