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Mt Kenya leaders demand bigger stake in BBI spoils

By Fidelis Kabunyi | November 22nd 2020
Kiambu woman Rep Gathoni Wa Muchomba with her Laikipia counterpart Cate Waruguru and Limuru Mp Peter Mwathi at St Pauls University, Limuru. [Fidelis Kabunyi, Standard]

Leaders from Mt Kenya region have defended the allocation of more parliamentary seats to the region as envisaged in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report.

In an event held in Limuru dubbed “BBI Express Limuru Chapter” the leaders said they were not shy to demand additional seats in Parliament on account of their region’s population.

Led by Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu and Laikipia Woman Rep Catherine Waruguru, the law makers said BBI also offered opportunity to address the region’s historical grievances.

Other leaders in attendance were Ruth Mwaniki (Kigumo), Gathoni Wamuchomba (Kiambu), Paul Koinange (Kiambaa), Peter Mwathi (Limuru). Koinange chaired the meeting deputised by Wambugu.

“Mt Kenya numbers must count in the National Assembly and in Senate and in resource allocation. We should get more money to our counties and more representation by virtue of our numbers,” Waruguru said.

Waruguru, who is also vice-chair of the Agriculture Committee in the National Assembly, said through President Uhuru Kenyatta’s efforts, farming in the region was paying off.

The largely Kieleweke-leaning MPs criticised their Tanga Tanga rivals for downplaying agricultural reforms in the region initiated under Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya.

Ngunjiri praised the BBI proposal to have 35 per cent go to counties, saying it would trigger economic growth and empower citizens at the grassroots.

“We encourage such meetings which translate to wider appreciation of this document, and more so, if they can help to dispel the propaganda around the proposals,” BBI steering committee co-chairman Dennis Waweru told the Sunday Standard. “It is time to rescue our people from the bondage of the past.”

Another pro-BBI meeting will be held today in Thika. Senate Majority Whip Kang’ata Irungu will be the host.

According to Kang’ata, the region is “fully locked” under BBI. He said the situation may have informed the change of tack and political tune by some groupings in the region.

He said while leaders who previously opposed the report are welcome to support it, they should not do so at the expense of the prime movers of the handshake agenda, who came together to create a united nation.

“We are organizing ourselves as a region to secure our interest, just like the other regions. Remember politics is local,” Kang’ata said.

“Our people are looking up to us to protect their interests.”

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