Uhuru breaks silence on Mt Kenya politics

President Uhuru Kenyatta addressing Kirinyaga locals at Thiba Dam. [Courtesy]

President Uhuru Kenyatta has waded into the debate on the direction Mt Kenya region should take on his preferred successor.

Uhuru has remained silent even as presidential hopefuls have been pitching tent in the region to win the over five million votes to raise their stakes in next year’s polls. His deputy William Ruto, ODM leader Raila Odinga and Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi have been the most visible of the aspirants.

A number of Mt Kenya top politicians have been forced to come together and appointed Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua to be their spokesperson as they outline their irredeemable minimum to any aspirant.

“But don’t give them the benefit of wanting to decide your political future. For that wait for my signal on where we should be heading to,” the president said yesterday when he made an impromptu visit to the ongoing Thiba Dam project in the company of Cabinet Secretaries Sicily Kariuki (Water) and Joe Mucheru (ICT) and PSs Paul Maringa (Infrastructure) and Charles Hinga (Housing).

He asked Mt Kenya residents and especially the youth to welcome any campaigners and take goodies offered, but not to be used by politicians for their selfish plots.

“Eat the money that will be given to you, but do not let a politician think for you,” Uhuru said at the site of the Sh19 billion dam that will expand the Mwea Irrigation Scheme and more than double rice production through enabling the cultivation of the two-season crop. The project is funded by the government and Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica).

The president also said he will be back for a dialogue with the youth on matters affecting the country.

“Today we are on a development tour, but I am coming back so that we can discuss issues affecting us as Kenyans,” the president added.

He promised to build a health centre at Thiba Dam to serve residents who have to travel far for medical care. He also promised relocation of Kiathi Primary School that is in the middle of the dam, with little disruption of learning.

MPs George Kariuki (Ndia), Kabinga Wachira (Mwea), Githinji Gichimu (Gichugu), Purity Ngirici (Kirinyaga Woman Rep), Peter Ndambiri (deputy governor) and County Assembly Speaker Anthony Gathumbi and MCAs were present.

Earlier, the president, who landed in Mt Kenya region ahead of the planned Mashujaa Day celebrations at Wang’uru Stadium in Mwea tomorrow, read the riot act to squabbling Kirinyaga leaders.

President Uhuru Kenyatta promised to build a health centre at Thiba Dam to serve residents. [Muriuki Mugo, Standard]

He landed at Sagana State Lodge at midday in a military chopper and was received by, among others, Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru, Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho, Central Regional Commissioner Wilfred Nyagwanga and Maringa, among others.

He proceeded into a closed-door meeting with a small group of Kirinyaga leaders at the State Lodge then left to tour a few projects, including Thiba Dam, where a contingent of General Service Unit officers was quickly mobilised to keep crowds at bay.

Insiders in the tense, but brief meeting, Uhuru was reportedly furious at the political infighting that has been witnessed in the run-up to the national celebrations.

One of the leaders in the meeting quoted the president as telling the leaders to desist from “petty quarrels”. “It is a national and not a Kirinyaga affair that is being held at Wang’uru Stadium,” Uhuru reportedly told the leaders, adding that it did not make sense for any leader to claim victory on such petty issues.

He urged the leaders to ensure the Mashujaa Celebrations were a success. The president urged local leaders to respect each other and accept that there was no vacancy yet on any position.

He spoke a day after Interior PS Karanja Kibicho dismissed Waiguru’s claim that she had been sidelined in the organising of the Mashujaa Day fete. The PS said the governor had received over 300 invitation cards and not the 150 she had told the media.

There have also been clashes between supporters of the governor and those of Ngirici over billboards in the area, which ended with the leaders agreeing to suspend the issue until after the Mashujaa Day celebrations.

While enumerating the multi-billion-shilling projects the government is implementing in the region, Uhuru also cautioned residents against falling for politics of deceit.