Most of the governors affiliated to the 10-member Central Kenya Economic Bloc (Cekeb) seem to have suddenly withdrawn their support for Deputy President William Ruto, shunning his company in the last couple of months.
Apart from Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu and his Nyeri counterpart Mutahi Kahiga, the rest seem keen to minimise their association with the DP.
In the past, most of them would join the DP when he visited the region, moving as a team to lobby for development projects as they pledged their loyalty.
But last Thursday, Mr Waititu was missing when the DP joined African Independent Pentecostal Church of Africa (AIPCA) worshippers and clergy at Muthuaini church in Nyeri County.
But he was the only county chief who joined Dr Ruto at a cancer event in Mathira in memory of the former Nyeri governor Ndiritu Gachagua, who died of the disease.
The trend has been witnessed since January when President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed Dr Fred Matiang’i as the chairman of the National Development Implementation and Communication Committee.
Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria, a strong supporter and defender of the DP, has also gone quiet.
He was one of the DP’s strongest supporters, often joining Dr Ruto in his visits across the country. At one time he was even being touted as a possible running mate for the DP come 2022.
Nyandarua County Assembly Majority Leader King’ori Wambugu attributes the shunning of the DP by Cekeb governors to unfulfilled pledges and the launch and commissioning of projects that never materialised.
Mr Wambugu adds that secret meetings between the DP and MCAs from the region also fuelled conflicts between the assemblies and governors.
“The region’s leadership realised that the DP is using the divide-and-rule tactic to gain political mileage. When visiting Central, the DP comes with promises, but in other areas he initiates tangible developments,” said Mr King’ori.
He says among the unfulfilled promises is a Sh3 million donation for the construction of a dormitory at AC Primary School in Ol Kalou town.
The DP pledged to give the money more than five months ago when he officiated over a harambee to buy desks for primary schools in the constituency. He donated Sh3 million but none of the schools has received the desks.
The same day, he launched the construction of Captain Road, but no work has been done since.
The billboard he used to launch the construction has been removed and the contractor left the site a few minutes after the DP.
“The governors realised that they must work with the President to meet their development agenda. They also realised that, by meeting the MCAs, the DP was using the divide-and-rule tactic to undermine them,” said Mr King’ori.
Mr John Ndegwa, a political analyst, said the implementation of the President’s Big Four agenda instigated the parting of ways between Cekeb governors and the DP.
“The President and his deputy appeared to be on opposing sides. The President is after leaving a legacy while the DP is more focused on the 2022 elections, putting the country in a campaign mood against the President’s wishes. The governors had no option but to work with and support the President,” said Mr Ndegwa.
He added that the President’s Big Four agenda features prominently in the governors’ manifestos and integrated development plans.
As such, working with the President offers them the best opportunity to actualise their manifestos.
Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia, who is also the Cekeb boss, said members resolved not to engage in early campaigns and instead focus on implementing their manifestos.