Linturi’s entry into Meru governor race complicates Kiraitu chances
Meru Senator Mithika Linturi's entry to the hotly contested Meru gubernatorial race is expected to give Governor Kiraitu Murungi sleepless nights as tribal politics take shape in the region.
Even after announcing that he is stress-free and peacefully waiting to recapture his seat after Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya opted to step out of the race, the new political pressure may force the veteran politician to go back to the drawing board ahead of the August polls.
Announcing his candidature at Maili Tatu in Igembe South where he addressed a mammoth crowd last week, Linturi who was endorsed by eight Members of Parliament from the region, is expected to give Kiraitu a hard time in his bid to win a second term.
According to reliable sources, the United Democratic Party (UDA) led by Deputy President William Ruto decided to field a candidate after Kiraitu who has been a long-term friend and supporter of the DP changed tune and instead supported Azimio la Umoja Alliance led by Raila Odinga.
Sources said the recent political U-turn by Kiraitu to support the former Prime Minister did not settle well with Ruto who has decided to support a strong candidate to oust Kiraitu whom he openly accused of selling the region to Azimio.
Further, it was reviewed that there has been numerous efforts from political bigwigs and elders to woo Kiraitu to join the Kenya Kwanza Alliance after he launched his new Devolutions Empowerment Party (DEP) that is aimed at increasing the political bargaining power of the region.
The new political twist came in after governor Kiraitu recently celebrated and bragged that he will win this election without much stress after Munya who was his strongest threat opted to step out of the race.
Kiraitu was quoted saying he was a happy and stress-free man after Munya's exit promising to win against women Rep Kawira Mwangaza without investing much in his campaign.
"I am happy and a stress-free man I had planned to use every penny I have just to win against Munya but now I want to tell my small brother (Munya) thank you and I promise to support him in the national politics and for Kawira I tell to prepare to get home early because I have never lost an election and will not lose this as well," Kiraitu said.
However, Linturi's entry to the hotly contested race has welcomed tribal politics with the Igembe region now demanding for the governor's seat after their Tigania and Imenti counterparts led the office in the past two terms.
In the first term, Munya who comes from the Tigania sub-tribe became the first governor before he was ousted by Kiraitu who comes from the Imenti sub-tribe.
"This time, it is for Igembe to lead. We cannot always keep on supporting others to take over the top county office. There has always been an MoU that every sub-tribe should be given one term to lead and actually this time is our time and we are going to vote as a block for Linturi who comes from Igembe," Igembe Central MP Kubai Kiringo said.
Linturi said he has been oiling up for the seat to oust Kiraitu whom he accused of poor service delivery and corruption in his government .
"I am telling Kiraitu that stress is back now. I will give him a hard time more than Munya could have because now is our time as Igembe people to lead," Linturi said.