UDA leaders split over calls for Mt Kenya party

UDA leaders split over calls for Mt Kenya party

A UDA senator’s revelation that it was a major political miscalculation for Mt Kenya to join Kenya Kwanza Alliance without a party that carries the region’s aspirations has divided leaders.  

Speaking during a breakfast show on Kameme FM on Monday, Nyeri Senator Wahome Wamatinga said had Mt Kenya joined the Kenya Kwanza Alliance through their regional party, it would have given them better bargaining power as opposed to belonging to UDA.  

“In 2013, two political parties that formed the government were from Mt Kenya and the Rift Valley communities while in 2017 the two communities joined Jubilee party and the formation was informed by tough negotiations on what each party could get after forming government,” Wamatinga said.  

He argued that if the Kenya Kwanza government could be reconstituted, it would work better for Mt Kenya region if it will have its own political vehicle to give it a bigger say.  

“We need to go back to evaluate and ask ourselves serious questions about our political future like the status of development. We may not complain on the appointment of our people in government but we must probe the strength of the appointments,” he said. 

The senator said the region needed more bargaining power to push for implementation of policy proposals within government. He maintained that such can only work if the community has its political party. 

“Recently the Cabinet endorsed a bid to write off Sh117 billion that sugar millers owe the State as tax arrears and penalties while in Mt Kenya region we only received Sh6 billion for the coffee sub-sector. We need to unite and demand a total of Sh16 billion for the coffee revolving fund because we are all in government,” he said.

While supporting Wamatinga’s remarks, Jubilee nominated MP and former Murang’a Woman Representative Sabina Chege implored Mt Kenya leaders to consider joining the Jubilee party. 

Ms Chege said the region ought to learn from Maendeleo Chap Chap, Pamoja African Alliance, Amani National Congress and Ford Kenya that propelled to office Tourism Cabinet Secretary Afred Mutua, Senate Speaker Amason Kingi, Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi and National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula respectively.  

“The leaders who happen to be the party leaders had their pre-election pact which they signed and deposited to the Registrar of Political Parties before elections. The parties have a voice in the Kenya Kwanza administration,” she said.  

She, however, advised leaders to give time to the President William Ruto-led administration to implement its policies.  

Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga in an interview with The Standard on phone maintained that the region’s 47 per cent votes in favour of the Kenya Kwanza administration must be reflected in development projects.  

“The budgetary allocation in Nyeri should reflect how we voted for the government. However, we have not seen the government initiating projects in Kiambu or Murang’a and leaving Nyeri out,” he said.  

Githunguri MP Gathoni Wamuchomba claimed that the region lacked a voice in the Kenya Kwanza administration and she was happy “the likes of Wamatinga have seen the light.”

“The reason why we feel uncomfortable in this administration includes the decision to replace the Secretary General of the UDA party. At the beginning we were involved in having an SG from our region but in her (former SG Veronica Maina) replacement, we were not involved,” she said. 

However, UDA Secretary for Legal Affairs and Gatanga MP Edward Muriu dismissed the proposal to form a regional party saying that Mt Kenya had a huge say in the ruling party.

He noted the region has UDA Secretary for Legal Affairs post and that of deputy party leader Rigathi Gachagua. “This is our house and we are the ones in the trappings of power. You can’t build your house with huge resources then you start destroying it, it does not make sense,” he told The Standard. 

Nyeri Woman Representative Rahab Mukami reminisced how they tried to wrestle the Jubilee party from former President Uhuru Kenyatta who mounted roadblocks including using police officers, leaving them with no alternative but to join UDA.