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Kang’ata declines to recant letter to Uhuru on BBI fate

By Jacob Ngétich and Ndungu Gachane | January 14th 2021 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Senate Chief Whip Irungu Kangáta at his office in Nairobi. [File, Standard]

A three-hour meeting was held on Tuesday evening to convince Senate Majority Whip Irungu Kangáta to publicly recant a letter to President Uhuru Kenyatta on BBI fortunes in Mt Kenya region, The Standard has established.

The meeting came hours before a press conference by Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju at the party’s headquarters in Pangani, Nairobi, yesterday, where the party announced it would not field candidates in three by-elections scheduled for March.

Mr Kangáta had been invited for the Tuesday meeting by some senior government officials and the parliamentary leadership, led by Senate Majority Leader Samuel Poghisio, his National Assembly counterpart Amos Kimunya, Mr Tuju and Senate Deputy Minority Leader and Isiolo Senator Fatuma Dullo.

Leaders present

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Others present were National Assembly Deputy Majority Whip Maoka Maore, Deputy Majority Leader Jimmy Angwenyi and Jubilee parliamentary secretary Adan Keynan (Eldas MP).

The meeting that started in the early evening sought to convince Kangáta to publicly distance himself from the letter given that he was among the few leaders the president trusted in the bicameral House. 

After three hours of deliberations, the meeting is said to have ended without a firm commitment from the senator on the matter.

In the leaked letter to President Kenyatta dated December 30, 2020, the Murang’a senator said a survey conducted by his office had established that the BBI report was unpopular in the Mount Kenya region and indicated it was bound to fail.

“Based on a survey I conducted during the December 2020 holidays, I have concluded BBI is unpopular in Mt Kenya... Out of every 10 persons I surveyed, six oppose it, two support it, and two others are indifferent,” his letter read in part.

Sources at Tuesday’s meeting said after they failed to convince Kang’ata to reject his letter, some in the group proposed that the senator considers resigning from his position.

When sought for comment yesterday, Dullo admitted that they held a consultative House leadership meeting on Tuesday which Kang’ata attended.

She, however, said it was decided that he would neither be punished nor removed from his position.

“We met as the House leadership and Mr Kang’ata was present. We discussed his letter but we decided that we shall not remove him or punish him. It’s his discretion to resign or withdraw,” Dullo said. 

Dullo’s comments appear to tally with Tuju’s, who told journalists yesterday that Kang’ata would not be stripped of his position. Tuju was responding to a question on whether disciplinary action would be taken against the senator.

Kang’ata did not attend yesterday’s presser at Jubilee Party headquarters, but when reached for comment yesterday on the events of Tuesday night, he gave a brief response via text message.

“I am not resigning, I have not done anything wrong,” he said.

Yesterday, the senator was said to have held a meeting at a Kiambu hotel with some of his supporters. 

The meeting between him and five people among them Gatanga Member of County Assembly Nahashon Gachuhi and politician Githinji Mwangi was aimed at deliberating the aftermath of his now most talked about letter to the president.

Mr Gachuhi confirmed to The Standard that indeed they held the meeting, but could not divulge the details. 


BBI President Uhuru Kenyatta Irungu Kangáta Raphael Tuju
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