Trouble looms as Mt Kenya MPs plot to take war to Ruto

 President William Ruto. Mt Kenya MPs are unhappy about reallocation of water and road projects to other regions. [David Gichuru, Standard]

Immediately after United Democratic Alliance (UDA)’s National Governing Council meeting at Bomas of Kenya, a group of 60 Mt Kenya leaders held two parallel meetings to chart their political destiny.

One group made up of 12 MPs from Kiambu retreated to Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua’s Karen home. On the same night, 48 lawmakers converged at a Kirinyaga MP’s home at Thika Greens until late into the night.

The main agenda of the latter meeting was the over-reaching by principal secretaries into CSs’ turfs, reallocation of funds meant for water and roads projects from Mt Kenya, firing of senior civil servants who hail from the region and failure by President William Ruto to honour some of the promises made during campaigns.

Juja MP George Koimburi, who was at the Karen meeting, confirmed to The Sunday Standard that the two meetings agreed to appoint three legislators who will consolidate all the  grievances and report back in three days.

“We selected MPs Benjamin Gathiri (Embakasi Central), Jane Kihara (Naivasha) and Peter Kihungi (Kangema) who will retreat to Meru to prepare a draft that will then be presented to the Deputy President and later to the President to express our dissatisfaction,” Koimburi said.

He said that at the Thika meeting, they informed Gachagua about the issue of insubordination of Cabinet Ministers and promised to reach out to them.

Nominated MP Sabina Chege also confirmed she attended the Thika meeting but she said she was not privy to the outcome as she left to attend to other family matters.

“But one thing that was agreed before I left was the issue of having the Mt Kenya region caucus brings together all MPs from the region regardless of their political parties just like there exists a caucus in the pastoralists communities and in Western region,” she said.

An MP, who did not wish to be quoted, said they were apprehensive that funds for the development projects had been diverted to please other communities that did not vote for the Kenya Kwanza government to win their hearts in 2027.

“We are very much keen on the unfolding events in this administration and that is why we decided to meet and agree to have unity of purpose so that we are not shortchanged. We agreed that funds that has been diverted must be returned or else we start sensitising our people,” he said.

Fodder for opposition

He added that they have been silent as they do not want to give the Opposition fodder to undermine them but their continued silence had led to them being labelled tugege (political nincompoops) by their electorate and rivals.

Another leader said despite Gachagua’s assertion that the region was a major shareholder, appointees who had been appointed  by the former administration were being replaced by others from other regions, a move she noted created imbalance in the region’s share of the government.

“They are being removed one by one and this is a matter of concern to us,” she added.

The meeting comes barely a week after Athi Water Works Development Agency (AWWDA) CEO Michael Thuita resigned over corruption allegations which Mt Kenya region leaders have dismissed as a political witch hunt.

Gatanga MP Edward Muriu claims there is a bigger scheme in the issue of Thuita’s suspension. 

“The hurry to lock Thuita out of the office with only four months to the end of his tenure stinks to the high heavens. I understand that the PS has suspended approval for all payments in Athi Water paralysing its operations because he alone has concluded that Thuita is corrupt and he is supposed to be in jail,” he said. 

He continued: “We are aware that the PS is not acting alone, actually someone up there is holding his pen.” 

The leaders have also cried foul that funds for development projects had been diverted.

During the burial of the freedom warrior, Tetu MP Geoffrey Wandeto and Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga protested the cancellation of funds for the construction of Muthuaini- Giakanja and Wandubi- Wamagana roads and the construction of Mau Mau  statues that were to be constructed at Field Marshal Dedan Kimathi’s birthplace in Tetu to attract tourists. 

In May, Water Cabinet Secretary Alice Wahome protested the decision by her PS Kiprono Ronoh to reallocate Sh1.3 billion meant for water projects in Central Kenya, saying she was not consulted.

 Through a letter to National Treasury Njuguna Ndung’u dated April 25, Wahome said the projects have crucial budget requirements that can’t afford the reallocation.

 “The request for the reallocation was not made in consultation with the relevant implementing Water Works Development Agencies and my concurrence was also not sought,” Wahome said in the letter copied to her PS.

Regional interests

Out of the Sh1.3 billion, Sh800 million had been reallocated, Sh479 was meant for the construction of Ruiru Dam II in Lari and Githunguri constituencies, and Sh300 million for the last mile project for water supply from Karemenu dam.

They also cited the Sh100 million Ithanga water project was for the last mile connectivity after the Sh2.5 billion projected fully funded by Belgium government is complete.

But Githunguri MP Gathoni Muchomba faulted Gachagua for letting the region down by ‘failing to push for regional interests’.

“In as much as I support Gachagua on unity whenever the regional interests are threatened, I fault him because he should not be crying like me. He is supposed to use his position to lobby for our interests,” she said. 

The legislator said while Western has successfully lobbied for Sh117 billion to waive their ailing sugar sector, in Mt Kenya region coffee and macadamia farmers are suffering and Gachagua seems not to do anything to agitate for funds to revive the ailing sectors