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Muturi coronation: Elders cleanse Mt Kenya shrine

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi when he was coronated as Mt Kenya Spokesperson.[Standard]

Two events this weekend may mark a major twist in Mount Kenya politics after the anointing of the National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi as regional spokesman.

Two groups of Kikuyu elders will hold prayers in Murang’a town and later oversee the cleansing of the Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga shrine in Murang’a County on Friday even as seven governors from Mt Kenya West plan to hold a meeting.

According to sources in the Kikuyu Council of Elders and the Kiama Kia Ma, 30 Gikuyu elders will conduct the cleansing of Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga shrine, two weeks after Muturi was crowned Gema spokesman at the grounds.

Although the main prayers will take place at Mumbi grounds in Murang’a town, the 30 elders who will make it to the shrine  include four society leaders (Athamaki), two sages (Atonyi), 11 sacrifice givers (Agogoni) and 10 representatives – one each for the nine Gikuyu clans – and their chair.

The cleansing ceremony will take place from 5am on Friday.

“Kikuyu Council of Elders Association Trust in conjunction with Kiama Kia Ma (The National Gikuyu Cultural Association), Athamaki, Atonyi, Agongoni and Mihiriga ya Agikuyu wishes to notify you that we shall hold a public prayer meeting on June 4, 2021, at Mumbi Grounds, Murang’a township,” reads a joint letter by chairs Wachira Kiago (Kikuyu Council of Elders) and Ndung’u Gaithuma to Murang’a East sub-County Police Commander William Kiambi.

On Madaraka Day, Nancy Kathure, an inspector of police based at Murang’a had told the two groups that the meeting had not been approved. But the decision was later rescinded.

“This is to inform you that the cancellation is hereby withdrawn and your application is being considered,” Ms Kathure wrote in a second letter.

Peter Munga, the secretary general of Kikuyu Council of Elders said they had made arrangements for 2,000 elders to attend the ceremony.

Murang’a County Kiama Kia Ma chair Joseph Mukuna told The Standard that the elders who had earlier moved to cleanse the shrine after the coronation of Muturi met strong resistance from the local community.

“At Mumbi grounds, we have invited governors and leaders from Mt Kenya region and  we shall pray for Mt Kenya unity and the nation at large,” said Mukuna.

Last week, elders under Gaithuma and Kiago met in Nairobi to plan the cleansing ceremony.

After the speaker was anointed, Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria describing the move as political and an abuse of the shrine. 

Other governors who have opposed the anointment of Muturi include Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga), Mutahi Kahiga (Nyeri) and Lee Kinyanjui of Nakuru.

Sources say governors Ndiritu Muriithi (Laikipia), Francis Kimemia (Nyandarua) and James Nyoro of Kiambu will attend the weekend meeting.

“We have no doubt that Muturi jumped the gun and has no blessings from our senior most political leader,” said one of the Mt Kenya West governors.

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