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Uhuru angered by Central Kenya leaders betrayal

By , People Daily Digital
Monday, September 27th, 2021 00:00 | 5 mins read
President Uhuru Kenyatta presides over the Presidential and Regimental Colour Presentation Ceremony at Kenya Navy Base Manda Bay in Lamu County last week. Photo/PD/Ndegwa Gathungu

President Uhuru Kenyatta has given up on leaders from Mt Kenya region for what he sees as betrayal after the collapse of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

Allies of the President who have had a close interaction with him in recent weeks say the Head of State seems to have abandoned his earlier quest to “leave the region in safe hands” and instead decided to leave its fate in the people’s hands.

From their campaigns against the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) to their support for Deputy President William Ruto, whom the President considers to have invaded his backyard, Uhuru now thinks the leaders from the region have not only betrayed but also abandoned him.

“He feels betrayed and frustrated by the very people he believes he wanted to assist by preparing a better future for,” Nyeri town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu told People Daily.

Wambugu, revealed that Uhuru was still unhappy with the BBI outcome and the people who felled it. The lawmaker says leaders from Mt Kenya have become the face of defiance and rebellion against the President.

“We were with the President somewhere and he said that he finds it hard to forgive some people because the route that they took us through (lead to the fall of BBI), since he cannot go to that length of bringing together Raila Odinga, Musalia Mudavadi, Kalonzo Musyoka, Moses Wetangula and Gideon Moi on the table, then the person who is supposed to be his assistant, with the backing of Moses (Kuria) and other leaders from our region decided to fight the proposals,” the MP said.

BBI fall

The President is also said to have decided to go slow on talks he had initiated with opposition leaders.

Multiple interviews with the allies painted a picture of an unhappy man, who has become “very disinterested” with the politics of his backyard and is focusing on his development agenda and his legacy.

He is also said to be dismissive of the ongoing unity talks initiated by Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua, The Service Party (TPS) leader Mwangi Kiunjuri and Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria seeking to reinvent some of the gains the region is believed to have lost with the fall of the BBI such as increased revenue and more constituencies.

Uhuru’s allies say that while the President has said all leaders were free to discuss and shape the destiny of the region, he is not willing to engage them.

He has, however, taken a position that before he leaves office, he will tour his backyard to inform the people of the good things he had prepared for them through BBI, how they were lost and who was responsible.

“The boss’s focus is more on development and building his legacy. Ukienda kumwambia hiyo mambo ya siasa ya mlima, mtakosana (if you try to talk to him about Mt Kenya politics, it will not end well),” a source disclosed to People Daily.

“In fact, he does not have any preferred choice and he told the leaders, particularly those seeking to succeed him as the region’s kingpin, to first win the support of the people,” the source added.

Revenue allocation

Yesterday, Kieni MP Kanini Kega, who is one of the President’s close associates and who has attended the unity talks by Kiunjuri, Karua and Kuria, claimed the talks were collapsing and that he had parted ways with the trio because, while he initially thought they were genuine “we never knew there were cards under the table.”

While the initial talks at Serena Hotel were attended by Uhuru’s supporters among them Kega, Wambugu (Nyeri Town), Sabina Chege (Murang’a Woman Rep) and Peter Kenneth, the leaders, other than Jude Njomo of Kiambu Town, skipped the Naivasha meeting where Karua was endorsed as the spokesperson, sparking outrage from the President’s backers.

To the President’s camp, the leaders are not genuine in projecting themselves as the rescuers of the community on matters of unfair representation and revenue allocation, because they opposed the Constitution Amendment Bill that would have addressed the issues.

“BBI had captured all the issues they are now advocating for, and so we read mischief and hypocrisy.

We feel they are not genuine because if they had been, they would have supported BBI.

Karua and Kuria were very much against it. How can they claim to advance the interests of Mt Kenya yet they were against our efforts to push for what was rightfully ours? That is the reason we parted ways with them,” Kega said.

The President is also said to feel that the leaders betrayed the community by fighting the BBI, which would have seen the region gain.

“The President feels that while the leaders are free and have the right to push for the interests of the community as they are claiming, he is wondering how he will be supporting them in their cause yet they are the same people who opposed his initiative of BBI, which would have seen the things they are talking about enshrined in the Constitution,” Kega said.

Nominated MP Maina Kamanda said the President is disappointed with Mt Kenya region leaders.

The MP said elected leaders got support from the President and in return promised to be his soldiers in Parliament and support his government.

Speaking from Accra, Ghana, Kamanda said instead of supporting the Head of State, the leaders were the first to undermine his fight against corruption, claiming it was political.

“It is good that we now know their tricks and double speak. It is very unfortunate that the same people who opposed the BBI are now shouting loudly about the same issues that they campaigned against and even went to court to completely kill them,” Kamanda said.

On Thursday, the Kieleweke team met in Nairobi where they continued with the unity talks.

Those present included National Assembly Leader of Majority Amos Kimunya, Kega, Wambugu, Jeremiah Kioni (Ndaragwa), Peter Mwathi (Limuru), Njomo (Kiambaa), Wanjiku Kibe (Gatundu North), Nduati Ngugi (Gatanga), Mary wa Maua (Maragwa) and Mercy Gakunya (Kasarani).

Mt Kenya region was set to be the biggest beneficiary of BBI through an allocation of an extra Sh53 billion annually, nearly 30 additional constituencies and the seven existing constituencies, which do not meet the IEBC population threshold, were to be protected.

Some of the demands the Karua team is making include 40 per cent share of positions in the government and position of deputy president from whoever they would back in the 2022 presidential contest.

Sources say that during meetings with leaders allied to him at State House, Uhuru appeared to have almost given up on showing the region political direction.

Being wise

Macharia Munene, a professor of History and International Relations at the United States International University (USIU) said like any other politician, Uhuru was bound to get unhappy with the fall of BBI, which he believed would have great benefits for the region, adding that some of the leaders from the region led in fighting it may have added insult to injury.

“The President, as a politician, may have felt disgruntled by the outcome of the BBI. Being his brainchild, of course he isn’t happy that it died.

There are things that he thought would be very beneficial to the region but they are now gone. He might be frustrated, because the fall of BBI dented his political image,” Munene said.

According to Munene, Uhuru may have decided to avoid being seen to be influencing his succession and instead let the people decide as he concentrates on his legacy.

“By letting the leaders angling for the Mt Kenya kingpin position to fight on their own, the President is being wise.

Maybe this is the way he wanted things to go, but there is a level that you cannot force people,” he added.

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