Ukambani leaders resolve to drive BBI

From left, Makueni MP Daniel Maanzo, Wiper Party Leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Businessman Peter Muthoka and Kitui County Governor Charity Ngilu during Ukambani leaders forum at Stoni Athi Resort in Machakos County on January 29, 2020. [John Muia/Standard]

Political leaders from Ukambani region yesterday resolved to bury the hatchet and work together towards the community’s social, political and economic interests.

Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu and representatives of Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua declared they will “henceforth pursue a unified political course particularly on matters related to the ongoing national debate on Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).”

They spoke at a meeting in Athi River, Machakos County, which was also attended by over 20 MPs and dozens of MCAs drawn from different political parties in the region.

In her speech, Ngilu vowed to be in the forefront of coordinating BBI forums and political unity in Ukambani. “No amount of political differences will keep me away from doing what is in the best interest of the community,” she said.

She continued: “I am here to declare that I am embracing BBI and the unity of the Kamba nation. It is evident our community has lost out in critical areas of development due to petty political feuds.”

Kalonzo said time had come for Kamba leaders to set aside their differences and embrace unity of purpose for the sake of the community’s well-being.

“From today, this community is united. Despite our political differences, we will henceforth endeavor to embrace each other and forge a union which will shape the future of this community in the country’s leadership,” said Kalonzo.

The former VP, who has been at loggerheads with regional governors, said they had buried the hatchet.

“I want to thank Mutua who called me from Australia and made his commitment that we will work together. That was encouraging. I have also been talking with Ngilu about the same issue and I’m glad we are headed in the right direction,” said Kalonzo. Mutua, who is out of the country, has urged Kibwana and Ngilu to postpone a scheduled BBI meeting in Kitui to pave way for a more inclusive meeting that will bring together all political players in the region.

A source at the meeting intimated that it was Jubilee point-man Peter Muthoka who had called for a political ceasefire. “It took the efforts of Muthoka to bring all these people to the negotiating table and persuade them to demonstrate unity of purpose ahead of the planned BBI forums in Ukambani.” In his speech, Muthoka urged the leaders to stop infighting.

“As we quarrel over our petty political differences, our community is missing out on many key projects that, if well pushed, would deliver enormous economic opportunities and uplift our people from poverty,” he said.

Elsewhere, Kajiado East MP Peris Tobiko and her Kajiado Central counterpart Memusi Kanchori failed to attend a consultative meeting to discuss the BBI report in Kajiado yesterday.

The meeting that was convened by Governor Joseph Ole Lenku was meant to discuss the report and make recommendations to be presented at a February 17 rally in Suswa that will be presided over by ODM leader Raila Odinga.

Separately, Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui has dismissed reports that there are plans to deny leaders allied to Deputy President William Ruto access to Afraha Stadium for their BBI meeting slated for February 8. Mr Kinyanjui said his administration would help to facilitate the meeting.

[Additional reporting by Peterson Githaiga and Kennedy Gachuhi]