Seth Onyango, Anthony Mwangi and Dorcas Mbathia @PeopleDailyKe
A group of sitting and former legislators from the Mt Kenya region yesterday warned of what they called a plot to divide the region ahead of the 2022 election.
At the same time, they told Deputy President William Ruto not to expect automatic backing from the region for the presidency in 2022. The leaders also defended President Uhuru Kenyatta’s development record in the region.
Addressing a press conference at a Nairobi hotel, the politicians led by former Kenya National Congress Party leader and 2013 presidential candidate Peter Kenneth and Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua, said they would not sit back and watch as selfish politicians wreck the unity deal between President Uhuru and Opposition leader Raila Odinga.
The leaders vowed to defend Uhuru against those, they claimed, had been paid to malign the President’s name. In a TV interview yesterday morning, Karua accused the DP of throwing punches at the President using his political lieutenants.
“The DP cannot distance himself from his supporters. It should be in his best interest to ensure that the presidency is respected,” said Karua.
“Nobody is a presumptive president in 2022 and nobody is entitled,” she added in comments that were echoed by Nominated senator Isaac Mwaura.
“Our leader is Uhuru and there is no other leader that we know of. When the time comes, our region will negotiate for a president,” said Mwaura.
And even as the leaders — some of whom blamed Ruto for losing in last year’s election — came out to defend the President, the Jubilee Party secretariat downplayed fears that the issue had divided the party. Secretary general Raphael Tuju said the party was “united as ever and ready to move on with planned programmes”.
He said in the last few weeks, there has been robust political discourse perceived as both positive and negative within and outside Jubilee.
He, however, said the debate was “part and parcel of politics in a democratic society that protects freedom of speech and expression”.
Tuju said Jubilee is on course with “respect to its vision and mission for this country as summed up by the sentiments of its leader President Uhuru”.
But addressing the press earlier, Kenneth accused those criticising Uhuru’s development record in Central region of using decoys to undermine the President ’s efforts with Raila to unite the country and demanded that the President be respected. Karua said some leaders were out to scuttle the Building Bridges Initiative for personal political gain.
“It is our considered opinion that some unpatriotic politicians are bent on sabotaging this positive initiative for personal political gain. We will not allow it. We demand that leaders of goodwill adhere to the President’s directive on succession and first focus on development,” she said adding; “We are treading on very dangerous ground here. The President’s anger on those saying there was no development was only directed at leaders who have been misled.”
Others present included Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu, former Education assistant Minister Kilemi Mwiria, Mathira MP Peter Weru, Maina Kamanda (Nominated) and former Dagoretti South MP Dennis Waweru.
In a veiled attack on the DP, Senator Mwaura said some people have been paid to tarnish Uhuru’s name. “We know the owner of the dog. If you want the support of Mt Kenya, you will not succeed if you divide it,” said Mwaura. Waititu defended Uhuru’s development record and highlighted a number of projects initiated by the President.
“Mt Kenya is an organised society. We are very sober and we need to tell them to be very sober when speaking because everybody is looking at the facts on the ground. Some of them were apologising because they were drunk and that is why we are fighting alcoholism,” he said.
On New Year’s eve, Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria had accused Uhuru of ignoring the region and focusing on areas that had voted for the Opposition.
He later apologised but insisted that Mt Kenya deserved proportionate development. Mwaura questioned whether the so-called Team Tanga Tanga were launching promises or projects during their tour of the country and asserted there was no leadership vacuum in Central Kenya.
Meanwhile, Meru governor Kiraitu Murungi has warned politicians against dividing Jubilee, saying the move would kill the party’s original dream and developmental plans.
Kiraitu, who was unveiling his 2019 developmental projects, accused a section of politicians of trying to destroy Jubilee for their own selfish gain.
“We will not allow Jubilee to be destroyed by selfish political intrigues and parochialism,” said Kiraitu.
He added: “Let us come and reason together … we have to return Jubilee to our original dream so that it can be a powerful instrument for addressing emerging challenges and demands of our political environments.”
He called on Kenyans to ignore politicians who are going around claiming that the party is not stable, adding they should hold their horses till 2022.
“I was the chairman of Jubilee National Coordinating Committee which merged 13 political parties. We made many efforts and sacrifices to Kenyans irrespective of their tribes and religion which would be our platform for promoting peace, progress and prosperity in united Kenya it would be sad to see all these sacrifices and dreams to go up in smoke,” said Kiraitu.