A meeting of top Mt. Kenya politicians at the Kenya Methodist University (KeMU) on Saturday, July 27 saw the boldest declaration yet of Agriculture CS Peter Munya’s ambitions to take over the Mt. Kenya region’s political leadership as President Uhuru Kenyatta exits the stage in 2022.
Among those in attendance were three of the region’s Governors – including Kiambu’s James Nyoro, Kirinyaga’s Anne Waiguru and Nakuru’s Lee Kinyanjui – as well as Nairobi Deputy Governor Ann Kananu, Murang’a Woman Rep Sabina Chege, former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo, Kieni MP Kanini Kega and several other lawmakers. Governors Mutahi Kahiga (Nyeri), Martin Wambora (Embu) and Mwangi wa Iria (Murang’a) sent their apologies through Kinyanjui.
In speech after speech, the leaders allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta just fell short of endorsing Munya as the best placed leader to take over the mantle of leading a populous, fractured region as the 2022 General Elections draw closer.
Munya has made himself one of the most visible members of Uhuru’s cabinet and has emerged as a leading voice pushing for the region to unite as factional wars between Mt. Kenya East vs Mt. Kenya West leaders play out, and Deputy President William Ruto makes inroads into the region eating into Jubilee’s pie as was witnessed in the Kiambaa by-election.
His is a series of strategic moves with his eyes firmly set on the prize, among them being at the frontline of tea and coffee reforms among other Agricultural sector initiatives which have placed him face to face with grassroots farmers and stakeholders who make up a large chunk of the region’s 8 million+ vote basket.
The CS has also been facing off with the Mt. Kenya East camp which endorsed Speaker Justin Muturi to lead the region. The camp, which includes Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi and Senator Mithika Linturi, has threatened to form their own party to chart the region’s political future, maintaining that it was time for the West to reciprocate their support over the years.
Munya dismisses the Kiraitu-led team as being hell-bent on dividing the people of Mt. Kenya and propagating dangerous politics.
“We will not bow to any attempt to divide us. There are a few who have been sent to divide us into east and west. When they held top positions in the government, there was no east and west. When we fought for independence, we were one people. Our unity is critical for the next election,” he stated at the leaders’ forum.
Sources close to the CS claim that a reported take-over of the Restore and Build Party of Kenya by Mt. Kenya East leaders is intended to further isolate Munya, a former Meru Governor who has no qualms going at it with old foes from his backyard.
With the Jubilee Party looking to stem the wave of Ruto-backed United Democratic Alliance (UDA) sweeping through the region, Munya is positioning himself as one of Uhuru’s key men to counter on the ground – an observation that was alluded to by Murang’a Women Rep Sabina Chege.
Highlighting Munya’s regular forums with farmers and aggressive reforms spearheaded by his ministry, she urged other members of the cabinet to follow suit.
“Some CSs just stay in the office instead of highlighting some of the projects they have done so that Kenyans can also see that the Jubilee government has worked hard.
“Others just discuss politics when they go to the grassroots,” Chege stated.
At the same time, Munya went after Ruto and his Tangatanga allies – accusing them of rubbishing development projects initiated by the President by creating false narratives.
“The government is implementing many projects across the country. We cannot disrespect the President because of a few challenges. There are those using that excuse to sow division in the mountain,”
“These projects are benefiting the Kenyan at the grassroots level. What other bottom-up approach are you talking about?” he questioned, in a jab aimed at Ruto’s ‘Hustler Nation’ messaging.
After reading resolutions they termed the Meru declaration, the leaders disclosed plans to hold a series of similar meetings across the region. The meetings are set to put Munya front and centre in the fight for Mt. Kenya by Uhuru’s Kieleweke team.