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Leaders in fresh push to avert Mount Kenya vote split

By Chris Thairu | August 13th 2021
Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, NARC Kenya leader Martha Karua & Service Party of Kenya leader Mwangi Kiujuri at a press briefing [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Some Mt Kenya leaders are pushing for inclusive talks to avert divisions and split of votes in President Uhuru Kenyatta's backyard.

Yesterday, three party leaders said they had initiated reconciliation towards a united front ahead of 2022, as aspirants make inroads in the region.

This comes on the backdrop of a clash between Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria and Tangatanga MPs from Mt Kenya after he skipped a parliamentary group meeting convened by Deputy President William Ruto in Nairobi last week.

Narc-Kenya party leader Martha Karua, The Service Party of Kenya leader and former Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri and Mr Kuria of Chama Cha Kazi met at a city hotel and resolved to whip other Mt Kenya leaders into one political caucus ahead of the General Election.

“We have given ourselves three months to consolidate the Mt Kenya vote into one basket before we agree and sit at a round table with other leaders from different regions whom we share a common goal and manifesto,” said Karua.

The three party leaders resolved to hold a 'Limuru three' meeting where politicians, church leaders, elders and opinion shapers from the vote-rich region will chart out the way forward.

However, they maintained they had no intention of dissolving their parties to form one vehicle as was the case with the ruling Jubilee Party in 2017.

NARC Kenya party leader Martha Karua [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Instead, the leaders announced their intention to form a coalition of parties to push the region's interests.

On the issue of a preferred presidential candidate, Kiunjuri said: “We are not here to discuss UDA, Ruto, ODM and Raila or even the other presidential contenders. Our aim is to first unite our people before initiating talks with leaders from other regions.”

Kuria said he ditched the People’s Empowerment Party after he differed with officials, and calls by the DP seeking dissolution of the party to join UDA.

Kieni MP Kanini Kega welcomed plans to unite Mt Kenya leaders. “This is what we have been saying all along that the mountain cannot be divided. We must unite and nothing stops us from fronting a presidential candidate come next year’s election,” he said.

“Uhuru still remains our defacto leader as agreed during the 'Limuru two' meeting,” he added. The bad blood between the president and his deputy, some observers say, might have split Mt Kenya leaders.

The leaders' calls for unity come at a time National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has declared his presidential bid. Murang'a Governor Mwangi wa Iria has also declared his presidential bid under his Usawa Kwa Wote party.

With an estimated 8.6 million registered voters, presidential contenders are leaving nothing chance to woo Mt Kenya. Already, Ruto and Raila are engaging youth and businessmen from the region.

Raila yesterday visited the home of late billionaire Nginyo Kariuki in Kiambu where he met more than 50 businessmen. He was accompanied by Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, Siaya Senator James Orengo, Kenya National Congress leader Peter Kenneth and EALA legislator Oburu Oginga.

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