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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Meru politics: Uhuru headache as two centres take shape

The speed with which the national politics is shaping itself as we approach 2017 seems to create tension in almost every corner of the republic. Politicians have been moving from one market to the other addressing rallies in the pretext that they are sensitising the people on their rights and development especially as pertains the county allocations.
 This, however, has not had any social economic change or impact on the poor masses that are robbed of the votes during election time and later their resources afterwards. There has been a lot of politics in the opposition pushing the government to deliver on its manifesto to Kenyans especially on the security of the country which seems to consume resources and still remain a big problem.
For a long time, Mount Kenya politics has revolved around Kikuyu being presidential aspirants while the Embu, Kambas and the Ameru support them. The only nonKikuyu who tried their luck in presidential race are John Harun Mwau, Charity Ngilu and Kalonzo Musyoka.
After the formation of the Jubilee government, Mount Kenya region political heavyweights silenced their guns and followed whatever the president was saying like gospel truth. They have supported him in almost every decision he has undertaken.
In the initial days, while trying to reduce the influence of Meru senator Kiraitu Murungi, the Jubilee MPs aligned to TNA ganged up to force the senior politician to shelve his ambition of becoming a majority leader of the Senate.
Kiraitu was humiliated by a political green horn, the Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki who has now become an elephant in the Meru house. Though with little precision, the man is causing stampede in every corner as he tries every shoe in the room!
On becoming majority leader, the senator, a close friend of Deputy President William Ruto and definite the president’s man in the region has undertaken some very serious coups in the motherland. Taking senator Kiraitu by the horns was the first assignment.
In this, he was assisted by the Meru Members of Parliament to defeat a tyrant they had fought with the election Brusly. Kiraitu’s defeat was to a large extent a culmination of his arm-twisting with Uhuru during the campaigns.
After winning to tame this man, Uhuru system was now angling to oust the Meru governor Peter Munya. It is instrumental to note that immediately the election of the governor was nullified, Kindiki rallied Jubilee troops in a serious humiliation against him in Tigania West during the homecoming party of the area MP David Karithi.
The next casualty was Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi. Feared by State House mandarins who have been propelling Kindiki as the regional supremo, Mithika was seen as being close to both Uhuru and William Ruto hence a scheme was mooted to reduce him politically and economically.
 The MP’s network in the corridors of power was completely jammed. He with other junior legislators from the region was terribly frustrated by cabinet secretaries from Mount Kenya region.
Realising that it was not easy to destroy Linturi, Kindiki and his advisers now started scheming coups in the region. The first of such was through a small group of young professionals called Weru which after failing to control the Ameru Professional Association, he was made the patron.
This group associated with young politicians in the community like Mwenda Makathimo and Joseph Mithika never made the man what he wanted to look like. The second attempt was the failed Njuri Ncheke coup of Nciru.
 After the October 2014 Njuri Ncheke forum failed to bear fruits, the grapevine has it Ruto advised Kindiki to move slowly and not openly expose his ambitions for the higher political offices.
When the Ameru leaders led by Murungi, Munya and Linturi made the 2014 declaration of political ceasefire in the county, cold chills run down the spines of the shrinking group coalescing around Kindiki. They started running up and down trying to dismiss the newfound peace. Come New Year 2015 and war trumpets in Meru were silent. The group grooming Kindiki did not go down. They continued with their plots.
The third episode was now to pull a surprise and take over the leadership of Njuri Ncheke. Noticing that Uhuru listens to wazee, they decided to have their man coronated as the spokesman of the Ameru people, contrary to any known community norms.
 A section of elders met and made Kindiki one of their own and immediately declared him the community spokesman. Before the ink was dry, another section of the Njuri Ncheke was up in arms that its name was being used for self gains by a few leaders. They issued a notice for a meeting of all its members to assemble at their headquarters to pass crucial resolutions and elect new officials. This came to pass and the elders who presided over the making of Kindiki the Ameru spokesperson were removed and new officials elected and later coronated in the council’s shrine a week later. With the ousted leaders running to the courts, the new leaders were installed as the bonafide office bearers. This became a serious setback for Kindiki and his team.
As if still not sure of what will or can work, Kindiki and his team has now gone to another level. This time round, the man is said to have managed to divide the once united Meru parliamentary group. On his side are MPs Kathuri Murungi, Mpuru Aburi, Kubai Kiringo, David Karithi and Dawood Rahim.
The senator met the said legislators recently and discussed a raft of activities they are to undertake to popularise him. To start with was the launch of Jap in Meru county where they were to bring people to Meru town to be addressed by the party officials and the professor himself. This one has since been overtaken by events after the party officials realised that it was headed for a flop. According to sources, most of the MPs were not to attend but would be fully represented. It is however not clear who was to fund the activity though fear is gripping the village that CDF resources could be channelled there. 
The majority leader is also said to have assigned the leaders the task of ousting Linturi as the Meru parliamentary group chair. This one was done almost immediately thereafter but in a clumsy way.
 In exchange, the senator is said to have promised to make sure that the legislators will as they wish meet whichever CS or anyone in the government anytime. Barely a week after the removal, another meeting was held by now a larger group and dismissed the earlier decision as mere propaganda and ill bent to fool the public.
With these fights in the community, Jap risks losing grip in the region. Kindiki seen as the president and his deputy’s man, mounting coups almost everywhere in his neighbouring Meru County, leaves everyone with questions. If pushed further, could the Meru county leaders give Jap a wide berth? This also makes the region a fertile ground for opposition to pitch tent wooing the leaders being fought by the ‘system’. With politics being dynamic as they are, one can only wait and see!
Events ahead of planned Uhuru visit in the region clearly show all is not well. Two camps have emerged one allied to TNA in Jubilee alliance while the Kindiki one is sympathetic to URP.
Sources say Uhuru is more at home with the Kiraitu-Linturi axis than to Kindiki one. The man who links Uhuru with Kiraitu is former powerful man in Kibaki regime Francis Muthaura. He has access to State House and was instrumental in brokering a recent visit by Meru leaders to see Uhuru.
Uhuru handlers are keenly following events in Meru politics and want to control it not through a second proxy in Jubilee. Analysts say even with the formation of Jap, two centres of power will continue to exist. One around Uhuru’s TNA and the other revolving around Ruto’s URP.
Uhuru is close to Kiraitu and during Jap retreat in Naivasha, he is said to have engaged the senator to back the idea. The two also worked closely in the Kibaki cabinet. To TNA, Kindiki is hanging on Ruto to survive. He even invited the DP to grace the president’s tour in the region to counter Kiraitu camp.