President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto are expected in different churches in Muranga Sunday in what is expected to add fuel to the growing speculation of a rift between the two politicians ahead of the 2022 elections.
Muranga Governor Mwangi wa Iria, Senator Irungu Kang’ata and ACK Mt Kenya South Diocese Bishop Julius Karanu have confirmed to have received the official communication from State House while Kandara MP Alice Wahome and Mr Dennis Itumbi have separately confirmed that DP Ruto will worship in Kandara.
The President will be at ACK church in Kenol, Maragua constituency, on the proposed Kenol-Nyeri-Sagana- Marwa dual-carriage highway while DP Ruto will attend a fundraiser in neighbouring Kandara constituency.
Senator Kang’ata told the Saturday Nation that the President personally communicated with him on Wednesday confirming the visit.
“We talked with the President on phone and he has reassured me that he will be in Murang’a. I invited the President earlier this year while we were in State House with Bishop Karanu. We had gone there to receive a school bus for Mukangu Secondary School,” he said.
Governor wa Iria added: “I have received the official communication from State House that the Head of State will be in Murang’a on Sunday although briefly in order to attend to other matters,” he said.
Bishop Karanu said they are eagerly awaiting the President’s visit.
“We are elated to host the President. He will be worshipping with us on Sunday and I have official confirmation,” the bishop said.
Maragua MP Mary Waithira, a Ruto supporter, said she would attend the President’s event as he will be visiting her constituency.
“It’s true that both leaders will be in Murang’a, but I will be hosting the President and so I won’t make it to Kandara,” she said.
Asked why the leaders invited the President and his deputy on the same day, the MP said: “The President and the Deputy President were invited separately and without knowledge aforethought.”
Mr Itumbi said DP Ruto will be in Kirinyaga and Murang’a counties for fundraisers.
“The Deputy President will be in Gichugu for a fundraiser and in the afternoon he will be visiting Kandara for another event,” Mr Itumbi said.
State House Spokesperson Kanze Dena and Mr David Mugonyi, the director of communications in the DP’s office, avoided the question on whether the duo will be in Murang’a.
Ms Dena said: “I can’t confirm that today but as soon I get the details I will let you know,” she said by phone.
Mr Mugonyi sent a short message, saying “I’m not aware”.
The move by the top Jubilee leaders to visit Murang’a separately will likely raise eyebrows and divide the region’s legislators further.
Mr Kang’ata, Ms Wanjiru Chege (woman representative), Ms Wangari Mwaniki (Kigumo), Mr Muturi Kigano (Kangema), Mr Peter Kimari (Mathioya) and Mr Nduati Ngugi (Gatanga) support the President and the ‘handshake’ while Mr Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu), Ms Alice Wahome (Kandara) and Ms Waithira (Maragua) are allied to DP Ruto and have endorsed his 2022 presidential bid.
Among the issues expected to be discussed by the President are the outcome of the Building Bridges Initiative and development in the Mt Kenya region.
“We have huge development projects and others are in the pipeline. The President will worship at a church near the proposed dual-carriage highway that will start next month,” Mr Kang’ata said.