The endorsement of house speaker Justin Muturi by William Ruto for the Embu gubernatorial seat in 2022 polls has changed the political equation in the region.
Initially, there were reports on the ground that Muturi was among Mount Kenya political giants Ruto was fishing for a running mate, but the endorsement now leaves him out of the equation. In upper Mount Kenya region of Embu and Meru, Muturi by virtue of being the number three powerful man in the country, commands respect.
In case something happens to both Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy leaving the presidency vacant, Muturi will occupy the plum presidency seat although others say the hot seat on the hill is not a soft landing.
The DP endorsed Muturi for the Embu gubernatorial seat in 2022 polls during a prayer service for Manyatta MP John Muchiri in Kigari, Embu where he noted that the latter has enough experience.
Ruto who was accompanied by Mount Kenya leaders among them Kiambu county boss Ferdinand Waititu and nominated MPs Cecily Mbarire and Charles Kariuki, Mbeere North said he will blame area MPs should the speaker fail to secure ‘what he is looking for’, though Muturi is yet to publicly declare his bid for the seat currently under Martin Wambora.
The move came at a time key allies of Uhuru are strategically aligning themselves in various camps as they prepare for a life without him at the helm after the 2022 general election.
Muturi also endorsed Ruto’s presidential bid in 2022 during the thanksgiving prayer service, hence departing from the position held by his boss, Uhuru, who appears wary of the DP’s power plan.
Others say that Muturi’s decision to back Ruto manifests deep division within Uhuru key allies with one behind Ruto and other against Ruto going for the presidency. Muturi is close to Uhuru and was even an official of Kanu the party Uhuru made his first attempt on the presidency on in 2002.
During the burial of the speaker’s mother, Uhuru surprised many when he claimed that the departed was close to him and used to visit the home enjoying a meal. Uhuru is said to have stood with Muturi when a section in Jubilee were pushing to have Devolution cabinet secretary Eugene Wamalwa named speaker replacing Muturi in parliament. Instead, former Bungoma governor Kenneth Lusaka, a key ally of Ruto and a Bukusu like Wamalwa, was to land senate speaker slot.
The speaker’s decision to back Ruto came shortly after former Jubilee vice-chair David Murathe dismissed the DP’s presidential bid and started courting Amani National Party leader Musalia Mudavadi. Murathe just like Muturi is close to Uhuru.
During the church service, Ruto praised Muturi for his experience in national leadership, telling the congregation that the county was favoured to be the home of the third most powerful person in the government after Uhuru and himself.
He, however, stated that there would be no direct nomination and all aspiring flagbearers for different positions would have to battle it out. Word has it that Ruto, using Muturi a lawyer by profession, has been trying to reach a truce with Uhuru in his succession game.
Just like Murathe and Njee Muturi, the former solicitor general and now a senior State House official, the speaker happens to be Uhuru drinking buddy who can access State House at his own will. Muturi, who was also in attendance at Ruto church function, praised the deputy president.
Muturi has been Uhuru’s confidant for many years and earned nomination to become speaker of the national assembly in 2013 when the latter was elected president.
He has shifted support to the Ruto camp after it became apparent that Uhuru is planning a future without the DP and without allies who stood by him when his coalition swept into power in 2013.
The speaker has also held a series of meetings with Ruto who has assured him of support to be elected Embu governor or continue to serve as speaker well beyond 2022 in exchange for support of the DP’s legislative agenda.
Ruto also wants Muturi and leader of majority in parliament Aden Duale to help navigate constitutional amendment bills introduced to the house that seek to restructure the executive through the introduction of the position of an executive prime minister which is widely believed to be the position Uhuru seeks to occupy after expiry of his presidency in 2022. Another is via the referendum.
The deal to create a prime minister’s office is suspected to be part of the power deal between Uhuru and Raila as presidential candidate in 2022. Ruto has openly opposed any plans to dilute the powers of the presidency through creation of the PM’s office
It is imperative to note, Muturi and Duale are chair and deputy chair the powerful 12 member house business committee that sets the agenda to be transacted by members during each parliamentary session. Here the deputy president remains in total control of any business presented in the house.
Muturi began his political career when he was first elected to the 8th parliament in 1999 through a by-election to represent the then Siakago constituency now Mbeere North.
In the 2002 general election, Muturi was re-elected to the 9th parliament to represent the same constituency on a Kanu ticket.
In 2008, Muturi was elected the party’s national organising secretary for a term of five years.
During the same period, he became one of the closest confidants of Uhuru who was by then the official opposition leader.
During his second term in parliament between 2003 and 2007, Muturi served as the opposition chief whip.
Ruto’s endorsement of Muturi comes barely a year after Wambora assured Baringo senator and Kanu chairman Gideon Moi of the support of Embu people in his 2022 political ambitions.
Speaking at a conference of secondary school heads from Baringo county at a hotel in Embu mid last year, Wambora said Gideon was the most popular senator in Embu.
“Gideon is the most popular senator to Embu people. Even when you have ambitions in 2022, Embu people will be behind you,” assured Wambora.
