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Ruto has not asked me to be his running mate – Speaker Justin Muturi

POLITICS
By Betty Njeru | September 15th 2021
Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi. [George Njunge, Standard]

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi maintains he will be on the ballot as a presidential candidate in the 2022 General Election, and that he won’t accept a second fiddle role.

Muturi also denies being courted by Deputy President William Ruto’s side to take up the running mate position.

“I have not been approached by anyone to be their running mate,” he said during an interview on Standard Group-owned radio station, Spice FM.

Pointers are that that DP Ruto is considering Muturi, Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, Mathira lawmaker Rigathi Gachagua and former Laikipia East MP Mwangi Kiunjuri for the running mate slot in 2022.

Despite being linked to Ruto, Muturi insists that he is his own man.

The Speaker says he will announce in due course the political party he will use to run for the presidency.

“Right now, I am focused on what I would want to do for the country. I am not concentrating so much on what other people want,” he said.

In May, Muturi split opinion in Mt. Kenya after he was coroneted as the spokesperson of the region, with a section of politicians from Central Kenya denouncing him as “selfish”.

“To be a spokesperson of a region or community is not a bad thing,” Muturi said in the Wednesday interview, observing that his role was to ensure “certain issues facing the Mt. Kenya people are promptly addressed ahead of 2022”.

Asked to review the Jubilee Government’s performance, Muturi said economic waste and governance challenges have marred President Uhuru Kenyatta’s legacy.

“We must address governance issues,” he said, adding: “This country would be burying its head in the sand by not acknowledging that we’re in [economic] trouble.”

The Speaker said radical changes are needed from the Executive, all the way down if Kenya was to promptly return to economic comfort.

“Kenya has good laws. The challenge lies in their implementation.”

The Speaker denied that the Legislature has been taken captive by the Executive, saying most laws passed or debated in Parliament have been fully initiated by MPs.

Muturi, however, urged lawmakers to jealously protect the Legislature’s independence from external aggression.

The former Siakago MP said after he was elected the Speaker of the National Assembly in 2013, he asked all political parties in the House to be meeting weekly for housekeeping purposes, just as it happens in other developed democracies.

“Parliament does not work in isolation. Even the governing parties have a mandate to govern. It is their business to call their members and inform them what they want to do. It is during those caucuses that they need to develop party positions, but they didn’t take advantage of the opportunity I offered them,” he said.

Justin Muturi, 55, is no stranger to politics. He is an insider in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s circles, dating back from their days in the former ruling party, KANU, but now wants to cut his own niche in national politics.

He is the seventh Speaker of the National Assembly of Kenya.

Muturi is the first Speaker to serve following the re-establishment of a bicameral Parliament after the 2010 Constitution was endorsed.

On March 28, 2013, Muturi won the Speaker post after a second round of voting by Members of the National Assembly, beating former Speaker Kenneth Marende by a 219–129 margin.

Muturi was first elected to Parliament on a KANU ticket in a by-election in 1999. He was chosen to represent Siakago Constituency, now known as Mbeere North Constituency.

He won re-election in the 2002 General Election and served as opposition chief whip and chairperson of the Public Investment Committee (PIC) during the 10th Parliament. He sought re-election in 2007 but was defeated by Lenny Kivuti.

In 2013, Muturi ran for the Mbeere North parliamentary seat as a member of the then-The National Alliance (TNA) party, but lost to Muriuki Njagagua.

Muturi served as a member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Constitutional Review from 1999 to 2004.

He was elected KANU National Organising Secretary in November 2008, and was the PNU Constitution Committee chairperson during the National Constitutional Talks from 2008–2010.

In April 2011, he was appointed the chairperson of the Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD), a civil society group that deals with democracy issues in multi-party politics.

Muturi was formerly a judiciary employee and served as a principal magistrate. He retired from the Judicial Service in 1997.

He also served as the chairperson of the Judges and Magistrates Association during the time.

He was a member of the Africa Parliamentarians Network Against Corruption, Global Organisation of Parliamentarians Against Corruption and the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank.

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