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Conveners disagree on endorsing Raila, cancel Mount Kenya Foundation luncheon

By , People Daily Digital
Tuesday, September 21st, 2021 11:10 | 3 mins read
ODM leader Raila Odinga.PHOTO/COURTESY.

Mt Kenya Foundation luncheon that was supposed to be held at Safari Park hotel next week has been cancelled at the last minute after some officials allegedly differed on whether they should endorse ODM leader Raila Odinga for the presidency in the upcoming 2022 general elections.

The notice of its cancellation was sent to members yesterday evening on what was termed as to pave way for proper consultation, but People Daily Digital has established that the bone of contention is the endorsement conversation.

The meeting was supposed to bring together political heavyweights from President Uhuru Kenyatta's Mt Kenya backyard to discuss the region's unity ahead of the 2022 general elections, and this writer has discovered that things changed when members realized that Raila was to be the chief guest.

"Some of the conveners were not comfortable with Raila (Odinga) being the Chief Guest. They were also not sure if that was the right time to endorse him for the presidency. Some members wanted to have president Uhuru as the chief guest," the source told People Daily Digital.

The invite had stated that all stakeholders’ contributions would be highly appreciated.

“We cordially invite you to a luncheon hosted by Mount Kenya Foundation at the Safari Park Hotel on Tuesday, September 28th starting 12noon,” the invite read before it was cancelled.

A reliable source has hinted to this writer that the decision to cancel the event has also been propelled by the fact that the scheduled meeting had been leaked to the media.

Last month, Meru governor Kiraitu Murungi and Lapsset Board chairman Titus Ibui who is also vice-chairman of Mount Kenya Foundation led a powerful group of Meru leaders, the business community, and professionals to declare support for the opposition chief in his quest to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta next year.

Ibui is allegedly accused by a section of the leaders of trying to impose Raila Odinga as the successor of Uhuru Kenyatta.

Reports over cracks in the agenda and fears of infiltration by opponents forced organizers to cancel the meeting.

Elected leaders from the region, including governors, senators, and MPs, had been invited to the all-important meeting to craft the region's 2022 plans.

"The meeting was supposed to be about the region's 2022 agenda and priorities, not giving some political declarations. “the source said.

The Mt Kenya Foundation was formed at the height of the 2007 post-election violence.

The group comprises mainly of tycoons who hail from Central Kenya and has been crucial in pushing the Jubilee agenda in the region.

On January 19, Kenyatta met the group of wealthy politicians at the Thika Greens Golf resort in Murang’a County where they held a closed-door meeting.

ODM leader Raila Odinga has escalated his forays into the vote-rich Mt Kenya, securing the crucial endorsement of key Meru leaders and business tycoons.

In a first-of-a-kind meeting on September 2, 2021, Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi switched his support from National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi to the former Prime Minister.

The Luncheon to endorse Raila Odinga was held at Safari Park hotel and was attended by key leaders from Mount Kenya East.

Kiraitu described Raila as a focused, strategic, realistic leader and a man of sacrifice.

“The Raila I know is a strategist. The Raila I know is a man of ideas. He knows more history than historians although he is an engineer. The Raila I know is a man of energy, focus, and determination,” Kiraitu said.

Mount Kenya Foundation officials include Equity Bank tycoon Peter Munga and Wilfred Murungi, who is the owner of Mastermind Tobacco Kenya (MTK).

Others members include Michael Waweru, who is the former Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) boss and Mutuma Nkanata who is the coordinator of the group.