President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday told off politicians from his Central Kenya backyard, who have been accusing him of sidelining the region in development despite overwhelmingly voting for him in the last two general elections.
And he told the snipping legislators— most of them avowed deputy President William Ruto allies— that he is the President of Kenyans and angrily thundering; “Hao washenzi waniache (These fools should leave me alone)” before adding: “We have said development will not be done because a leader is from a certain region. We want all the 45 million Kenyans to benefit from development”.
At the same time, the President warned that he will not be blackmailed by those out to derail efforts by him and former Premier Raila Odinga to unite the country.
“Mimi sio mtu wa kutishika haraka haraka (I’m not easily shaken),” he said in reaction to Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, who had charged that Uhuru has neglected Central Kenya when it comes to development projects in preference to regions which did not support him.
Kuria had said that Uhuru has been unveiling projects elsewhere and ignoring Central, adding that Mt Kenya residents have a right to ask Jubilee leaders to implement projects they had promised during the poll campaigns last year.
Though he later apologised to the President, the MP has not recanted his claims that Central Kenya region has got a raw deal in terms of development, adding that the people of Mt Kenya must be told the truth ahead of the 2022 election so they can pick the right leaders.
Team Tanga Tanga
Besides Kuria, other Ruto allies who have publicly complained of what they term schemes to block their man from succeeding Uhuru in 2022 poll, include the Meru Senator Mithika Linturi, Susan Kihika (Nakuru Woman Rep), MPs Kimani Ngunjiri (Bahati), Benjamin Gathiru (Embakasi Central), Rigathi Gachagua (Mathira) and Kimani Ichungwa (Kikuyu) and Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu).
In July, after criticism for being a member of Team Tanga Tanga, a group of DP supporters, Nyoro retorted that: “They have approached me to go slow down but I’m focused and can’t be distracted, it’s Ruto in 2022”.
The leaders are uncomfortable with the handshake between Uhuru and Raila with some MPs accusing the latter of working to wreck Jubilee ahead of 2022.
And outspoken Bahati legislator Ngunjiri was acerbic in his criticism of Uhuru’s treatment of Ruto and asked him to resign if he is unable to govern the country.
“If Kenyatta is tired of leading this country he should immediately call for fresh elections so that we can end this political rumour-mongering,” he told the press on Sunday. Ngunjiri’s remarks followed the resignation of Jubilee Party vice chairperson David Murathe, who has vowed to block the DP from the 2022 poll.
Ichung’wa has vowed to stick with Ruto, saying Central has a debt to repay while Linturi accused Uhuru of turning his back on Ruto, pointing out that Uhuru had openly declared that he would support Ruto unconditionally.
“When we were hunting, Uhuru used to call Ruto my brother and promised him he will also help him once he serves his ten years as a president. But now things have changed, however, you cannot use someone as a bridge to cross the river and when you are done with him you let him go with the stormy waters,” said Ichung’wa.
Gachagua said Murathe’s sentiments were an acknowledgement that Ruto was the man to beat in the 2022 presidential race.
But speaking yesterday from Mombasa where he is on holiday, the President told off those he termed misguided leaders, who he said expects him to favour them because he comes from their region.
“We want a country that accommodates all Kenyans, and I will not stop moving around the country bringing growth and development. This politics of saying someone comes from such and such a place so development should be happening in that region should stop,” he said.
He was speaking at Mama Ngina drive during the groundbreaking ceremony for the Sh460 million project aimed at rehabilitating the waterfront into a modern tourist attraction centre.
“ The desire for leadership is fine, but it should not be more than the desire to solve citizens’ problems. No country can develop when leaders’ desire for power is what drives it,” he added.
But Kuria in a rejoinder to Uhuru maintained that more development projects need to be initiated in Mt Kenya region.
“The President is 100 per cent right. He is spot on. We need development in every corner of this country. It is in that spirit and in line with the President’s position that I believe Mt Kenya region also deserves development just like any other region. Right now it’s not happening,” Kuria wrote on his Facebook page.
Yesterday Uhuru issued a six-month ultimatum to the National Land Commission (NLC) and the ministry of lands to ensure two land parcels at the Mama Ngina waterfront are recovered.
Raila, who was celebrating his 74th birthday slammed politicians who feel the handshake was meant to lock out some leaders.
Raila said it was not the time for politics and dismissed claims that he had come to Jubilee to dislodge some people. “It’s not yet time for politics…give us a chance to develop the country, when the time comes people will descend onto the field but let’s keep off politics for now,” he added.
Raila also hit out at airport officials who abet corrupting by engaging in the unnecessary and intrusive inspection of tourists’ suitcases at the airports.