Karanja Kibicho, Anne Waiguru in ceasefire ahead of President Kenyatta's visit

Karanja Kibicho, Anne Waiguru in ceasefire ahead of President Kenyatta's visit

President Uhuru Kenyatta chats with Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho and Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru upon his arrival at Mwea airstrip in Kirinyaga County on February 1, 2020.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

President Uhuru Kenyatta's planned tour of Kirinyaga County next month has united Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho and Governor Anne Waiguru, who have been bitter rivals.

President Kenyatta will be in the county on October 20 to preside over Mashujaa Day celebrations at Wang'uru stadium in Mwea Constituency.

The duo declared a ceasefire ahead of the visit to show respect for the Head of State and ensure peaceful and successful celebrations.

Mr Kibicho and Ms Waiguru resolved to bury the hatchet during a meeting with all elected leaders as well as former legislators.

Some of those in attendance were MPs Kabinga Wathayu (Mwea), George Kariuki (Ndia), Gichimu Githinji (Gichugu), Munene Wambugu (Kirinyaga Central) and Woman Representative Wangui Ngirici.

Others were Senator Charles Kibiru, Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua, Kirinyaga Deputy Governor Peter Ndambiri, former Ndia MP Stephen Ngari and Kirinyaga County Assembly Majority leader Kamau Murango.

"We have agreed to uphold peace on Mashujaa Day. As Kirinyaga leaders, we shall have the healthiest competition in this region," Dr Kibicho said.

Ms Waiguru noted that their political competition has been an issue of concern.

"We have resolved to represent Kirinyaga well in the celebrations so we shall not do anything to embarrass the President or any leader. We shall go to all the constituencies preaching peace ahead of the celebrations.”

The other leaders present promised to prevail upon their supporters to ensure no disruptions at the event which will attract 10,000 Kenyans and guests from other countries.

"We shall ask our supporters to be calm and accord the President and visiting guests the respect they deserve," Ms Ngirici said.

Local Jubilee Party chairman Mureithi Kang'ara said he was impressed by the way leaders came together as a show of solidarity. He said they will come up with a memorandum which they will submit to the President when he lands in the area.

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The accusations

Dr Kibicho and the governor have been at loggerheads for a long time, with the latter accusing the former of undermining her.

Ms Waiguru had been seeing Dr Kibicho as a stumbling block in her efforts to sustain her political career.

She had accused Dr Kibicho of waging a political war against her and placing hurdles against her every move to frustrate her efforts to recapture her seat in 2022 and to develop the region.

She  said the PS was fighting her politically allegedly by leaning on her political rivals.

She cited a meeting at Kandongu village on Friday, which Dr Kibicho,  Ms Ngirici and her husband Andrew Ngirici attended.

Read: Seven women from Mt Kenya declare interest in governor’s post

During the meeting, Dr Kibicho and Mr Ngirici, a business tycoon who had been at loggerheads since 2017, reconciled and resolved to work together for the unity and development of the region.

Ms Ngirici, Ms Waiguru’s political rival, declared she will vie for the governor seat but Dr Kibicho assured her that he will not fight it out with her as he was already a civil servant.

Ms Waiguru claimed the meeting was convened by Dr Kibicho to fight her politically.

"He has been scheming against me and when taken to task, he denies it. Even the Friday meeting was meant to attack me," she said in reference to Dr Kibicho.

She said Dr Kibicho would have invited all elected leaders to the meeting were he genuinely rooting for the unity of the region.

Ms Waiguru told her political rivals to brace themselves for a tough political duel.

"As they plan how to win, we are also doing the same. Let us wait and see who will triumph," she said.

She further told Dr Kibicho that the Laikipia crisis was a bigger priority than early campaigns.

Further Ms Waiguru claimed that Dr Kibicho was behind her impeachment which was rejected by the Senate, a claim the PS denied.

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Kibicho’s response

But Dr Kibicho insisted he was not interested in any political seat, saying he was satisfied with the job President  Kenyatta gave him.

Further, he said he was neither luring Ms Ngirici to join President Kenyatta's political camp nor had he been carried away by the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) wave which is sweeping across the region.

The PS said his sole objective was to see Kirinyaga united.

Read: Waiguru renews attack on Kibicho, says he’s fanning political hostility

Last year, Ms Waiguru lashed out at Dr Kibicho over the controversial Sh15 billion Kenya Medical Research Institute project and told him to resign and join politics.

She accused the PS of meddling in the project and told him to keep off.

Ms Waiguru was reacting to a tour of the project by Dr Kibicho, whom she said did not consult her office.

During the visit, Dr Kibicho appeared to blame Governor Waiguru's government for delays in the project.

"What is PS Kibicho's interest in this matter?" the governor asked then.

She explained that President Kenyatta required a Memorandum of Understanding to be signed between the county and Kemri for the interests of Kirinyaga residents to be taken into account.

"Is PS Kibicho now superior to the President? If he wants to engage in village politics and insults, he should resign and join others," she said then.