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Kikuyu elders to support Raila Odinga’s quest for top seat

By Ndung’u Gachane | September 20th 2021

ODM leader Raila Odinga praying with Githurai traders and members of Kikuyu Council of Elders in Ruaka, Nairobi. January 14, 2020. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Kikuyu Council of Elders have endorsed ODM leader Raila Odinga paving way for his entry into the previously politically hilly vote-rich Mount Kenya region.

Raila’s allies and Kikuyu elders met in a colourful event that marked the culmination of a journey that begun in 2019 with where elders have had a series of back and forth meetings in Nairobi, Siaya, and Nyeri counties.

The elders from the two communities in what seems to be a political millage for Raila have welcomed each other to visit their respective regions in efforts to end the perception that there exists bad blood between the Kikuyu and the Luo people.

The joint agreement comes days before Raila makes his seventh trip to the region and visit Nyeri, Murang’a and Kiambu counties.

This year alone, Raila has visited Murang’a and Kiambu three times. Suna East MP Junet Mohamed said Raila will make forays in the region to engage with the people within the covid-19 protocols containment measures.

“Raila will visit the Mount Kenya region where he has lately received warm welcomes, his itinerary will be shared later,” said Junet. 

On Saturday, the elders accompanied by Raila’s elder brother Dr Oburu Odinga, Siaya Senator James Orengo, MPs Otiende Amollo (Rarieda) and TJ Kajwang (Ruaraka) among others joined the Kikuyu Council of elders where it was agreed that they will be the bridge between Raila and President Uhuru Kenyatta.

It was also agreed that the elders will play a crucial role in negotiating for their respective region’s interests. Orengo said this will ensure unity and peace between the two communities as the country approaches the General Election.

“The cultural leaders should be our bridge between Uhuru and Raila as opposed to the political class and the civil servants, they will be connecting us with the two leaders. We will climb the mountain and we invite the Kikuyus to fish in our region,” Orengo said.

He said that Mt Kenya leaders have every right to demand a share in the next government owing to their investment and fight for the independence of the country.

Oburu Odinga, James Orengo and Atiende Amollo at Lusoi Resort in Nyeri during the installation of Kikuyu patron-elder, Kinyua Wa Mwaniki. [Courtesy]

Oburu said a time has come for the Kikuyu community to understand the working relationship that existed between Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and the founding father Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and how Raila endorsed Kibaki for the presidency with the declaration of Kibaki ‘tosha’ in 2002 elections.

“My father said without Kenyatta there would be no freedom, my brother said Kibaki ‘tosha’, we would like the community to reciprocate while we promise we shall protect your businesses without suppression,” he said.

Leaders from Mt Kenya who included Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni, former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo, politician Kamau Mweha, deputy governors Caroline Karugu (Nyeri), Peter Ndambiri (Kirinyaga), and John Mwaniki (Laikipia) said the unity of the mountain was paramount for them to speak in one voice on succession politics.

“If we don’t plan ourselves, others will plan on our behalf and we shall find it rough in the next government. If we unite no one can form the next government without us, our unity is our strength,” Kabogo said.

But Karugu challenged the Kikuyu elders to unite all leaders regardless of their political affiliation saying “the reality is that there is too much hatred amongst leaders.”

“We are so many that we can’t sit and share a cup of tea due to hatred. The elders should genuinely put us together regardless of our factions,” she said.

Kioni urged the region to back a presidential aspirant who would guarantee the region the goodies in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

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