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Unite or get locked out of next government, Central leaders told

By and , People Daily Digital
Friday, October 15th, 2021 00:00 | 3 mins read
Governor Francis Kimemia. Photo/File

Pressure is mounting on Mt Kenya leaders to unite and face the 2022 General Election as a team to strengthen the region’s bargaining power in the next government.

Unity proponents argue that the region would be more successful, under one umbrella than as fragmented parties, when bargaining with candidates seeking the support of close to eight million voters in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s backyard 

Senate Majority Whip Kimani Wamatangi yesterday said considering that Mt Kenya is unlikely to have a strong presidential candidate in next year’s election, leaders must unite and push for the region’s interests in the next government.

Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia also called on the region to rally behind one candidate to ensure they are part of the next government. “We cannot afford to be out of the government.

Whatever it takes, we must be in the next government not like the 24 years when we suffered and yet we gave out our all,” he said, in reference to the 24 years of President Moi’s rule.

Senator Wamatangi (Kiambu) asked the region’s leaders to put selfish political ambitions aside and agree to forge a common front by among other things, drafting long-term agenda and formulating execution plans before negotiating with any presidential candidate.

Jubilee negotiations

According to him, while Deputy President William Ruto, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Amani National Congress boss Musalia Mudavadi and Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka are free to seek support in the region, it is the responsibility of local leaders to put forward the electorate’s demands in a structured manner and support the candidate who genuinely demonstrates willingness in delivering them.

He likened the current situation to 2012 when Uhuru’s The National Alliance (TNA) and Ruto’s United Republican Party (URP) used their unity to negotiate the power-sharing in the Jubilee government, warning that had any of the sides approached the talks divided, they would have lost.

“I was among the leaders who participated in the negotiations that formed the Jubilee coalition.

As a region, we first sat and agreed on our demands. URP leaders also came to the table with their demands and because they were united, they successfully negotiated for the share of a government they believed would serve their interests.

Today, we have two options, either uniting or landing the region in future problems,” Wamatangi told People Daily.

He added: “We have seen some leaders saying they are negotiating on our behalf.

But all leaders, irrespective of their political affiliation, should first sit down and invite stakeholders so that we draft social and economic demands.”

The region, he said, would support the leader who accepts their demands.

Kimemia, who was speaking in Ndaragwa constituency on Wednesday when he hosted a luncheon for the newly Nominated Senator Isaac Ngugi, also called on residents to vote for a candidate who has their interests at heart.

Ngugi, who was nominated by Jubilee Party to replace Senator Victor Prengei who died in a road accident two months ago, said it would be bad for people from the region not to be represented in the next government.

“I urge our people to know that it will be extremely painful to be out of government. The counties that have not worked with the national government are very far in development,” said Ngugi.

There is a growing consensus among some Mt Kenya lea ders for a conference dubbed “Limuru Three” to chart the way forward for the region.

But cracks have emerged, with some leaders, among them Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi, saying such a meeting would be unnecessary.

Groups galore

Currently, different groups are separately holding talks about Mt Kenya unity and crafting what they say are demands on presidential candidates on behalf of the region.

One group brings together Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua, The Service Party leader Mwangi Kiunjuri and Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria under Mount Kenya Unity Forum. 

Another group, the Mt Kenya Parliamentary Focus Group, consists of, among others, Kieni’s Kanini Kega and Murang’a Woman Rep Sabina Chege.

Governors led by Laikipia’s Ndiritu Muriithi have also been holding talks while a group of wealthy businessmen from the region, under the auspices of the Mount Kenya Foundation, has been “vetting” presidential candidates.

Then there is the Ruto-allied legislators including Rigathi Gachagua (Mathira) and Kimani Ichung’wa (Kikuyu). 

The MPs say they have already agreed with Ruto on how Mt Kenya would be represented in his government, including picking the deputy president from the region, should he win next year’s election.

But Wamatangi said for the region to stand a chance of getting the deputy president, the people must vote as a block.

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