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Central MPs face public fury over Monica Juma’s rejection

The action by MPs to reject the confirmation of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s nominee for the position of Secretary to the Cabinet has been roundly criticised in the Mt Kenya region, with much the anger directed at Parliament.

The talk in the public court, especially in Murang’a, Laikipia and Nyeri counties, is that Dr Monica Juma, who is a consummate professional, should have been confirmed to this position.

Records from the National Assembly indicate that all Laikipia MPs – Anthony Mutahi (Laikipia East),   Wachira Karani (Laikipia West), Mathew Lempurkel (Laikipia North) and County MP Jane Apollos – voted to reject Juma’s nomination.

The other MPs from the Mt Kenya region who voted against the president’s nominee are Alice Wahome (Kandara), Irungu Kang’ata (Kiharu), Mary Wambui (Othaya), Peter Weru (Mathira) Ferdinand Waitutu (Kabete), Francis Nderitu (Ndaragwa), Joseph Gitari (Kirinyaga Central), Winnie Karimi (Kirinyaga County) and Kimani Njuguna (Gatanga).

Ms Wahome has been particularly vocal in defending their action and said the President cannot dictate to Parliament how to vote.

And the MPs say they are not done yet; they have threatened to teach Juma a lesson by kicking her out of the Interior Ministry where she is the Principal Secretary.

Last Sunday, Laikipia East’s Mutahi accused Juma of failing in her duties after previous interactions with her.

“We have a location in Lamuria which was left out during the recruitment of chiefs. I raised the matter with her, but nothing has been done. This is a location where people need an administrator to link them to the government, but the person who is employed to ensure Wanjiku is represented is not concerned,” said Mutahi.

Parliamentary cartels

But back in the villages of Muranga County, leaders and politicians have accused MPs of mishandling the Juma nomination. In the Ichagaki area of Maragua, where Dr Juma’s husband Prof Peter Kagwanja comes from, local people have said theactions by MPs were unwarranted.

Members of the County Assembly (MCAs), leaders’ forums and the clergy have said the MPs were unhappy because they were unable to manipulate Dr Juma who has successfully rejected cartels trying to influence decisions in the Office of the President.

In Kandara, a team of professionals led by Maina Kamau have castigated their MP, Ms Wahome, for speaking out against Juma whom they consider an insider in the county owing to her family links.

 The onslaught against the lawmakers kicked off last Sunday, with Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria saying professionals from the region were not recognised.

‘Jubilee rebels’

 Some members of the Jubilee Alliance Party (JAP) Reloaded, a lobby group pushing for President Kenyatta’s re-election in 2017, have accused the MPs of attempting to manipulate the President.

“It is sad that the MPs can go this far. It is betrayal of the highest order,” said Wahome Mwangi, the lobby’s Nyeri Patron.

JAP Nyeri County chairman Wambugu Nyamu said the MPs rejected Dr Juma because they want individuals whom they can manipulate to hold office.

“We did not expect MPs from the Central Kenya region to vote against the President’s nominee. We want to know those rebels who claim to support Uhuru but are fighting his policies,” he said Nyamu.

Mr Rigathi Gachagua, a businessman and Nyeri politician, criticised Jubilee legislators for going against the President’s wishes.

“They betrayed the President and his people and they must understand that 2017 is not far off,” he said in reference the next General Election where they will face the wrath of voters.

Rigathi said the leaders rode on President Kenyatta’s popularity and the support he gave them during 2012/13 campaigns to win the elections, yet they have gone against his wishes in Parliament. “We do not see them on the ground because they claim they are in Parliament defending him, yet they have now turned their backs on the President,” said Gachagua.

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