President William Ruto is expected to visit Kandara Constituency in Murang’a today, in his first political visit in the region since he formed his Cabinet.
The visit comes barely three days after he fully constituted his government after his Cabinet Secretaries nominees took their oath of office. Two of his Cabinet Secretaries, Alice Wahome (Water and Sanitation) and Njuguna Ndungu (Treasury) hail from Kandara and the elevation of Wahome has thrust the constituency into a campaign mode since she resigned from her parliamentary position to serve in Ruto’s government.
Over 10 aspirants have started campaigns to succeed Wahome, and all are vying on the ruling UDA party.
The President’s choice of venue, Kariguini grounds in Kenol town is the gateway to Mt Kenya region. It is also near the African Independent Pentecostal Churches of Africa where two youth died two years ago after rival groups pitting the then government allied Kieleweke and pro Ruto’s Tanga Tanga Jubilee factions clashed ahead of his visit.
In skirmishes that lasted for three hours, teargas canisters were thrown inside the church, while rival groups burning tyres, with journalists scampering for safety.
Two years after the melee, the family of the deceased youth from Kiandutu and who had been ferried by hired buses have not received justice as there were no arrests made. The two factions blamed each other for the fracas with Ruto’s side accusing government of using Kenyans’ tax to forcefully bribe locals to cause violence to stop Ruto to visit the region.
Kieleweke also blamed Ruto’s camp for failing to ‘read the mood on the ground’ and to avoid the visit. Today, the President will be visiting the area for interdenominational prayers in an area where his intentions to grace such an occasion and to launch a clergy Sacco was canceled at a last minute decision after leaders from the main religious groups distanced themselves from the planning of the event at the last minute.
Former Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria had vowed to stop the event at the time claiming it was a political tour. And Ruto now the Head of State, has rewarded Wahome, one of his lieutenants and Ndungu the region’s son, and will visit the area holding his head high.
Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro’s loyalty to the President has also been rewarded after he was proposed to head the powerful Budget Committee of the National Assembly while Muranga Senator Joe Nyutu will lead the Education committee in the Senate.
Pundits say the visit will largely focus on thanking the people of Mt Kenya whose electorate broke the jinx of following their senior most political leader as has been the trend in the past to vote for a leader termed ‘an outsider’.
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On his first tour to the former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s area, Kiambu, after being declared President-elect, Ruto who visited PCEA Gathiruini church hailed Mt Kenya region due to what he described as ditching politics of ethnicity and tribalism and voting for him and his battalion.
“Mt Kenya region has very special people, they have said no to politics of ethnicity and have voted based on manifesto and ideology,” said the President.
UDA scoped almost all the parliamentary seats in Mt Kenya region save for four seats in Meru and Nyandarua counties where each got four seats while the yellow party sponsored all the governors other than in Meru where the seat went to an Independent candidate, Kawira Mwangaza.