Kiambu County’s elected leaders may face severe consequences for defying President Uhuru Kenyatta’s call to stop early politics, in what the rest of the region sees as disrespect and an external-funded strategy to divert the region’s attention from development matters.
Leaders say they read malice in the defiance against the president, who doubles as the current political supremo for the region, undermining his reputation nationally. They say the dissidents are being used in a plot to weaken Uhuru’s home-base political influence ahead of 2022 elections.
Questions are also emerging about the amount of funding given to the dissidents, the source of the money, and preferential deals they may have benefitted from their sponsors; the political camp associated with Deputy President William Ruto.
And now, leaders have agreed to confront the dissidents head-on, starting with the disruption of a prayer meeting that was to be held in Kenol Town, Muranga County, with Ruto as the guest of honour and what the organisers said was an expected guest list of 100 members of parliament.
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Pro-Uhuru leaders have said the meeting will never be held despite officials saying it will in two weeks’ time.
Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi, Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia who chairs the Central Kenya Economic Block (CEKEB), a group of senior politicians led by nominated MP Maina Kamanda and senior civil servants are among those who have come out strongly to warn those defying the president.
Governor Kiraitu, a key influencer in Mt. Kenya East vote-bloc of Embu, Meru and Tharaka Nithi has condemned the mostly elected leaders led by Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu and relatively youthful MPs from Kiambu and Murang’a for directly opposing the president.
According to Kiraitu, by them defying the president directly, they are undermining the strength of the region’s political power.
“I want to send a message to Kiambu leaders, please do not bring us shame,” said the Meru Governor when he addressed religious leaders who had paid a courtesy call to him.
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“President Uhuru Kenyatta is our leader. In Mt. Kenya region, we do not have any other leader. We respect him the same way Raila Odinga is respected in Nyanza,” said Kiraitu.
“What Uhuru says, we do. We have agreed that we should go slow on politics. We should first deliver the promises we made to our people.
When the time comes, we have agreed that we shall all come together and see where the interests of our people will be best taken care of,” he added.
Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia, who chairs the Central Kenya Economic Block (CEKEB), has equally come out strongly to condemn Mt. Kenya politicians defying the president. Kimemia said central does not have room for petty politics “which hampers development” in vote-rich region.
“There has been too much talk that insinuates there is a vacuum. We are not ready for politics which will stall development,” said Kimemia.
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Kamanda called on those protesting to respect the directions given by the president, the leader of Mt. Kenya and stop giving an impression that there is another political authority to take directions from.
“Uhuru is the leader of Mt. Kenya region. And he will continue to be our leader even after 2022,” said Kamanda.
Earlier, Kamanda said all the dissenting voices will have their day come the next general elections. “If they do not stop what they are doing, their political careers will end. They know that.”
Other governors in the region, including Laikipia’s Ndiritu Muriithi, Embu’s Martin Wambora, Tharaka Nithi’s Muthomi Njuki and Muranga’s Mwangi wa Iria have taken a low profile in the face of heated politics, instead opting to concentrate on development issues.
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Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro, who has become the face of those directly dissenting against the president had said the Murang’a Meeting, framed as an inter-denominational prayer and launch of combined Sacco by churches would be attended by 100 MPs.
But it has emerged the meeting was political, fronted by Stephen Maina of the Full Time Winners Gospel Church.
Maina is allegedly a regular visitor to the Deputy President’s offices along Harambee Avenue in Nairobi.
His colleagues said the Sacco that was to be launched was his church’s affair and that the leadership of the Anglican and Catholic churches in Murang’a, which command the biggest congregation, was not supportive of the idea. Maina announced the interdenominational prayer will be held in two weeks’ time, but local leaders said they will not allow it as it will be used to disrespect the president.
Reacting to the cancellation of the meeting, Kamanda, who leads pro-Uhuru leaders in the region, commended ACK Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit for providing leadership to ensure the Church is not used to gain political objectives.
He also commended Murang’a Catholic Bishop James Maria Wainaina and ACK Diocese of Mt Kenya Central Timothy Gichere for disassociating with prayer rally.
“People have refused to be used to disrespect of president,” said Kamanda.
The question of unending high political temperatures in Mt. Kenya region and the fact that a section of elected leaders has openly defied Uhuru is now shifting focus to the magnitude of what may be prompting the dissidence.
Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu has emerged as the key Ruto point man championing his cause for Mt. Kenya vote. Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture Mwangi Kiunjuri has joined the bandwagon in routing for Ruto’s support. Others are relatively young politicians, mostly MPs including women representatives.
However, several leaders including senior civil servants from the region are now questioning what is driving these politicians to defy the president.
The key political rider for the protestors is that Mt. Kenya region needs to reciprocate for the support Ruto gave Uhuru, though however, Uhuru’s message has not been so much not to support Ruto but tone down on politics until the appropriate time.
The bigger concern is that those Mt. Kenya politicians who continue to politic are taking attention away from development issues in the region, economically sabotaging the very people that they fattening as voters in 2022.
This is happening as other regions are busy lobbying for development projects, taking advantage of the handshake between Uhuru and Raila, which ironically the protestors are using to justify highlighted political campaigns.
Kamanda, a seasoned politician, insists that bribery and corruption are among the main motivations forcing the dissidents to defy the president.
“Those speaking contrary to what President Uhuru Kenyatta has already directed us to do are on the side of corruption. They want to benefit financially,” he said.
“We know the deals they are pushing and the kind of protection they are seeking,” said Kamanda.
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President Uhuru KenyattaDP Wiliam RutoKiambu leaders2022 politics