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Ruto or Raila? Mwangi Kiunjuri’s gamble over 2022 candidate

By Winfrey Owino | October 17th 2021

Mwangi Kiunjuri, once a staunch supporter of DP Ruto, was ousted from the cabinet in 2020. [File, Standard]

The Service Party (TSP) leader Mwangi Kiunjuri says any presidential candidate seeking support from the Mount Kenya region should have a constitutional review in their first 100 days in office, as part of their agenda.

The former Agriculture Cabinet Secretary’s sentiments come months after he claimed to be the best suited for Ruto’s running mate position in next year’s polls.

Speaking at a burial ceremony in Siakago village of Mbeere North, Embu County, the former CS stated that the region was after equal representation as was contained in the Constitution Amendment Bill 2020.

“They don’t tell us the benefits of the BBI as Mount Kenya region. They lie to us that it is people creating positions for themselves. They can remove the creation of extra seats and leave the One Man, One Shilling, One Vote concept,” he said.

According to Kiunjuri, a constitutional review would give the region an opportunity to enjoy equal representation and equitable distribution of resources from the National Government.

This is contrary to the narrative he was peddling barely two years ago, when he cautioned the electorate over the BBI, long before its content was shared with the public.

“Our region has suffered historical challenges because of our high population and minimal representation all because the head of state came from our region. Let no one lie that they are the kingpins of this region,” he told the mourners.

Then went on “We will vote in the candidate who will solve our problems like water shortage, under-representation among others. Assure us equality of votes.”

ODM leader Raila Odinga, who has not publicly declared his interest in the country’s top job, has been championing constitutional reforms.

Recently, he has been assuring the electorate that despite the courts putting a halt on the proposals, he has insisted that the BBI will go on.

He once said, “Due to time constraints, we have now decided to put the process on hold to allow Kenyans time to exhaustively debate on it,”

Unpredictable Kiunjuri, once a member of the ‘hustler nation’, has since shifted allegiance to support the proposed constitutional reforms weeks after uniting with other political leaders from the region.

“The kingpin will be shown by the numbers. Ruto will look from all the regions, those seeking to be his running mate and make an informed decision,” he once said as he eyed to deputise Ruto in next year’s election.

He would then form his TSP after an alleged fallout in the ‘hustler nation’ and unite with other Mount Kenya leaders (Martha Karua and Moses Kuria).

Early 2020, the vocal politician lost his Cabinet position after President Uhuru Kenyatta reshuffled the cabinet and was replaced by former Meru Governor Peter Munya.

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