Peter Munya's future in focus as Kiraitu and Kawira embrace Kenya Kwanza

When Azimo leader Raila Odinga asked for Agriculture CS Peter Munya and then Meru governor Kiraitu Murungi to shake hands before Njuri ncheke elders to prove their unity. [George Kaimenyi, Standard]

A political shift in Meru County has seen the Kenya Kwanza administration consolidate its support in the populous county by wooing former rivals to its side.

Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza, her predecessor Kiraitu Murungi and now Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi are reading from the same political script.

Ahead of the 2022 General Election, Kawira concentrated all her efforts in her own campaign as she in the political fight of her life when she ran against the more experienced and financially endowed opponents in Kiraitu and Linturi.

On the other hand, Kiraitu joined former Agriculture CS Peter Munya in vigorously campaigning for Azimio's Raila Odinga as Linturi led the Kenya Kwanza brigade to seek votes for President William Ruto .

With the dust from the elections now settled, major realignments have taken place, the most notable being that Kiraitu is now back with Ruto.

Kiraitu was among leaders who initially were steadfast in supporting Ruto's candidature before he crossed over to Raila.

Kawira, elected on an independent ticket, has a long political association with President Ruto dating back over a decade.

Kawira was in Munya’s Party of National Unity (PNU) on whose ticket she was to run for Woman Rep in 2017 before she was wooed to Jubilee.

 Ruto personally received her to Jubilee on March 9, 2017 in North Imenti when she defected from PNU, attracting criticism from Munya who accused him of poaching the party’s strong candidates.

"I am here because I have known her as a hustler. She gave me a lift in her car nearly 10 years ago", Ruto had said back then.

But Kawira lost to incumbent Florence Kajuju in the Jubilee nominations but citing rigging ran and won on an independent ticket.

Fast forward to 2022 election and Kawira's focus was on beating Kiraitu and Linturi while the two were fighting for their political lives but lost to her.

With his return to Kenya Kwanza, Kiraitu was last week appointed as board chairman at National Oil Corporation.

Ruto was instrumental in quelling the conflict between the governor and MCAs led by the Assembly Speaker Ayub Bundi.

Speaking at Kawira’s backyard of Buuri last week, the president said he wanted to work with all elected leaders in Meru for the benefit of residents.

“I want to thank all leaders in Meru. When some disagreements arose after the elections I dispatched my geputy Rigathi Gachagua to mediate unity of leaders. I thank all leaders from Governor, Senator, MPS and MCA for deciding to unite and put the interests of residents first,” Ruto said.

Kawira thanked the president for the intervention as Kiraitu conceded he erred by backing Raila against Ruto.

He said his Devolution Empowerment Party will be joining Kenya Kwanza.

Political analysts Prof Gitile Naituli and Lucas Kobia, a Maua-based lawyer, say the political developments in Meru, may lead to Munya and others who were not supporting Ruto start doing so, soon.

“They will all defect to President Ruto. They were in Azimio because they thought Azimio will win. It did not, so they will join the winner,” said Prof Naituli.

Pressed on whether Munya who enjoys massive support in Meru but has maintained a deafening silence since the election could think of joining Ruto, Naituli said; “He is probably already there”.

“The Meru political scene is really interesting. With respect to the doctrine of political survival and foresight while focusing on 2027, Kawira is on the right track in supporting Ruto. More so, the ground is pro-Ruto,” said Kobia.