Locals and visitors attending the Uragate Tharaka Cultural Festival were on Saturday treated to drama as the differences between Governor Muthomi Njuki and Senator Kithure Kindiki played out in public.
Governor Njuki and his entourage left the ceremony in a huff immediately after Prof Kindiki and his followers took to the podium.
County officers rushed to disconnect the public address system, forcing Prof Kindiki to hire another one from the nearby Shauri Market and continue his address.
GSU officers had been deployed to maintain order after word went round that Prof Kindiki would not be allowed to address the crowd.
This comes after Mr Njuki recently denied claims by Njuri Ncheke elders that he had personal differences with Senator Kindiki.
Three weeks ago, the Ameru Njuri Ncheke Council of Elders had summoned the two leaders at Kijege shrine in Tharaka in bid to unite them, but the meeting was postponed to a later date.
The elders, led by Tharaka-Nithi County chairman Kangori M'Thaara, said Prof Kindiki and Governor Njuki, now arch-rivals, used to be allies.
"The two leaders who had been great friends until the August elections last year are now great rivals and for any development in the county, they must agree to work together," Mr M'Thaara told a past press conference.
Saturday’s incident is said to have been fuelled by a dispute over the location of the Uragate Tharaka Cultural festival.
Speaking at the festival, Mr Njuki dismissed claims that he was planning to shift the annual festival that was started in 2015 by Tharaka community leaders to his backyard in Chuka/Igambang’ombe constituency.
“It is wrong for some leaders with 2022 political interests to mislead the Tharaka community that I am planning to relocate the venue of this festival to Chuka,” said Mr Njuki.
He would only improve the venue by installing power and running water, planting trees and building permanent structures.