Vicious power games erupt Mt Kenya
By Moses Nyamori and Jacob Ng’etich | May 27th 2021
Already looking beyond President Uhuru Kenyatta’s final term in office, a vicious power struggle in Mt Kenya has emerged, splitting the vote-rich region into two rival camps.
The latest jostling for power is fuelled by President Kenyatta’s dwindling influence and perceived political traction by his deputy, William Ruto. Local leaders are now positioning themselves for higher political offices.
The Uhuru succession has a group of politicians majority of whom are angling to either run for presidency or be the running mate of a front runner in the 2022 presidential election.
Having produced three presidents, the region has been thrown into a political spin given that unlike in the past, the current political situation has not produced a local leader who could easily take over the mantle from Uhuru.
This has opened the Mt Kenya region as a possible battlefield that will see sons and daughters of Mumbi size themselves up for relevance, political survival or supremacy.
And yesterday, a section of influential leaders from Murang’a, Kiambu, Nakuru, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Nyandarua and Laikipia counties spoke up against the coronation of National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi as the region’s spokesperson.
The move is likely to trigger a political disagreement between Mt Kenya West and East regions.
Coronated by the Kiama kia Agikuyu as Mt Kenya spokesman at the Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga shrine in Murang’a County, Muturi’s move was seen to give him an edge over his rivals.
On the other hand, Ruto has made forays in the region and endeared himself to the electorate. Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi has also intensified his visits to the region, with over four million voters.
Last Saturday’s coronation of Muturi — who is from Mt Kenya East — was endorsed by Governors Muthomi Njuki (Tharaka Nithi), Martin Wambora (Embu) and Kiraitu Murungi (Meru) but vehemently opposed by some political leaders from the West region led by Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria.
Yesterday, Governors Iria, Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga), Lee Kinyanjui (Nakuru) and Mutahi Kahiga (Nyeri) held a meeting in Nairobi, lifting the lid on the vicious behind-the-scenes battle for Uhuru’s succession within the now restless Mt Kenya.
The leaders vowed not to allow anyone to divide the region, and warned that their numbers should not be taken for granted by those seeking higher offices next year.
“The unity of Mt Kenya region is paramount as we head to 2022 elections. We will not be divided or be taken for granted by anybody. We know our true leaders and when the right time comes, we will make a major decision,” said Iria.
Others in the meeting were former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo, former MPs Dennis Waweru and Jamleck Kamau. Muturi, Iria, Kabogo, Agriculture CS Peter Munya and former CS Mwangi Kiunjuri are all seeking to inherit the region from Uhuru.
But while addressing a press conference yesterday, the governors downplayed the reported crack despite the absence of leaders from Embu, Meru and Tharaka Nithi in their mid-morning engagement.
They announced that the meeting was the beginning of a journey to consolidate the region in readiness for next year’s polls, revealing that there will be a subsequent meeting in Nyeri in two weeks.
“Our next meeting will have more leaders. We are here to start a journey of bringing the region together because our numbers cannot be taken for granted,” said Waiguru.
Kinyanjui said they seek to solidify the region and speak in one voice.
“Numbers and politics go together, and that is why we have started this journey of solidifying our region before we can align our agenda and priorities moving forward,” he said.
Kahiga said the region’s leaders will speak in on voice and termed the meeting the beginning of “many things” ahead of 2022.
Kamau said the region has never been divided politically. “Today is the start of a journey to ensure Mt Kenya remains united forever,” said the former MP.
Kabogo said there was consensus that they have to remain united for the region to benefit from the next political dispensation.
In a statement, Muturi endorsed the unity calls and urged all leaders in the country to embrace the cause.
But despite the assurance, the split among the Kikuyu Council of Elders has also given the tussle a new twist after a section disowned the Saturday event.
Elders from Kikuyu Council of Elders, Kiama kia Ma, Athamaki and Atonyi on Tuesday said Uhuru remains the official spokesperson of the community.
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