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Regional kingpin talk gains momentum

By Mathew Ndungu
Tuesday, October 27th, 2020
President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga display copies of the report after its presentation by the Building Bridges Initiative at Kisii State Lodge. Photo/PSCU
In summary
    • Others seen as major contenders for the region’s kingpin post are governors Mwangi Wa Iria (Murang’a), Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga) and Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe.
    • Former Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri, his successor Peter Munya are all said to be fighting to control the region when Uhuru exits.

The launch of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report yesterday, offered a new platform for a political showdown among Mt Kenya politicians keen on succeeding President Uhuru Kenyatta,  when he exits office in 2022.

Among the leaders eyeing the influential region’s kingpin  position are former presidential contenders.

Political showdown

Former Minister for Cooperative Development Joe Nyagah who contested the top seat in 2017 and former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth, who also expressed interest to lead the country in 2013, are among politicians eyeing to succeed Uhuru for the region’s top leadership position.

Another politician is former long-serving Gichugu MP  Martha Karua. Karua; an advocate of the High Court and Narc Kenya party leader, contested the presidency in 2013.

With the launch of the BBI document yesterday, a major political showdown that could determine whether to pass or reject the proposals in the document, is expected in the region in coming days.

Already, a section of the aforementioned leaders have reacted to the implementation of the new proposals, with Karua having criticised plans to implement the document.

The former Minister of Justice and a consistent fighter for the protection of women’s rights and improvement of the democratic process, argues that the proposals in the document are a reflection of the 2010 Constitution, which she said the government had failed to implement.

“Fixing the electoral justice is about fixing the process and not creating additional seats. Forget BBI and instead implement the current Constitution,” she said.

On his side, Kenneth who is banking on his close relationship with Uhuru, has been supporting the document, that he has consistently argued would improve inclusivity and help in the fight against corruption.

“BBI is not just about the Executive, some are fighting it because it has proposals to help the country eradicate corruption.

In the BBI, corrupt government officers will not be cleared to run for any political office,” he said during the Mt Kenya BBI forum in Meru.

Laedership mantle

Kenneth has earned the support of some MPs in Nairobi and Murang’a counties to take up the Mt Kenya’s leadership mantle.

Nyagah, who served as MP for Gachoka constituency between 1997-2007 and later got an ODM nomination to Parliament between 2007-2013, has not reacted to the proposed reforms in the BBI report.

Speculation is rife that Nyagah is poised for bigger things owing to the endorsements he has received from churches in the region.

Already, a group of churches under the umbrella of United Fellowship of Christian Churches, has been quietly campaigning for him to take the baton from Uhuru as the region’s spokesperson.

Yesterday, Bible Truth Israel Church Bishop Johanna Ndirangu said they were waiting for Nyagah’s reaction to the document before stating their stand.

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