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Ruto’s big headache as Mt Kenya UDA politicians close ranks to defend Uhuru

A new wave of political reorientation is slowly emerging in the Mt Kenya region as some United Democratic Alliance (UDA) politicians shun the sustained attack on retired President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Murang’a Woman Rep Betty Maina is the latest in a growing list of local politicians to demand respect for the retired president.

“We cannot continue like this…He has his place in our history and society. There are those good deeds he did for us during his tenure and we must show him respect,” she said in Kikuyu at Kimorori Grounds in Kenol town during a bursary issuance function on May 9.

Ms Maina said Mr Kenyatta should be treated as a Mt Kenya son “to be respected and loved…and we are only exhibiting foolishness to fight one of our own as other regions unite behind their own”.

She lamented that they were “fighting a man who has so far kept his peace and it is not asking too much to demand that we too reciprocate and treat him with the respect he deserves”.

Leaders in Mt Kenya had gone on a no-holds-barred attack on Mr Kenyatta ahead of the August 9, 2022, general election, defying his preferred succession plan of supporting Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party presidential candidate Raila Odinga.

Campaigns against Mr Odinga in the Mt Kenya region were marked by raw vitriol against Mr Kenyatta and many who won seats on UDA tickets rose to prominence by speaking ill of then President, the Jubilee Party and Mr Odinga.

As the competition raged, Mr Kenyatta added fuel to the fire when he dismissed the UDA wave as “illiterate about the needs of the Mt Kenya region”.

Push wheelbarrows

He said: “You from Mt Kenya are being given Sh2,000 as bursary while others are getting Sh50,000 per learner…When their children are being given jobs after education yours in Mt Kenya are being told to push wheelbarrows, rear chicken and sell eggs…you are lost and one day you will come back to your senses”.

Now, as the region’s politicians close ranks to demand a one-man, one-shilling, one-vote formula for sharing national resources and opportunities, political analyst Prof Ngugi Njoroge believes that “we are beginning to sober up and the UDA euphoria is subsiding as people realise they voted to be served, not to live on insults, chest-thumping and finger-pointing”.

When President William Ruto was sworn in on September 13, 2022, his deputy Rigathi Gachagua gave Mr Kenyatta, who was present, a parting tongue-lashing accusing him of cruelty, State capture, killing the economy and putting up barriers to prevent their victory.

Since then, the trend has been the same, with senior Mt Kenya leaders including Mr Gachagua, National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wa and National Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Ndindi Nyoro continuing the onslaught against Mr Kenyatta.

The attacks intensified when Mr Ichung’wa publicly uttered words that were perceived as bordering on incitement against Mr Kenyatta, his family and his business interests.

Mr Ichung’wa’s angry remarks were based on the allegations that Mr Kenyatta was sponsoring anti-government protests led by Mr Odinga.

“Even that land that you own, we will raid it…for those without land to get a share. Don’t lie to yourself that ordinary people are the ones who will lose property in the ongoing anti-government mass protests. Even you will pay the price if you continue to instigate violence and bloodshed in this country,” Mr Ichung’wa said.

He added: “That is my message to none other than Uhuru Kenyatta, the sponsor, sole sponsor…singular financier of Azimio and the mercenary that is Mr Odinga.”

A day later, hundreds of goons raided Mr Kenyatta’s Northlands estate in Ruiru, where they destroyed trees, demarcated part of the land and purportedly allocated themselves plots on which some built some temporary structures.

Others raided part of the land where pedigree sheep were kept, slaughtered some and roasted the meat on the land, while others set up a roadside market where they sold some of the sheep at throwaway prices and set part of the land on fire.

Various platforms

The aggression, however, did not go down well with many Mt Kenya residents who took to various platforms to express their displeasure and warned politicians that they were taking the hatred to an unacceptable level.

Speaking on Kameme FM after the incident, Kiambu Woman Representative Ms Anne wa Muratha lamented that “some of us are now engaging in too much negative energy both in deeds and utterances”.

This was after Mr Gachagua, while at Kangoco Secondary School in Nyeri County had said: “I am a remnant of the Mau Mau heroes and even Mr Kenyatta knows me very well…that I am not easy to intimidate…he tried when to he was president…it is not now that he is out of it that he will make it.”

Ms Muratha advised her “fellow leaders especially seniors in power that let us give people hope that we will turn around this country and ease the cost of living.”

She added: “We must now stop dwelling too much in the past and cease hostilities against those we defeated in the elections. We must unite as a family, villages, regions and the country for us to tackle our challenges as a team.”

Ms Muratha went on: “I urge Mr Gachagua and the rest to play the uniting role and cease bitterness, forget the past and forge ahead to deliver the Hustlers nation’s dream.”

A few weeks later, Mwangi Kiunjuri of Laikipia East, speaking on Inooro TV, dismissed the trend of denigrating Mr Kenyatta.

“We cannot eat kingships and kings and what we urgently need is to devise a way on how we are going to empower these people’s votes that put us in power,” Mr Kiunjuri said.

He went on: “What we need is to revamp agriculture, health (and) create wealth for these people so that they can feel the warmth that we are feeling after they put us in power.”

Kiama Kia Ma Murang’a chairman Ciombou Rigami advised Mr Gachagua to realise that while Mt Kenya is tearing itself apart, other regions are uniting.

Mr Ciombou said: “The 47 percent share that we have in Kenya Kwanza Alliance government should reach out to the legion under Mr Kenyatta so that we can go hunting as a team and put elections behind us.”

The chairman of the Kikuyu Council of Elders, Wachira Kiago, warned that the more UDA politicians attack Mr Kenyatta, the more their popularity will decline.

“The very mistake that Mr Kenyatta loyalists did of shoring up Dr Ruto’s popularity through public attacks is the very one UDA is applying in Mr Kenyatta’s case. Mr Kenyatta is playing the victim and is silent. Coupled with unfulfilled promises, it is just a matter of time before

Mt Kenya region starts yearning for alternative political leadership and that will be dangerous for those currently in power,” he said.

 

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