Your in-fighting a disgrace, Uhuru tells central leaders

Kiambu is President Kenyatta’s home county.

Sunday February 14 2016

President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses wananchi at Naromoru township in Nyeri on his way to Nanyuki for CS Mwangi Kiunjuri's homecoming party on February 13, 2016. He said most leaders are his friends and he does not want to be seem to be supporting or opposing any of them. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses wananchi at Naromoru township in Nyeri on his way to Nanyuki for CS Mwangi Kiunjuri's homecoming party on February 13, 2016. He said most leaders are his friends and he does not want to be seem to be supporting or opposing any of them. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By GUCHU NDUNG'U
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President Uhuru Kenyatta turned the heat on Central Kenya leaders saying their conduct has been discouraging him from visiting his political home turf.

This even as his visit was viewed as a failure since he did not announce any good tidings to the locals during the visit.

The region leaders, though not on record, have over time complained that the President has no major projects of his own since he took up State House residency.

They also state that the government has abandoned some of the projects that former President Mwai Kibaki had planned.

He singled out the fights between Kiambu Governor William Kabogo and Kabete MP Ferdinand Waititu as his reason for failing to visit the county.

Kiambu is President Kenyatta’s home county.

He also accused leaders of taking advantage of his visits to milk political capital for their campaigns.

Hours after he spoke, supporters of Kieni MP Kanini Kega and a rival named Wainaina Njoroge were jostling for the President’s attention on Saturday in Narumoru town, where he passed on his way to Nanyuki for Devolution CS Mwangi Kiunjuri’s homecoming party.

“When I visit, they start fighting in front of me. All of them are my friends so I get quite confused. For instance, I do not want to visit Kiambu yet it is my home county. When I visit, baba yao (Waititu) is there with a rungu and Kabogo next to him with intrigues. I even forget what I came to tell residents when I see the fights,” he said in Kikuyu.

He said most leaders are his friends and he does not want to be seem to be supporting or opposing any of them.

He also castigated central Kenya leaders’ habit of using photo opportunities with him as a sign that he has endorsed him.

“Each party tries to take advantage of being seen with me for political mileage. Yet I do not even plan to endorse anyone. If somebody wants to stand in front of me when I am addressing the people and media, how can I chase them away? That does not mean I am endorsing them.”

FOCUS ON DEVELOPMENT
Speaking in Nyeri, where he has been holding meetings with local leaders, he told them to stop the infighting and concentrate on development issues like coffee, tea and business. 

He was reacting to their requests for assistance to help coffee, tea farming and help resettle squatters.

He dealt with the issue of coffee, tea and fighting illicit (read separate story) alcohol but kept away from the squatters issue.

Nyeri MPs have differed with the county government on the list of Mau Mau colonial village squatters.

In what could be a thinly veiled threat to the leaders, the President asked the electorate to discipline and talk to their leaders to stop the infighting.

“You are the ultimate deciders when elections come in 2017,” he said.

Speaking in his mother tongue, he cited the Sh13 billion Mwea Thiba dam in Kirinyaga, the Nyahururu power station which he said have stalled due to wrangles among leaders and incitement of the public by leaders.

Kiambu’s race for the governor has turned out to be a slugfest between Mr Waititu and Mr Kabogo. MPs have also taken sides, most of them backing Mr Waititu.

Last month, a motorcade led by Mr Waititu and MPs was stoned in the county by what the MP said were Mr Kabogo supporters.

However, Mr Kabogo’s camp has denied this and accused the Kabete MP of undermining him.

In Murang’a, Governor Mwangi wa Iria is not only in supremacy battles with MPs, but has also taken the fight to MCAs and the Senator Kembi Gitura.

MORE DISAGREEMENTS
In Nyeri, leaders differed over the list of squatters to benefit from title deeds and the Presidency kept away from the issue when he visited.

While MPs led by Othaya’s Mary Wambui and Nyeri Town’s Esther Murugi had one list, Governor Nderitu Gachagu’a administration had another one. 

When he landed on Wednesday none of the MPs were at hand to receive him.

In Kirinyaga, Governor Joseph Ndathi has fallen out with his deputy Julius Njiri and Kirinyaga East MP Gitari, who is eyeing the gubernatorial seat.

Fights also broke out in counties on Thursday night when leaders were drawing lists of those who would meet the President on Friday and Saturday.

On Friday, the president met leaders from Kiambu, Kirinyaga, Murang’a and Laikipia. He also met Nyeri leaders on Saturday.

He is expected to wound up his tour with a church service but promised the leaders that he would be back in two days.

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