President Uhuru Kenyatta is facing a rebellion in Mt Kenya region over claims that the government has neglected the area that overwhelmingly supported Jubilee.
The rebellion, which has been simmering, boiled over on New Year when Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria openly accused the President of ignoring the region and focusing on developing areas that voted for the opposition.
“As we enter 2019, you (voters) must think … our responsibility is not just to vote and after voting, we (the government that we form) take development to other regions. That kind of nonsense must stop,” he said at Thika Stadium on New Year.
Mr Kuria added: “We want the President to also commission water projects, roads and electricity when he comes here. We were with him in Kisumu where he commissioned a road project, but when he visits (Kiambu) he only issues certificates to recovering alcoholics.”
During the Kisumu tour, the President commissioned construction of Ahero Interchange and also inspected the Kakamega-Kisumu road project.
The vocal MP said the region, which carries Kiambu, Murang’a, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Nyandarua, Laikipia, Meru, Tharaka Nithi and Embu counties, is still grappling with underdevelopment and asked the government to uplift it.
His sentiments have been supported by bloggers and MPs who spoke to the Nation yesterday.
They feel that although the government since 2013 has launched projects worth billions of shilling, most have stalled.
A decision to freeze new projects by the President in July last year has also hit the region hard.
“In the first term, we understood when he launched projects in opposition areas because he did not want to seem to be favouring Mt Kenya.
"Then he froze new projects when he was sworn in, meaning only those in opposition areas are being completed but none are starting here,” an MP from central Kenya. who did not want to be quoted antagonising the President, said.
Another from Mt Kenya east said the government is “targeting” sectors that directly impact locals including transport, imports and real estate.
“If the government cripples these sectors and does not improve others like coffee and tea, then it has killed our people economically. Why did we vote for Jubilee only to make us poorer?” Posed the MP.
The government has moved to stop illegal imports, introduced stringent matatu rules and demolished buildings on grabbed land.
Prof Peter Kagwanja, a political analyst, in a recent interview with the Nation over the effects of the 'handshake' in central Kenya politics, said locals were having concerns arising from limited attention to the region’s issues and alleged skewed party nominations, which he said are likely to hurt Jubilee in 2022 “more than anybody else.”
But others feel that Mr Kuria and others are too harsh on the President.
A senator from the region, who wished not to be quoted, said the MP’s sentiments on President Kenyatta neglecting the region’s development were spot on, but his tone and context was more political and meant to seek relevance.
One MP came to the defence of the President, saying he is not at fault.
“Kuria was directing his anger in the wrong place. We agreed to lobby silently when we met in Naivasha and projects will soon be commissioned,” said the MP who did not want to be quoted as it would jeopardise efforts he is leading to reconcile leaders from the region.