Why Uhuru Kenyatta cancelled Kitui trip
A group of professionals from the region had influenced the choice of a venue and prepared a programme without involving local elected leaders, prompting threats to boycott the function.
Mr Kenyatta was scheduled to meet the professionals at Kyondoni Mixed Day Secondary School in Kitui West constituency, which is represented in Parliament by Minority leader Francis Nyenze.
According to the programme, none of the Kitui MPs was to speak at the function, except Mr Nyenze and Governor Julius Malombe.
Wiper MPs from the region questioned the political implications of Mr Nyenze hosting the President without involving the region’s leadership.
They accused him of abdicating his role as Minority Leader and helping the ruling Jubilee Coalition to make political inroads into the region.
They also demanded that he retract a statement he had made urging the people to turn out in large numbers for the President’s meeting.
They said the controversy surrounding the President’s visit would dent Mr Nyenze’s standing as the leader of the Opposition in Parliament.
UNDERMINE CORD LEADERS
“You can’t fly the Opposition flag in Parliament when you’re also helping our Jubilee rivals to make inroads through clandestine ways that undermine elected Cord leaders,” said Mutito MP Mutua Muluvi.
The MPs, who included Ms Nyiva Mwendwa (Woman Representative) and Mr Makali Mulu (Kitui Central), insisted that they must be consulted because they are the people’s representatives.
Mr Nyenze said he had agreed to retract his earlier statement after consultations with his colleagues and the party leadership, prompting Mr Kenyatta’s handlers to cancel the trip.
Green Africa Foundation chairman Isaac Kalua and IEBC communications manager Tabitha Mutemi were among the organisers of the visit.
Mr Kenyatta was to preside over a “town-hall style” plenary meeting, where locals were to raise “pertinent development issues” affecting the county, with ministers responding.
According to Mr Kalua, the function was meant to be the launch of the President’s new way of engaging the people directly through a programme dubbed, Kenya Yetu Sauti Yangu Professional Forum.
“There was nothing secretive because the event was to be televised live and elected leaders were to meet the President separately before the plenary started.”
Kitui leaders, including Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu, had demanded that the trip be cancelled to allow for proper preparations.
Elected leaders were uncomfortable about the meeting, as most of them had learnt about it from the media.
On Thursday, Mrs Ngilu hosted MPs from Kitui, the majority belonging to Wiper party, in her office, and supported the appeal to call off the trip.