Various political leaders within Mt Kenya region are busy lobbying as they rally behind President Uhuru Kenyatta with the aim of not only attracting public sympathy but also targeting to take over as the region’s kingpin once he retires in 2022.
Opera News can authoritatively reveal that a number of politicians are rallying behind who they believe is better placed to take over from President Kenyatta with Kirinyaga governor Ann Waiguru and Former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo being the most favoured.
Others in the list include Murangá Governor Mwangi wa Iria, former agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe, Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki and Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi, as well as Agriculture CS Peter Munya.
Political pundits believe that the battle line has already been drawn between the two leaders with Kabogo already being handed the ticket to head the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) rallies in the region- a role that Ms Waiguru was equally eyeing.
The Kikuyu National Council of Elders, led by Wachira Kiago, is at crossroads over who to support between the duo- since they are believed to have the blessings of President Kenyatta.
Since independence, the central region has enjoyed power and the fact that a person whoever will take over from President Kenyatta is yet to be established has caused anxiety amongst the electorate.
Before they lost in the last general election, former Gatanga MP, Peter Kenneth, who was contesting for the Nairobi Governorship seat and Kabogo were seen as the possible leaders who would fit into Mr Kenyatta’s shoe.
However, the fact that they are not holding any influential position derails their plans to take over as the region’s kingpin. Mr Kabogo has so far re-invented himself into the national limelight.
A senior politician from the region, who spoke in confidence due to his political position, said that President Kenyatta did not have a problem with any arrangements to groom either Mr Kabogo or any other candidate as the region’s kingpin.
“The president seems to be comfortable with any development of seeking his successor, already a special committee within the region will be tasked to do so,” he noted.
Political activist Julius Maina has led his colleagues in the region to push for Kabogo to take over as the BBI Chairman in the region with a sponsored online petition that is asking voters to sign and agree to the plan.
Mr Maina, in the petition, says that it is high time political leaders from the region work in unity as they are approaching a very crucial political process that has the blessings of President Kenyatta and it should be taken seriously.
“The only sober leader with stamina and a national appeal to champion for our interests as a region is Mr Kabogo. This petition is out to compel him to join the national conversation and defend the ruriri (community) and it should kick off as from this weekend in Meru,” the petition reads in part.
In the petition, the activist further states that the region is still divided on whether to back the BBI or not and there is a need to have a sober leader to rally the voters to speak in unity.
In an exclusive interview with Opera News, Mr Kabogo said that his attendance at the BBI rally scheduled for Meru this weekend had nothing to do with the region’s succession politics but he did not have any oppositions if such arrangements would make the region great.
“Currently, our big interest is the empowerment of our people, we need proper leadership that will translate to growth and development,” he noted.
Kabogo said this just hours after he attended a BBI consultative forum at Jumhia conference centre at Tigoni where he also gave his ideas on matters BBI.
“I will be attending the BBI rally in Meru, our mission is to unite the community as it has been President Kenyatta’s wish, the community needs to stay united on matters economic growth,” he concluded.
Political pundits argue that Saturday’s rally, which will be held at Kinoru stadium, will bring together leaders from Meru, Embu, Tharaka-Nithi, Laikipia, Kirinyaga, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Murang’a and Kiambu, and will shape the political landscape ahead of the 2022 polls.
“Political leaders from the region are not happy with how Ms Waiguru endorsed herself as the regional kingpin. In as much as they are not opposed to Mr Raila Odinga’s political moves in the region- they believe that Ms Waiguru’s association with the ODM leader is aimed at seeking political relevance,” the source who spoke in confidence said.
It is worth noting that there is rebellion against Waiguru even in Kirinyaga County after political leaders who include MPs, senators and majority of ward representatives failed to attend a BBI consultative meeting held on Thursday.
Speaking to local media, Ndia lawmaker George Kariuki said that the governor had not involved them in the planning of the meeting and that they were not aware that it was scheduled to take place.
“The governor took it upon herself to move the BBI agenda in Kirinyaga County without involving the lawmakers from the county,” he divulged.
Equally, commenting on the matter, former Kasarani MP John Njoroge highlighted that the question of successor shouldn’t be an issue by now noting the region will decide on its fate come 2021.
“It is difficult to groom someone when the President is still in office and active politically. But as he exits, new formations will rise,” Njoroge asserted.