He praised the Baringo senator for standing with him when he was impeached twice in 2014.
“Gideon really fought hard for me during my impeachment. He told senators that they did not know what they were doing. I’m grateful for him for fighting for me,” he said.
Gideon on his part described Wambora as a great friend, an honest man of high integrity whom he stood with during the ouster motion even when other senators disapproved his stand.
Wambora earned the trust of former president Daniel arap Moi when he served as Baringo district commissioner in the Kanu era and later a permanent secretary of Roads and Transport.
Wambora who has survived multiple impeachment attempts is now eyeing a cabinet secretary post if Gideon forms the next government.
Former Embu senator Lenny Kivuti has also vowed to seek the governor’s seat again in 2022. Kivuti unsuccessfully contested against Wambora’s re-election in 2017 but he was beaten by a small margin of 985 votes.
He then challenged Wambora’s victory in court but the Supreme Court upheld Wambora’s win, saying he won fairly.
After losing the petition at the Supreme Court, the former senator promised to support Wambora in his second and final term to work for the Embu people without interruption.
In the 2017 elections, Kivuti contested for the gubernatorial seat on Maendeleo Chap Chap headed by Machakos governor Alfred Mutua. Kivuti is likely to be with Gideon’s side. Kivuti was a key player in Cyrus Jirongo then led YK92.
He is currently aligning himself to the Kieleweke team that is opposed to Ruto.
On the gubernatorial race also will be Jubilee nominated MP Cecily Mbarire.
She is the former Runyenjes MP and unsuccessfully contested for the Embu governor seat in last year’s polls but lost in the Jubilee party primaries.
Mbarire, a close ally of Uhuru is expected to go for the seat using a party the head of state will throw his support in.
Also to be in the race is former PS in the Transport ministry Cyrus Njiru.
Njiru is currently the interim vice chairman of the Transformation National Alliance Party (TNA) formed by Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria.
Njiru is associated with the Kuria party formed by Jubilee members fearing Jubilee’s imminent collapse.
TNA vice chairman said Jubilee has failed completely to deliver on the many promises Uhuru made in both the 2013 and 2017 general elections.
Njiru served in the giant Transport ministry during Mwai Kibaki’s tenure and unsuccessfully ran for Embu governor in 2017.
In the 2017 polls, Njiru emerged a distant fourth in a race won by Wambora followed by Kivuti and Kithinji Kiragu. Those who trailed were Njiru followed Leonard Muriuki and Njagi Kumantha.
Gideon Moi wants CS Chelugui sacked – Weekly Citizen
Baringo Senator Gideon Moi’s political rival Labour cabinet secretary Simon Chelugui’s days are numbered in Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration. It is said Gideon is pushing for Chelugui’s firing from the cabinet. He is a close ally of the embattled deputy president William Ruto and was trounced by Gideon in the senatorial elections during the last general elections. But state operatives, are, however, divided as to who between former Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Kiprono Kittony and former cabinet minister Isaac Ruto, will succeed Chelugui during the much-awaited mini reshuffle.
Lands Cabinet secretary Farida Karoney is also on line of those to be sacked as her fate is sealed while Foreign Affairs chief administrative secretary Ababu Namwamba is a victim of circumstances, and he is expected to hand over to his political rival, former cabinet secretary Paul Otuoma. Ababu’s loyalty to Ruto has cost him his position as he recently hosted the deputy president in Budalangi where he had been MP, following flash floods in the area, forgetting he was stopped by Devolution Cabinet secretary Eugene Wamalwa who does not see eye-to-eye with the Tanga Tanga brigade leader.
Former chief-of-defense forces Samson Mwathethe is warming up to take a ministerial post with Uhuru’s kitchen cabinet having been forced to go back to the drawing board ahead of the reshuffle. Despite his retirement age, Mwathethe is still energetic enough to serve the country for the next five years. Beatrice Gambo, a board member of Coast Development Authority, is warming up to take one of the slots after the fallout between the president and his deputy led to the expulsion of nominated senators.
Others in the rebel camp are Falhada Iman, Naomi Waqo, Victor Prengei and Mary Yiane among others. Gambo had worked tirelessly during the campaigns to ensure Uhuru Kenyatta was re-elected during the last general elections. She was instrumental to JP Mombasa gubernatorial loser Suleiman Shahbal who is now close to Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho. Before jumping ship to the ruling party, she had worked in Raila’s office in charge of gender.
Dirty moves emerge in hot Uasin Gishu politics – Weekly Citizen
Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi has refuted claims of scheming to vie for the Uasin Gishu senatorial position in 2022 as the region’s politics take centre stage. This is after hundreds of posters were circulated in Eldoret and later entire county that had images of Sudi and his Kesses counterpart Swarup Mishra. Sudi was to vie for a senatorial slot with Mishra gubernatorial. Those eyeing the seat are businessman Zedekiah Bundotich alias Buzeki, Solomon Maritim Kiptarbei who has gone silent. He lost to Jackson Mandago in Jubilee part nominations2017. Maritim is broke and has been trying to reach Kanu leader Gideon Moi for financial help.
