Mt Kenya region has for a very long time has voted in one pattern in adherence of their senior most political leaders.
Political analysts have singled out this year’s electoral cycle saying the voter-rich region which was a swing vote, has broken it’s political traditions of voting as per advice of its political representatives and in this case former President Uhuru Kenyatta.
President William Ruto, aware that his ambitions would have remained dreams without the region has in uncounted times, visited the region just to say ‘thank you’.
In his first political tour christened interdenominational prayers service in Kenol, the gateway to Mt Kenya, the president said the region had broken the yoke of ethnic-based politics where tribal chiefs dictate the political direction of voters.
“On August 9, the region refused to be grouped as ethnic voting blocs and they voted on the basis of ideals, delivering Kenya from the yoke of ethnicity,” Ruto said on October 30 at Kenol.
According to Esau Kioni, a former spy chief cum politician, the remarks by the president are very loaded.
“In the past, there has been disquiet amongst the electorate but when the voting day knocks, they become the voting machines to please one of their own,” said Kioni.
Jubilee party Vice Chairperson David Murathe said this situation was unique and recalled that in the final years of the founding President Jomo Kenyatta, there was such a rebellion but it did not play out like this year’s.
“Before Jomo’s death, there was rebellion and defiance against him, but he took charge and quelled the situation, this year’s political unfolding is the first of its kind,” Murathe a former Gatanga MP noted.
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In 1966, Bildad Kagia joined hands with Oginga Odinga to leave Kanu as a protest against the regime’s descent into a conservative ‘neo colonialism’.
While presenting themselves as heirs to the nationalist struggle, they formed Kenya People’s Union. This led to Jomo referring to them as enemies of the nation. To quell the growing unrest in the country, which was escalating following the assassination of Tom Mboya, Jomo’s lieutenants organised oath-swearing campaigns to pledge unity and loyalty. This neutralised the unrest from the Kikuyu community, especially from Kagia.
But Murathe says this year’s defiance was fuelled by class wars, that is, sloganeering of Hustler and Dynasties themes, and unmet expectations of Uhuru by Mt Kenya.
“When the region voted for Jubilee administration, they hoped to get money on their pockets but when Uhuru ascended to presidency he focused on infrastructure to create enablers of good economy to create a conducive environment for business. This is where Uhuru was disconnected from the electorate,” notes Murathe.
“The haves and have-nots narrative was later coined to present the haves as people who don’t worship God and this worked in Ruto’s favour,” he adds.
According to Prof Gitile Naituli, a political analyst, President Ruto and his administration should tread carefully because the region did not directly vote UDA in but came out in large numbers to punish Uhuru for the high cost of living.
Naituli said the General Election coincided with a time when the country was facing challenges like the high cost of living that saw unga and petroleum prices skyrocket and a time when joblessness was occasioned by the closure of businesses as a result of Covid-19 pandemic making Uhuru a subject of defiance.
“The electorate was so angry with their ‘kamwana’ (loosely translated a son), to an extent they wanted any other person who was not fronted by him. Ruto’s team had successfully presented Uhuru as a man who had neglected his community,” noted Naituli.
While the Jubilee leaders tried hard to demystify the Raila-phobia in the region, it did not work since the Jubilee team had adhered to the former Head of State’s advice to keep off politics and give him space to implement his agenda to the people of Kenya.
“We went to the grassroots a bit too late while all this time our competitors were all over fighting the handshake between Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Uhuru. The Raila-phobia led to our people refusing to vote us and ignoring our elder’s advice,” said Peter Kimari former Mathioya MP.
Nominated MP Sabina Chege has warned that Mt Kenya region will pay dearly in future for disintegrating.
“People rebelled against Uhuru for his commitment to the community especially on development and inclusion in sharing of resources, if we don’t unite in the next one year, we shall cry for our hard heartedness.”
Despite Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua giving a deadline of December 30 to unite the region, Chege says nothing has been done so far to unite leaders.