Gachagua reaches out to Kioni, Karua over Limuru III meeting


Jubilee Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni and Narc Kenya Martha Karua at the Party Headquarters in Nairobi on September 26, 2023. [Samson wire, Standard]

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has extended an olive branch to Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua and Jubilee Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni, inviting them to table their wishes for the Limuru III meeting scheduled to take place on May 17.

The Deputy President said his door is open for candid discussion including issues that they feel are not going well, assuring that through him there was an avenue for Mt Kenya leaders to listen to each other.

“A good idea has room to become a better idea and a better idea must give room to the best idea. Instead of disturbing the Limuru people as they battle with flash floods the leaders are welcome to exchange ideas, they can be accompanied by the clergy if they wish,” Gachagua said on Sunday.

"If there are things for this region that do not go well I’m there and I mean well for this region and everybody knows where my heart is so I'm the best person to talk to let them come anytime and any day to tell me the areas we need to improve," he added.

At the same time, Gachagua said arranging such a meeting risked isolating Mt Kenya from the rest of the communities and beseeched the political class to desist from the move.

“I want to ask our leaders to be careful of isolating our community from the rest of Kenya, those who intend to plan for meetings should come and talk to me because I’m the senior-most political leader in this region. Even then, where and to whom will they take their deliberations to?" He posed.

The Limuru III meeting is being planned by Karua and Kioni and is backed by 13 small political parties from Mt Kenya region. Preparations for the event started two months ago with many boardroom meetings involving leaders of the small parties.

Kioni revealed that the meeting will discuss the unfolding political events in the country that affect the region socially, economically and politically and would come up with resolutions on the way forward.

He said the meeting would also review the region’s relationship with Azimio since Jubilee and Narc Kenya are affiliate members of the Opposition coalition.

“Although the Azimio coalition is intact, the Jubilee party and the other political parties reached a consensus that we shall have the meeting to discuss the economic and political way forward as a Mt Kenya region,” he said.

Asked whether they could discuss Raila’s bid to contest for the African Union Commission (AUC) chairmanship, Kioni said, "We may not dwell so much on his decision as we view it personal and a family decision but we will deliberate on how the move will affect Mt Kenya region and plan ourselves on how we shall manage ourselves.” 

Reacting to Gachagua’s extension of olive branch, the Jubilee Secretary General maintained that they would continue with preparations for Limuru III saying every leader (including Gachagua) who felt that things were going wrong were welcome to the meeting.

“We have found ourselves from one disaster to another and we are fearful that we have nothing left other than coming together to see how we can salvage ourselves. It is not about the seniority in government but an avenue to address the problem we are facing as a people from the mountain,” he said.

However, a section of Mt Kenya leaders led by National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichungwa are opposed to the meeting and have described it as an ‘ethnic bigotry.’

Ichungwa dismissed the meeting claiming that it was designed to propel the politics of ethnicity and personalities that he said ended with the 2022 elections

“Limuru III talk belongs to the past. Ethnic bigotry has no place in our nation's future. Let's bury ethnic divisive politics and build a united, inclusive nation,” he said.

The naming of Limuru III reasoned that in the past, two other meetings have been held in Limuru and major political announcements were made by the country’s founding father Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and former President Uhuru Kenyatta in 1966 and March 2012 respectively.

Mzee Kenyatta organised Limuru I and it is during the meeting that he came up with far-reaching political decisions that included reducing the influence of radicals within Kanu, whom Jaramogi Oginga Odinga led.

The Limuru II conference brought together leaders from the Gikuyu, Embu and Meru communities and it is there that Uhuru was handed the mantle of leadership to succeed former President Mwai Kibaki (late) as the region's leader.