Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i appears to be man on a mission.
Of late, the powerful CS has focused his attention on bringing together leaders from the Gusii community as word goes round that he could be the man to watch in the 2022 General Election.
Dr Matiang’i has traversed the region to preach peace to the community. As the most powerful person from the region, Dr Matiang’i’s forays have not caught people by surprise.
However, the presence of local politicians in his entourage is an indicator of realignments on the ground. In his recent meetings, Dr Matiang’i has often struck a reconciliatory note, calling on his kinsmen to unite and speak with one voice. To observers, the CS is rebranding himself.
Last Friday, Dr Matiang’i was at Gesiaga High School in Nyamira County for a funds drive. He was accompanied by Nyamira Governor John Nyagarama, senators Sam Ongeri (Kisii), Okongo Omogeni (Nyamira), Woman reps Jerusha Momanyi (Nyamira) and Janet Ongera (Kisii) MP Samuel Arama (Nakuru) and a dozen of legislators from Kisii and Nyamira counties.
The talk was on Gusii political unity — which is a euphemism in political parlance, meaning the community must rally behind one person.
“Henceforth, we will speak as one and clamour for development as a community. We will give direction on the way forward when the time comes, but for now we are supporting the handshake and development,” said Prof Ongeri, a veteran of Gusii politics.
With other communities in Jubilee Party divided into Kieleweke (supporters of President Uhuru Kenyatta) and Tangatanga (for deputy President William Ruto), the Gusii leaders passed the ‘Gesiaga Declaration’, whose focus was on unity.
Some of the local MPs are known supporters of Dr Ruto and it will be an uphill task for the CS to woo them.
“Time for politics is long gone. It is now time to work and ensure development for our people. We must unite and respect our elected leaders for us to succeed,” said Dr Matiang’i.
“We only have one governor (John Nyagarama of Nyamira), one senator (Okon’go Omogeni) and all other elected leaders, including the MPs, whom we must respect and work with because they are the ones God has given us,” he added.
It is this, and other reconciliatory messages that he has been preaching, that have given him a new face that is a far cry from his no-nonsense mien.
Notably, in his tours, he has been accompanied by dozens of elected leaders from all political parties. The last time the community appeared this united and led by a single political kingpin, was during the reign of former Finance Cabinet Minister Simeon Nyachae.