Why the Mt. Kenya Kingpin race will be tough and complex

President Uhuru Kenyatta speaks at a meeting with over 7,000 Mt. Kenya leaders at Sagana State Lodge in Nyeri County to discuss development of the area and other relevant national goals, including the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI). [Courtesy].

The race to succeed Uhuru Kenyatta in the Mt. Kenya region was made even more complicated by the entry of Senate Speaker Justin Muturi last weekend and photo cues from former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo, who is mingling with the President.

Muturi’s coronation at Njuri Ncheke Shrine in Meru appeared to have generated mixed reactions when some local leaders came out to refuse the move.

This should somehow calm the unconsolidated political scene in the Mt. Kenya region, but the scene is constantly changing.

Photos recently shared on social media show the former Kiambu governor relaxing with the president in a private garden.

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Power broker

Kabogo didn’t answer questions about where this happened and whether it was a political statement, but some insiders claim the regional brokers could only have broadened the search for the Kingpin successor.

Kabogo is extravagant, open and astute and has never been the favorite of many right-wing and powerful anniversary barons in Mt. Kenya.

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That he would seriously consider the kingpin in Mt. Kenya would be an interesting twist in the regional Uhuru succession.

Charles Mwangi Ng’ang’a, chairman of the Mt. Kenya County Assemblies, said Uhuru could most likely have met Kabogo for a reconciliation after he rejoined the group after initially appearing to have fallen out.

“Until recently, he was a vocal critic of the BBI and Kenyatta government. His closest ally and musician Muigai wa Njoroge has composed anti-BBI and anti-Uhuru songs. Soon even the artists who supported Ruto could join the group by Kabogo, ”Ng’ang’a predicted.

Prof. Gitile Naituli, senior lecturer in leadership and management at Multi Media University, said his interpretation of these photos is that Kabogo asked for blessings to return to the top of Kiambu.

Muturi’s coronation comes barely a year after Peter Kenneth was crowned Agikuyu Cultural Ambassador by the Kikuyu Elders at the Mahiga Matatu Cultural Center in Nyeri County.

The region that Muturi has crowned spokesman consists of Embu, Meru and Tharaka Nithi counties with a significant “diaspora” in Isiolo and Laikipia counties.

Insiders at the Muturi camp said he was considering a run for one of the top two seats at the national level, which means he wants to become president or vice president.

Genesio Mugo, a 2017 Mberry South aspirant and Ngome elder, confirmed Muturi is positioning himself for top national office in next year’s elections.

“Muturi is the oldest politician in Mt. Kenya East. Let’s not forget that he was spokesman for two terms, ”said Mugo.

According to Josephat Murangiri, general secretary of Njuri Ncheke, Meru elders have been looking for a spokesman for Mt. Kenya East for ages and no one else has come forward.

“We leave our options open. We greet other potential competitors and will eventually evaluate them all and decide who should control our Canaanite moment. As an early riser, Muturi definitely has a head start, ”said Murangiri.

Captain Kung’u Muigai, Uhuru’s cousin and chairman of the National Council of Elders, said the coronation was an elders agenda that arose from a longstanding regional complaint within the Gikuyu, Embu and Meru (Gema) parish.

“That’s not how these considerations began at the Sagana River State Lodge meeting in January. It’s just that the subject was brought up there. I am also here in my individual capacity and not as an emissary from anyone. Do not forget that I have my platform as the chairman of the elders, ”said Captain Muigai at the Nyuri Shrine.

But James Mithika, a politician and political commentator for Igembe Central, said Muturi’s coronation was a futile effort.

“There can never be two centers of power in politics, and Uhuru will remain our regional hub for the time being,” said Mithika.

Prof. Naituli saw it differently and said of all competitors in the overcrowded race to succeed Uhuru in the region, Muturi was the best hope for Mt. Kenya East.

“He really has no competitors. Kiraitu Murungi is too old for that. (Agriculture CS) Peter Munya is too aggressive to work with professionals and Prof. Kithure Kindiki just lacks the gravity, ”said Prof. Naituli

He said Muturi is the best representative for Mt. Kenya and that his policies go beyond tribal policies in Mberry and Embu.

“As spokesman for the National Assembly, he was the third highest player in the executive branch and would automatically become president in the absence of the president and his deputy,” said Naituli.

Kenneth has been holding back lately, and many believe he has fallen out of favor with high-level kingmakers in the region.

The former Gatanga MP still bears the sign of rejecting Uhuru’s offer in 2013 and always quieting down after each competition, only to reappear months before the next election.

However, his allies say Kenneth is still a formidable force, having met with elected leaders at his Mayfair building in Nairobi and other locations.

Kenneth started a meet-the-people tour of the Gatanga and Mathioya constituencies in his backyard in Murang’a last weekend.

His ally, Gatanga MP Nduati Ngugi, said Kenneth was busy connecting with the people and Mt. Kenya leaders are fully aware that power comes from the people.

“It’s the people who play a role in this political game,” said Nduati.

Kenneth has claimed that there is nothing stopping the Mt. Kenya region from assuming presidency due to the size of its population.

Other candidates for the regional kingpin are Governor Mwangi Wa Iria (Murang’a), former agricultural CS Mwangi Kiunjuri (Chairman of the Service Party) and his successor Peter Munya.

Kiunjuri said his party had decided to negotiate a pre-election coalition agreement with Vice President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance ahead of the 2022 government.

The former Laikipia East MP, sacked for being close to Ruto, said he had learned his lesson and will never repeat his past mistake when he merged his Grand National Union (GNU) in 2017 to celebrate the anniversary of the Generals to join election.

His party was among over eleven others who convinced President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy to join forces to transform the anniversary into a mass party that reflects the face of Kenya.

In an interview with The Sunday Standard, Kiunjuri claimed he and Ruto were betrayed for merging their parties only to be dumped.

“In 2017, I did not take part in the anniversary party as Mwangi Kiunjuri. I was there as a party. We were betrayed, but that will never happen again, ”said Kiunjuri.

Kiunjuri, who is seen as one of the possible front-runners in representing Ruto from Mt. Kenya, said he would only decide which seat to take when the results of the eagerly awaited referendum are clear.

“We think 80 percent of the BBI report is good. For Ruto, only two or three issues are controversial, but he and his boss are 99 percent in agreement. He will live on the outcome of BBI. Remember that he has an obligation to support his boss and that there is still room in the future to change the issues at stake, ”said Kiunjuri

Wa Iria, who is serving his second term, also has the presidency in mind and has registered a political party, Usawa Kwa Wote, in which he hopes to leverage his leverage in the Mt. Negotiate participation.

“Even if I do not get a presidency, I will sit at the negotiating table and represent the interests of the Mt. Kenya region at the national level,” said Wa Iria.

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru, a supporter of the Uhuru government, said she was qualified and experienced to represent the Mt. Kenya region on a national level.

While answering when asked whether to defend her seat or join the national seat, the first-term governor said once BBI is over she will make up her mind.

“I’m very busy completing the projects that I promised the Kirinyaga people and sold to BBI, but check out this section. Once BBI is over and there are six months to go to the elections, we can have this conversation, ”said Waiguru.

And although Munya has not stated his intention to return to competition policy, there are signs that he still wants a say in Uhuru’s successor.

Munya was visible in the region while aggressively reforming the coffee and tea sector, which gave him the opportunity to connect with the locals.

The chairman of the Mt. Kenya Assemblies Caucus, Charles Mwangi, dismissed the call for kingship as a disregard and undermining of Uhuru when he was in power.

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