MP Mwirigi downplays Uhuru’s car gift, says he was set to purchase his own
Igembe South MP John Paul Mwirigi made headlines in 2017 after winning an election as an independent candidate. The lawmaker is said to have campaigned for the parliamentary seat for months on a bicycle, beating the then Jubilee Party candidate Rufus Miriti.
After the election, President Uhuru Kenyatta opted to gift the promising politician a brand new Toyota Prado to help him commute while delivering services to his constituents.
The president's gift, however, has become a subject of scrutiny among the political class who believe that the lawmaker, who has declared his support for Deputy President William Ruto, should remain loyal to the Head of State.
On Saturday, for instance, the 28-year-old lawmaker found himself in a tight spot when Agriculture CS Peter Munya criticized him over what he referred to as ingratitude and disrespect for President Kenyatta despite his generosity. Munya took issue with Mwirigi's support for DP Ruto instead of ODM leader Raila Odinga, who is Uhuru's preferred presidential candidate.
“You don’t insult an elder who addresses you as his son and bought your first car out of love. You should reciprocate by supporting him and telling the people the good things he has done for them,” Munya told the MP.
Mwirigi declined to bow to Munya's demand noting that he did not owe allegiance to the president.
He claimed that the president's gift should not be used to compel him to toe his political lines. The first-term lawmaker further revealed that it is Ruto who prompted the president to buy him a car.
“The President’s gift was not supposed to influence my decisions as a leader. In any case, the Head of State bought the car after DP Ruto told him the best gift the presidency could give me was make my work easier by way of mobility,” he said.
He further noted that even if the president had not gifted him the vehicle, he could have still bought himself a car using the Ksh7million car grant given to parliamentarians.
He also accused CS Munya of trying to play politics with the gift President Uhuru gave him. He, therefore, asked the Cabinet Secretary to concentrate on service delivery to the people of Kenya.
“It is unfortunate for the CS to use the gift to try and intimidate me yet Uhuru himself has never indicated he wants it back. I respect the President, I appreciate his gift and I know how to thank him when he retires,” he added.