Karua: This is why Mt Kenya must hold key Limuru meeting

Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua. [Samson Wire, Standard]

Mt Kenya has been caught in the crosswinds of divisive politics as Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua soldiers on with her plans for the Limuru III meeting on May 17, whose resolutions she hopes will have a “profound effect on how the affairs of the region are organised’’.

Karua who is among the planners of the meeting alongside Jubilee Secretary-General Jeremiah Kioni on Thursday maintained that the meeting targets to come up with a ‘push back strategy’ against the Kenya Kwanza administration that has imposed ‘’punitive taxes against Mt Kenya electorate who are largely dependent on agriculture and business’’.

“By coming together of political leaders from different political parties from Mt Kenya region we want to meet to deliberate our next course of action. We are rooting for the unity of purpose to be able to look at issues of common interest,” Karua said during an interview with Spice FM.

Top of the Limuru III agenda, Karua hinted, include the composition of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, constituency boundary review, revenue allocation based on population and establishing a framework on how they will force the President William Ruto administration to lower taxation among others.

“There should be equality of the vote in the boundary review exercise. The review must focus on population and we are saying this because our voice has been diluted in the current boundary status. We are marginalised even in the distribution of resources and this also means access to health is being marginalised leading to ill health and death.  I’m also personally pushing for an equalisation fund which I borrow heavily from the Canadian constitution,” said Karua.

On taxation, Karua accused the Kenya Kwanza administration of exorbitant taxes on agricultural produce.

She said miraa, coffee, tea, avocado and macadamia have been hit with taxes which have no justification.

“Miraa is currently is being levied $5 at the airport, a miscellaneous tax that nobody knows about. For what service is the administration giving to miraa and other crops to be able to ask for an additional tax? There is no taxation without representation,” posed the Azimio deputy party leader.

She hit out at leaders who were opposed to the meeting when other community caucuses were meeting to discuss their issues.

‘’There is a caucus for Mulembe, Coast and other regions seeking to forge unity and I don’t know where there is excitement when the people of Mt Kenya say they are meeting, and for that reason, the Kenya Kwanza administration shows signs of developing fear and branding us as ‘tribalists’. May I tell them that we are several communities under the umbrella of the Mt Kenya region,” she said.

Karua noted that the meeting will be attended by delegates from the larger Agikuyu-speaking communities from the 11 Mt Kenya regions and the diaspora.

She was responding to National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah who is opposed to the meeting and who described it as an ‘ethnic bigotry meeting’.

Ichungwa dismissed the meeting claiming it was to propagate the politics of ethnicity and personalities that he said ended with the 2022 elections.

 “Limuru III talk belongs to the past. Ethnic bigotry has no place in our nation’s future. Let’s bury ethnic divisive politics and build a united and inclusive nation,” Ichung’wah said.

However, Karua clarified that the meeting will not discuss the 2027 Presidential candidate or any other candidate saying ‘’you got to give the people of the mountain time for everybody’s dream to grow’’.

“You have to leave people and candidates to grow. This is not the time for declaring anybody as a leader,” she said.

Two days ago, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua reached out to Kioni and Karua saying his doors are open for any candid discussion on things they feel are not going well and that through him there was an avenue for Mt Kenya leaders to listen to each other.

“A good idea has room to become a better idea and a better idea must give room to the best idea, instead of disturbing Limuru people as they battle with flash floods their leaders are welcome to exchange ideas, they can be accompanied by the clergy if they wish,” Gachagua said on Sunday.

As Karua and Kioni prepare for Limuru III, Public Service, Performance and Delivery Management CS Moses Kuria contends that there is a strategy to divide the region.

On Thursday, Kuria stoked fresh controversy when he criticised the meeting between his boss President Ruto and Kiambu leaders, wondering why such a meeting would be called without him yet he is the only Cabinet Secretary from Kiambu County.

“It is wrong to keep calling meetings of Kiambu leadership without the only CS from Kiambu county. No such a meeting in Elgeyo-Marakwet County would happen without Kipchumba Murkomen,” Kuria  said.

But in a swift response to Kuria, Nyandarua Senator John Methu said: “Maybe it’s because you are a CS and not a county executive from Kiambu or maybe because they use the number of votes you got in the last election to gauge your capacity in representing Kiambu in such a critical meeting. Why don’t you inbox the President and tell him that you feel inferior to Kipchumba Murkomen.’’