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Tangatanga MPs told to keep off Uhuru events

Monday February 3 2020

President Uhuru Kenyatta

President Uhuru Kenyatta lays the foundation stone for the construction of New KCC Nyambene Milk Plant in Igembe Central, Meru County, on February 1, 2020. PHOTO | PSCU 

DAVID MWERE
By DAVID MWERE
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Mount Kenya MPs allied to the Tangatanga wing in the Jubilee Party have been directed to keep off President Uhuru Kenyatta’s meetings in the region in what could be the flexing of muscles against rebels.

Only those from the Kieleweke camp, another amorphous wing in Jubilee that supports the President, will be allowed to attend the functions.

County Commissioners have been instructed not to allow the rebel MPs accused of maligning the President’s name into the meetings.

“What is irking the President is that the MPs have been moving around saying Uhuru is a lame-duck President by the mere fact that he is serving his second and last term in office, and that they will not need his endorsement in 2022,” an MP who did not want to go on record said.

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru did not mince her words against the rebel politicians.

“Those opposed to the President’s agenda have chosen a political direction that opposes the President. They spend Monday to Friday hurling insults at the President and his agenda,” Ms Waiguru said.

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GROWTH PROJECTS

To allow such leaders to attend his meetings and be accorded profile and status is to operate in dreamland, she added.

“They have made their choice. They should not expect to be given audience in the President’s meetings,” said the governor.

Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata said that respect to the President is vital. “I want to urge my colleagues that they should not expect favours if they show disrespect to the President. He is the one in command and the unity of the country revolves around him. They should not go about badmouthing the symbol of national unity,” Mr Kang’ata noted.

This comes as security officers recently blocked four Tangatanga MPs from attending a presidential function in Ol Kalou, Nyandarua County.

Only Governor Francis Kimemia and Kipipiri MP Amos Kimunya were allowed to attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a potato cold storage and processing facility.

During the event, the President made it clear to the residents that he will no longer be sending politicians to them and will instead be meeting the people directly to discuss development.

Those shunted from the event were MPs Kwenya Thuku (Kinangop), Njuguna Kiaraho (OlKalou), Michael Muchira (Ol Joro Orok) and Woman Rep Faith Gitau.

NO INSULTS, PLEASE

A majority of the MPs were not ready to go on record over the directive for fear of victimisation, but Lugari MP Ayub Savula (ANC) told the Nation that Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri had told him that they have been declared “persona non grata”.

Mr Ngunjiri admitted that there is a plot to block Tangatanga MPs from attending the President’s functions.

“Nobody can be chased from a presidential meeting without instructions,” Mr Ngunjiri said, vowing not to attend any more of the President’s events.

“Why should I attend when I already know that I will be chased away?” the Bahati MP asked.

At the same time, Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi also warned Tangatanga MPs to respect the President.

Speaking at Kangeta, Igembe Central on Saturday when Mr Kenyatta laid a foundation stone for the New KCC milk plant, whose construction will start with installation of a 100,000-litre capacity cooler, Mr Murungi said he would not entertain insults during the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) meeting to be held in Meru on February 15.

“We are with you in this process and your friends will be our friends and your enemies our enemies. We can tell east from west and we will not allow a few people to derail the BBI process in this region,” he told the President.

PEOPLE-CENTRED

He reiterated that the Mount Kenya region fully backed the ‘handshake’ between President Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga, which culminated in the BBI.

“President Kenyatta is not just the leader of the country, but also of Mount Kenya region. As a region, when he says we go to the right, we will; if he says to the left we will,” Mr Murungi said.

He appeared to direct his attack on Dr Ruto’s allies — Senator Mithika Linturi, MPs Mugambi Rindikiri (Buuri), Gichunge Kabeabea (Tigania East) and Halima Mucheke (nominated, Jubilee). The leaders did not attend the meeting.

Tharaka-Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki said they support the BBI report that was launched at the Bomas of Kenya in November last year.

“I want to be clear that the report that was launched is the one we are supporting,” the governor said in reference to reports that another report was being prepared and is the one that would be presented in a referendum to Kenyans to endorse.

Meanwhile, Pentecostal Church leaders in Mt Kenya have called on the government to involve them in drumming up support for BBI to ensure the people own the process.

EDUCATE CITIZENS

The religious leaders, under the auspices of African Foundation of Churches of Kenya, said they were being asked by the faithful to offer guidance on the document.

The clergymen drawn from Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Kirinyaga, Embu and Laikipia counties want the BBI steering committee to train them and provide copies of the document to share it with the faithful.

Addressing journalists at Riverbank Hotel in Nkubu town, they demanded the exclusion of leaders facing court cases from spearheading BBI campaigns at the grassroots.

The clerics said they were happy with the ‘handshake’ because it had united the nation.

Additional reports by Gitonga Marete and Charles Wanyoro