Njuri Ncheke leadership has denied endorsing Baringo Senator Gideon Moi’s 2022 presidential bid, saying the council does not make roadside declarations.
On Saturday, a group of elders from South Imenti met Senator Moi in Nakuru, where they heaped praises on former President Daniel arap Moi.
According to Imenti South Njuri Ncheke treasurer Cyprian Kaaria who was in the meeting, the elders were in the Rift Valley for an exchange programme on culture and attending the memorial of freedom fighter Koitalel arap Samoei.
“We had been invited by fellow elders from the Kalenjin community and we were not on a political mission. When Senator Moi learnt that we were in the area, he requested to meet us. It would have been disrespectful to turn down the offer. However, we could not bar him from expressing his ambitions,” Mr Kaaria said.
But Njuri Ncheke secretary-general Josphat Murangiri termed the endorsement as individual pronouncements that have nothing to do with Meru elders.
He accused former councillor James Gachaura of introducing the 2022 politics in the meeting by assuring Mr Moi of support.
“Let it be known that Njuri Ncheke’s binding declarations are only made at the Nchiru shrine. Any other declaration outside the shrine is by selfish individuals who are on a hunting mission. Anyone who wants to seek blessings from the council should visit the shrine when the campaigns start,” Mr Murangiri said.
He added: “At this time, there is no vacancy in the presidency hence Njuri Ncheke cannot endorse anyone. We work with the government of the day. If need be, we will make our position known when the time comes.”
The Njuri Ncheke secretary-general explained that the elders were on a learning tour at Kericho Cultural Centre as the council is putting up a similar facility in Imenti South.
“When they went to Bomet, they were asked to pass by Lee Njiru’s hotel. They arrived only to be treated to a feast and Senator Moi arrived in a chopper. It is one opportunist elder who purported that Njuri Ncheke would back Moi,” he said.
Mr Murangiri said despite the sub-county chairman clarifying that such decisions can only be made at Nchiru, his sentiments were not captured by the media.
He said the developments would place the council in an awkward position since Deputy President William Ruto had promised to open the Imenti South Cultural Centre.
South Imenti MP Kathuri Murungi said no one should read too much into the meeting as other leaders have visited the Mois.
“The elders had informed me that they were visiting their Kalenjin counterparts. There is nothing wrong with the elders meeting Senator Moi because we are advocating for the Building Bridges initiative,” Mr Kathuri said.
Senator Moi, who is also Kanu chairman, said he was glad to work with Njuri Ncheke to seek support in the region.
Recently, Tiaty MP William Kamket, who attended the burial of Ms Isabella Kirima, mother of Central Imenti MP Moses Kirima, drummed up support for Mr Moi, saying they would embark on strengthening Kanu party in the region.