Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli's home in Ildamat, Kajiado County, yesterday hosted political heavyweights sparking speculation over its agenda.
Those present included Kanu chairman Gideon Moi, Siaya Senator James Orengo and Jubilee vice chair David Murathe. Former presidential candidate Peter Kenneth, Suna East MP Junet Mohamed, Igembe North MP Maore Maoka, Kajiado East MP Peris Tobiko and her Kajiado Central counterpart Memusi Kanchori were also present.
The gathering comes about two weeks after another one at the same venue that was attended by ODM leader Raila Odinga. Orengo, Kenneth, Maore and Murathe were also present at that meeting. Raila had just returned from Dubai where he had undergone minor back surgery.
At the time, the gathering was dubbed a 'lunch meeting'.
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“We thank God for taking care of Raila while he was undergoing medication. I am humbled that he chose my Ildamat home as his first place to come have lunch with us,” Atwoli said at the time.
Even as speculation mounted over its agenda given the current movements on the political scene, Atwoli yesterday emerged after the meeting to address the media, saying it was nothing more than a lunch meeting.
''You are aware that the time for politics is not yet, however we have discussed some issues that are ailing our country especially during the Covid-19 pandemic," he said.
The Cotu boss said President Kenyatta had given a stern warning that politics should not take centre stage.
''What we are interested in for now is to know how we will rescue our country from this pandemic; time for politics will come,'' Atwoli said.
Other sources at the meeting, however, said the gathering discussed 2022 succession.
"The meeting was to chart the way forward in managing the 2022 succession. On the table is to have three principals, Raila, Uhuru and Gideon form a summit to flesh out issues and clear the path on who will succeed Uhuru," said a source privy to the discussions.
Atwoli’s home has become synonymous with those who support the Building Bridges Initiative, a product of Raila and Uhuru’s March 2018 handshake.
Talk of a summit to be formed by the three leaders could be a further pointer that Deputy President William Ruto is not the automatic successor to Uhuru and will boost the Kanu leader's political clout, particularly in the Rift Valley.
The Kajiado meeting comes just days after Ruto weighed in on the succession talk, saying he was aware there was a plot by what he called the 'deep state' to stop his 2022 presidential bid. He claimed the group was akin to one that tried to stop his joint ticket with Uhuru in 2013 when the pair were facing cases at the International Criminal Court at The Hague.
The DP's critics, however, claim his remarks were aimed at laying the ground for rejection of the poll's outcome, with some like Atwoli calling for his resignation for what he said was Ruto taking on his boss.
Raila also turned the heat on Ruto, saying the DP had inside knowledge on the ‘deep state’ he has been referring to.
He said the system the DP accuses of plotting his political downfall is not a faceless entity, and if there was anyone who would know about it, it was Ruto, given his office.
“You know where I am. I hold no position in government. The government is led by the president, whose name you know and his deputy, whose name you also know. So if you are talking about the deep state, who is there? It’s the president and his deputy,” Raila declared.
During the last meeting held at the home, Murathe said they had discussed national issues including the formula for revenue allocation to the counties, which has since been rejected by the Senate.