At one time the mean young Moi gave him Sh2000 for fuel and lunch. Others being mentioned are former Kanu party member Jonathan Bii alias Chililim from Soy. Paul Bitok is also eyeing the seat. Whereas Sudi dismissed the posters and accused his political rivals of using evil schemes to ruin his otherwise good reputation, Mishra did not respond leaving many wondering if he was behind the move to taste political waters. Sudi has been at war with Uasin Gishu governor Jackson Mandago and suspects the governor was behind the posters to detract him from opposing the controversial purchase of National Bank building at the cost of Sh570 million.
Mandago is not close to DP camp and after his 2017 victory openly stated, Nasa move to endorse him helped him capture the seat. The posters were littered days after Sudi met Raila Odinga over lunch at a city hotel, Rubby Cut. To avoid speculations, Sudi posted, “Earlier today I bumped into former PM, Raila Odinga having lunch at a popular restaurant. We had lunch together and thereafter chit chats.
Raila is like a father to me,” Sudi is close to the DP and recently claimed, Nandi Hills MP, Alfred Keter, was operating a “political Koinange in the Kalenjin nation”. Sudi claimed Keter and Cherengany MP Jushua Kutuny were political conmen and prostitutes. MP Keter had claimed Ruto allies were bitter that Uhuru Kenyatta holding talks with anti-DP Kalenjin rebels as they keep on engaged in private meetings with their master.
Nyagarama jolted as court trashes appointments – Weekly Citizen
Nyamira county governor John Nyagarama suffered a setback after Kisumu Labour and Employment Relation Court reinstated four members of the county executive whom he had replaced. The four are now in office for the second week fully discharging their duties without any interruption as the governor bites his fingers. The same court at the same time also reinstated 634 employees he had sacked one year ago bringing confusion and headache in his final lap of his administration. Those whom governor Nyagarama edged out after their two-year term contract allegedly expired are Johnson Obike (tourism, trade and cooperative development ), Peris Mongare (agriculture, livestock and fisheries), Samuel Mokua (environment, water and mining) and Gladys Momanyi (education and vocational training). Those whose terms were extended include Douglas Bosire (health), John Omanwa (transport, roads and public works), Bernard Mangaa (public administration and management), Zablon Ochiri (lands, physical planning and urban development), and Peter Muga, (finance and Economic planning).
Nyagarama then picked new nominees whose names he forwarded for vetting by Nyamira county assembly before the Kisumu Labour and Employment Relation High Court issued an order stopping the exercise include Samson Barongo (education and vocational training), Pauline Oyugi (agriculture, fisheries and livestock), Shem Kiage (environment, water, energy and mining), Stella Nyambariga (gender, youth, sports and culture), and Stella Anyega (trade, tourism and cooperative development). Earlier, deputy governor Amos Nyaribo had denounced the changes which he said were done behind his back and were thus, geared at injuring him politically and undermining his candidature for the seat of the governor which he has already declared his candidature for come the next general elections to take from the incumbent.
Without mincing words, Nyaribo rubbished the changes terming them as inconsequential as they were politically motivated and influenced, nepotism based and above all, lacked regional balance. The emotionally charged Nyaribo had told Weekly Citizen that Governor Nyagarama did not consult him when he made changes as per the tradition and a memorandum of understanding which they had signed and therefore, vowed to teach him a political lesson which he could not forget. “The changes were merely meant to bring on board people who could protect him from the economic and political crimes he has committed after his retirement. But I want to tell him broad daylight that things are not going be the manner and way he has planned,” he told this writer. Nyaribo was quick to drag the name of the Borabu MP Ben Momanyi who is his cousin and whom Nyagarama wants to succeed him after his term expires.
After Nyagarama bundled out the four members of the county executive committee, they quickly moved to Kisumu Labour and Employment Relation High Court where they filed their case before the orders were granted. Judge Mathew Nderi ruled that the four should stay back in their offices until the matter is heard and determined. But before the matter was heard Nyagarama moved to the same court to challenge the orders but his petition was dismissed. Nyamira county secretary James Natabo said the four were allowed back to take their positions through the court order. “As a county government, we respect court orders and therefore we had nothing to do but to allow them to come back as per the court order,” Natabo told Weekly Citizen. He said the appointing authority of the members of the county executive was the prerogative of the governor and therefore never wished to be dragged into the matter.
The 634 employees had been removed from the payroll on grounds that they were improperly employed. The Kenya county government workers secretary Patrick Mobegi welcomed the ruling saying that justice had been done to the workers who had been oppressed by the top leadership of the county. Talking to this writer Mobegi said that the ruling should not be challenged as rumours were being peddled in the county corridors and told the county government to immediately move with speed to reinstate the workers back to the payroll and subsequently be paid their salaries arrears without any delay. Mobegi said he would not be cowed by the county government authorities in the course of fighting and championing for the rights of the county workers.
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