The road to Sagana 3

President Uhuru Kenyatta at a past meeting with delegates from Mt Kenya Region at Sagana State Lodge in Nyeri. [Kibata Kihu, Standard]

The much-awaited Sagana 3 meeting is expected to commence any time now.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who will chair the meeting, is expected to arrive at the Sagana State Lodge in Nyeri County from 10 am.

Uhuru will be meeting clerics, young people, and community leaders to cart out his preferred political direction of the Mt Kenya region ahead of the August 9 polls.

He will address about 5,000 delegates, including governors, cabinet secretaries, legislators, and MCAs allied to the Raila Odinga-led Azimio la Umoja movement.

The movement is seen as morphing into a joint political vehicle through the ODM-Jubilee party axis will field candidates in the 2022 election.

Key among the issues expected to emerge out of the two-day meeting include coming up with a political declaration of the Mt Kenya region and his endorsement of ODM chief Raila Odinga as his preferred successor.

The President has also hinted at spilling the beans on his fall-out with his deputy president William Ruto. Uhuru has openly campaigned against his deputy. And, the deputy has openly defied his boss.

The meeting, that has now come to be known as Sagana 3 is already causing political jitters within the region, more from leaders opposed to Uhuru’s presidency.

The Standard has learnt that as of last evening, Ruto’s allies from the mountain had not received invitations to the meeting, with some terming it an exercise in futility.

Uhuru’s stance will now become clearer, with about 167 days left to the general election.

The Head of State usually hosts such meetings at the Sagana State Lodge when he wants to communicate to his supporters in the region, or when faced with a political crisis.

The region has been seen as growing weary of being left without a political kingpin when he retires in August.

Sagana 2

It is the third of such meetings, the second being in January 2021, when Uhuru visited the vote-rich region to popularise the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

The Head of State met and convinced ward representatives to back the bill, which needed support from 24 county assemblies to sail through.

Political experts said his campaign was successful as counties from the Mt Kenya region unanimously voted in its favour.

The BBI however flopped when it was declared null and void at the High Court. The proponents appealed the decision at the Court of Appeal and later the Supreme court.

The matter awaits ruling from Supreme court judges led by Chief Justice Martha Koome.

At the same time Uhuru was meeting MCAs at Sagana, his deputy Ruto was on a charm offensive to oppose the BBI, in neighbouring Murang’a County.

Ruto has made in-roads in Mt Kenya, winning over a number of legislators and MCAs to his United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party. 

This development has portrayed the president as a man who is not in full control of politics in his backyard and the deputy as a hero who has managed to whittle the clout of his boss.

It is this political gain that the president's long-expected counterstrike is supposed to reverse by stamping his authority on the mountain.

And, it will not come easy. The region's critics of the president, notably Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagwa, have been trying to forestal Uhuru's expected punch by trotting out a list of rhetorical but unflattering questions that the region presumably expects the president to answer. 

Most of the questions touch on the economy of the region.

On the other hand, Kenyans are eagerly waiting for the president to tell them how and why he parted ways with number two. A week ago the president hinted at what happened when he said his number rejected his advice to drop premature political campaigns so that the duo could deliver on their 2017 campaign promises.

Ruto has, however, insisted that they were on the right track until Uhuru's March 9, 2018 rapprochement with Raila Odinga better known as the Handshake.