Deputy President William Ruto yesterday met 14 Jubilee Party senators for strategy talks, during which he told them to independently consider the case against impeached Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru.
Sources aware of the meeting quoted the DP as saying the governor should defend herself against the allegations levelled against her by Members of the County Assembly of Kirinyaga.
“Ruto said the governor should defend herself. He was categorical that senators should independently decide the case without influence,” said a source privy to the talks at the DP’s official residence in Karen, Nairobi.
The DP had invited 16 senators for the afternoon strategy meeting.
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Another source quoted the DP as telling the senators: “Let Waiguru rise or fall on the strength of her defence against accusations by the Kirinyaga ward representatives.”
At the start of the Karen meeting, The Standard reliably learnt that only Meru senator Mithika Linturi and his Nandi counterpart Samson Cherargei had not arrived, but were expected.
Waiguru’s impeachment has thrown the political arena into a frenzy, with behind-the-scenes lobbying ahead of her date with the Senate.
Political observers, including some allies of the DP, however, believe Waiguru’s fate will be decided by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition chief Raila Odinga.
Former Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen and Cherargei said the ultimate decision lay with the majority, led by Uhuru and Raila. “If government and Capitol Hill dry cleaners combine forces then Senate will do nothing," he posted.
“We'll take your denial seriously on Tuesday (today) once we see the instructions you have given Minority Leader James Orengo and Minority Whip Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr. For now, we shall treat your statement as decoy!” Murkomen said hours after the Opposition chief denied meeting Waiguru and some lawmakers.
Murkomen told The Standard he might skip today’s session. He did not give reasons.
Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot said he would support or oppose the ouster Motion based on the strength of evidence adduced, but reiterated that if Uhuru and Raila back Waiguru, she would be saved.
Former Majority Whip, Senator Susan Kihika, in response to Raila’s statement, also weighed in on the issue of intense lobbying to avert Waiguru's ouster. She vowed to disregard Raila’s statement and instead wait to see how his hounds behave in the Senate today.
Ruto’s camp has been pushing to have the fate of Waiguru discussed in the plenary instead of being referred to a select committee that is now favoured by those keen to save her. Yesterday Ruto’s Director of Communications Emmanuel Talam denied any meeting between the DP and senators.