The endorsement of Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi as Meru community spokesman has received mixed reactions from a section of leaders.
The position is exalted, and powerful in the community and previously, the late Jackson ‘Harvester’ Angaine wielded much power in founding President Jomo Kenyatta’s administration, as the ‘King of Meru’.
Former Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi inherited the ‘King of Meru’ title from Angaine and went on to straddle the larger Meru politics for three decades.
If you wanted access to the presidency, Angaine and Kiraitu were the men to go to in the period they were in office.
Kiraitu has made his bow in politics after he lost his bid to recapture the Governor’s seat at the hands of Governor Kawira Mwangaza.
Kiraitu had said last year’s poll would be the last time he was seeking an elective position, but he and CS Linturi were beaten in the election by Mwangaza.
On Sunday when President William Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua attended an inter-denominational prayer at Laare, it was Kiraitu who said he was ready to hand the mantle to CS Linturi.
Meru MPs led by their caucus chairman Mugambi Rindikiri (Buuri) endorsed Linturi as the community spokesman and said he was the best placed to represent the region’s interests at the national level.
“He has been an MP, Senator and now Cabinet Secretary," Rindikiri said.
North Imenti MP Rahim Dawood and Nominated UDA MP Dorothy Muthoni said Meru leaders now have a leader in Linturi.
"We recognise him as our leader," Dawood said.
Tigania East MP Mpuru Aburi let the cat of the bag by saying their decision to appoint Linturi as the community’s leader was made at a meeting with him.
Aburi said leaders were in agreement that Linturi was their link to State House.
Linturi, commonly referred to as ‘captain’ by Meru leaders, is largely credited with leading UDA campaigns in the county, where the President’s party won five out of the nine seats and half of MCA seats.
Senator Kathuri Murungi who is also Senate Deputy Speaker expressed his disappointment that he had not been invited to that meeting, pouring his feelings to the leaders and residents present in the huge tent erected at Kiani kia Baimula on the outskirts of Laare town.
Kiraitu who was in the inner circle in late president Mwai Kibaki’s government, said Linturi fit the bill to be the Meru spokesman.
“CS Linturi is in the same position I was with Kibaki, because if there is someone who has fought for President Ruto in Meru, it is none other than Captain Mithika Linturi. The way you (residents) lifted me as your leader, let us give that respect to Linturi,” Kiraitu said.
He said after a meeting Linturi convened with MPs on Saturday they were unanimous that Linturi becomes the spokesman, because of his proximity to State House.
But though he did not address the issue of spokesman, Senator Linturi expressed dissatisfaction for his exclusion from that meeting, saying there was need for consultations.
“It is always good to do consultations. If there was a meeting to make decisions yesterday you could also have involved Kathuri Murungi, your senator for us to agree to move together. Perhaps the Governor was not there while you were agreeing, because he is our leader here in Meru,” he said.