Kiraitu Murungi, Kithure Kindiki rivalry displayed in Uhuru’s tour
President Uhuru Kenyatta has moved to consolidate his support in the Mt Kenya East region urging locals to unite under one political party.
The President took the Jubilee Alliance Party (JAP) to the doorstep of Kiraitu Murungi’s Alliance Party of Kenya (APK), saying division along party lines would be costly.
Accompanied by his Deputy William Ruto, several MPs and senators, Uhuru emphasised the need for Jubilee Alliance to remain intact.
This happened even as it emerged JAP is forming a summit that will bring together at least four other parties besides URP and TNA. The summit will be the top decision making organ in the Jubilee Alliance and all parties under this umbrella will be represented in the summit and have equal voting powers on any matter related to the coalition.
Membership to the party is drawn from President Kenyatta’s The National Alliance (TNA), Deputy President William Ruto’s United Republican Party (URP), Ford People, New Ford Kenya, United Democratic Party, Grand National Union and Alliance Party of Kenya.
Proposed summit members are President Kenyatta, his deputy Ruto, UDF party leader Musalia Mudavadi, former Justice minister Eugene Wamalwa, Senator Kiraitu Murungi, former Laikipia East MP Mwangi Kiunjuri and former Minister Henry Obwocha.
Asked for a comment, Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau who played a crucial role in the formation of JAP, would not divulge much except to say, “JAP would want to bring together as many people as possible.”
Although legislator Moses Sakuda said formation of a Jubilee summit has since become a reality in accommodating interested political parties, Senator Charles Keter said JAP will hold elections after all the parties have merged.
However, Mudavadi denied knowledge of the merger saying, “In any case I am concentrating on my party,” he said this through his personal assistant Joshua Shitikho.
Similarly, Ford People’s leader Obwocha distanced himself from the claims: “I have called a party meeting next month to discuss this matter. We have issues with Jubilee, we were originally with them but after the elections they have never spoken to us. How do they expect us to co-operate? It is not business as usual,” he said.
But as Uhuru was insisting on unity, the supremacy battles pitting Meru Senator Kiraitu and his Tharaka Nithi counterpart Prof Kithure Kindiki played out during Kenyatta’s visit in the region yesterday.
In what appeared to be a well-rehearsed script, local MPs declared before Kenyatta and his deputy that Kiraitu was the undisputed leader of the Ameru “and anyone seeking to talk to the Meru must do so through him.”
Although President Kenyatta kept on insisting on unity of purpose and the end of squabbles among the politicians, the MPs did not shy away from delving into the issue.
Kenyatta and Ruto rooted for one political party in the Jubilee Alliance saying it was the only way to unite Kenyans and reduce squabbles among the affiliate parties.
“When we went to elections we had TNA, URP and other parties but now we want to be in one family that will ensure we speak in one voice. There is no need to have all these parties and yet we are in one coalition,” Kenyatta said.
Ruto took the same cue saying that unity of purpose was needed in Jubilee to ensure that the government agenda succeeds.
“We cannot afford to continue being divided in different political parties. My friend Kiraitu here had a bus which had no driver, he decided to drive it himself but now we have decided we are going into one house,” said Ruto.
Most of the MPs including the governor in Meru were elected on an APK ticket and there has been discontent over a suggestion for the party to join the recently formed JAP.
Munya has been in the forefront opposing the idea of the dissolution of APK with as late as last month saying the Meru people would form another political party if the bus party was dissolved.
Anytime the MPs spoke, the difference between the local leaders appeared to play out in the open. The MPs described Kiraitu as the “coach of the Meru political team” due to his political experience.
Imenti Central MP Gideon Mwiti Irea set the ball rolling at Kariene market when he declared that “as far as Meru is concerned, Kiraitu is the undisputed king.
At Kathera in Imenti, it took the intervention of Kenyatta for Kindiki to address the gathering after Kiraitu had snubbed him.
Kiraitu who acted as the Master of Ceremony invited Meru Governor Peter Munya, Women Representative Florence Kajuju and local MP Kathuri Murungi to address the gathering with Kindiki standing behind him in the dais.
When Kiraitu asked Ruto to address the meeting before inviting the President, Kenyatta intervened and asked Kiraitu to “give Kindiki a chance to greet the people.”