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Mt Kenya leaders seeking options as BBI bandwagon hits dead end

By Boniface Gikandi | August 29th 2021
Laikipia Governor Nderitu Muriithi (left), Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru and Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni address the press at Kambi Msitu in Laikipia County. [Kibata Kihu, Standard]

Mt Kenya leaders who supported the BBI process are scouting for alternatives to remain politically relevant as they wait for the outcome of the case at Supreme Court.

Those who had endorsed ODM leader Raila Odinga for the presidency have retreated and are working towards unifying the region.

A faction by Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru, Ndiritu Murithi (Laikipia), and Lee Kinyanjui (Nakuru) has been silent as they wait for proponents of the constitutional amendment process to proceed to the Supreme Court.

But those who have declared they will be presidential candidates - Deputy President William Ruto, ODM leader Raila Odinga, Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria, and National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi — continued working on their campaign strategies.

They have hosted delegations for consultations in various parts of the country as the BBI allies look for options.

“There is no turning back for me. I will go all the way to the ballot. As second term governor in Mt Kenya, I fully understand the underlying issues and I am ready to serve and unite our nine million voters,” said Iria.

He cites the construction of the milk value chain plant, the ICU unit with 35 beds, and a vibrant education scholarship with over 3,000 students in the national and provincials schools.

The governor, who will contest the presidency through his Usawa Kwa Wote party, said leaders in secret strategy meetings are only concerned about the presidential candidate they will support instead of consolidating their support in counties.

“The first term governors are in for a rude shock as they are busy looking for a presidential candidate who will favour the region socially and economically while in their home turf, they are facing strong opposition,” said Iria.

ODM leader Raila Odinga and his wife Ida receive a cow gift presented by Mt Kenya politicians. Governor Mwangi wa Iria, third-left.  July 27, 2021. [Ndungu Gachane, Standard]

But Mt Kenya youth leader Linford Mutembei said it was shocking that some leaders are too preoccupied in search of positions instead of uniting the region.

He said after the defeat of the BBI, the majority of leaders are working for amendments that do not require a referendum.

“There are clear indications that Raila will take control of Mt Kenya region from the deputy president,” said Mutembei adding that the region lost heavily in BBI defeat.

But Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata attacked proponents of the BBI, describing them as self-centred and unable to read the mood of the country.

“They appear selfish as they fear telling the head of state the truth, yet they have few options left if they wish to remain relevant,” said Kang’ata.

Murang’a political analyst Benjamin Mwangi said BBI was not a driving force for mountain people, as locals are interested in governance and a free market for their produce.

“Voters care less who rules as long as they have a conducive environment to do business,” said Mwangi.

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