Shock as row between MP, ward reps over Ruto turns to fist fight

Wednesday March 18 2020
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Supporters of Rware MCA Paul Kanyari during the launch of the Nyeri Main Transport Termini at Asian Quaters on June 20, 2019. PHOTO | GRACE GITAU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By GRACE GITAU

The row between Nyeri MP Wambugu Ngunjiri and a section of county assembly members, who have accused him of neglecting his constituency, got violent Thursday after their supporters clashed at a county function.

The wrangles that have often degenerated into physical confrontations stem from their differences over the 2022 succession politics and whether the region will back Deputy President William Ruto.

CHAOS

The MCAs, drawn from the five wards that make up Nyeri constituency, have vowed to support the DP’s presidential ambitions while Mr Ngunjiri has insisted that Mr Ruto is not guaranteed of the region’s votes.

On Thursday, the MP’s supporters shouted down Rware MCA Paul Kanyari as he addressed residents during the launch of the Nyeri Main Transport Terminus at Asian Quarters, disrupting the meeting.

The meeting nearly came to a standstill as supporters of the two leaders hurled insults at each other. One supporter attempted to snatch the microphone from Mr Kanyari but was stopped by police officers.

In separate interviews, Mr Kanyari and Gatitu Muruguru MCA Symon Muturi claimed that the constituency was getting a raw deal as a result of the MP’s incessant attacks on the DP.

But the MP dismissed the MCAs’ claims — that his stance had cost the constituency development projects — as deceitful, saying the area had received its share of development projects.

“My constituency’s needs cannot be similar to other regions because it already has better infrastructure. We have several roads being upgraded to bitumen standards while others are being rehabilitated,” he said.

Mr Wambugu, who is one of DP Ruto’s harshest critics, accused the MCAs of sabotaging development in his area by opposing road projects that are already in progress.

“Last week, they disrupted a meeting where stakeholders had been invited by a roads agency. They did not appreciate the fact that the government had set aside funds for 600 metres of the road while I was lobbying for more money,” he said.

But Mr Kanyari said the MP does not have the best interest of his constituents at heart and was only focused on politicking instead of lobbying for projects.

“Other constituencies like Mathira and Mukurwe-ini have more kilometres of roads being tarmacked, compared with Nyeri Town constituency. He is fighting the person sent by the President to bring projects to us,” he said.

The MP has also claimed that five elected MCAs met with the DP in Nairobi and were on a mission to undermine his projects.

The MCAs have, however, denied the allegations. “The MP is always on social media spreading propaganda. We did not meet with the DP but, even if I wanted to meet him tomorrow, no one would stop me. If he (Mr Wambugu) is incapable of doing his job, he should resign,” said Mr Muturi.

There has been growing concern in Dr Ruto’s camp over the rising influence of Mr Wambugu’s Kieleweke group that has been calling for a stop to campaigns for the 2022 elections while insisting the DP is not assured of the political support of Mt Kenya region.