Politics

Uhuru sending mixed signals on succession, say Mt Kenya loyalists

Uhuru sending mixed signals on succession, say Mt Kenya loyalists

Anxiety has gripped President Uhuru Kenyatta’s loyalists in Mt Kenya region over his perceived delay in providing a precise succession plan ahead of the August 9 elections.

This has been compounded by the apparent lack of direction from the Jubilee Party leadership, with some of its most loyal members now looking for a way out.

Some of President Kenyatta's ardent supporters who have stuck with the ‘Handshake’ political deal that brings together the President and Mr Raila Odinga parties have started warning that they would desert Jubilee unless Mr Kenyatta comes up with a clear plan within the next 30 days.

Some of the President’s loyalists are beginning to doubt his sincerity in his many declarations that he will offer them succession guidance and that he will lead the region in campaigning for the ideal presidential candidate.

“We have remained stuck with Jubilee against all odds. We have been hoping that (the party) will be relaunched and we get a clear direction about how we are approaching the 2022 succession plot. We are running late,” said Murang’a Woman Rep Sabina Chege.

Individual aspirants

Ms Chege said the delay in organising a Handshake contest plan is jeopardising the plans of individual aspirants.

Her sentiments resonate with many others in Mt Kenya have been complaining that the President is sending mixed political signals that are confusing.

This has led some of them to ship out of Jubilee to join alternative formations that appear to be focused on the August elections.

“We cannot launch engagement with our target voters because we do not have a party and a plan. We cannot print posters and we cannot give our strategists any direction,” Ms Chege said.

Ms Chege recently announced she would vie for the Murang’a governor seat and was not afraid of being associated with Mr Odinga’s presidential bid.

“I am now putting out a 30-day notice that if by February 5 we will not have received any direction from our Handshake team, especially our party Jubilee, I will commence a personal repackaging drive, decide what seat I will be contesting and proceed to package myself in an alternative party,” she said.

Party of choice

It is the same case for Maragua MP Mary Wamaua, who has been under pressure to announce her party of choice for the August contest.

“What I know is that I will be defending my Maragua seat. I am investing in the people because at the end of the day they are the ones who will vote. I am waiting for that opportune time to announce the party based on how the voters will direct me,” she said.

Kangema MP Muturi Kigano said he would let the people decide who they want for President.

Mr Kigano had teamed up with Mathioya MP Peter Kimari, Gatanga’s Nduati Ngugi, Kigumo’s Wangari Mwaniki, Ms Wamaua and Ms Chege to bet on former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth as the ideal running mate for Mr Odinga.

Former Nyandarua Governor Waithaka Mwangi said "the President has by his continued silence about 2022 complicated matters for his loyalists."

"I doubt the President will be endorsing anyone. It's time for all of us to seek our own political comfort. That is why I have since joined The Service Party,” Mr Mwangi added.

Former Maragua MP Kamande wa Mbuku said: “It appears the Jubilee house has been deserted. None in it so far is showing commitment to give it life. I have since joined United Democratic Alliance," he said.

Ms Chege, alongside Kieni MP Kanini Kega, stood with the President in the Rurii Ward (Nyandarua), Juja and Kiambaa parliamentary by-elections. The seats fell to the Deputy President’s UDA.

No cause for worry

But Mr Kega said there was no cause for worry, saying the Political Parties (Amendment Bill) that is before Parliament will help revive Jubilee party.

"Patience pays and soon Mt Kenya will rally in a single file by latest March and what will be important will be our unity, dedication to peace and prosperity as we retain respect for our statesmen, President Kenyatta," Mr Kega said.

Jubilee Deputy Secretary-General Joshua Kuttuny agreed there was no cause for alarm.

“We are waiting for the party leader to give directions, we are calling on our members to be patient,” Mr Kuttuny told Nation.

He said plans for the party’s National Delegates Convention that was postponed in December were still on.

Remain united

For his part, Mr Kenneth said the most important thing was for Mt Kenya to remain united and focus on negotiating its rightful place in the next government.

“Mt Kenya is a big river…we are not a tributary. Big rivers do not drain into tributaries; it is the other way round. We can only be sure of one thing — that we will not be where we are not supposed to be by poll date,” he said.

Sports CAS Zack Kinuthia, who has announced that he will resign by February 5 to contest the Kigumo seat, has been an ardent supporter of the Handshake and a Mr Odinga presidency.

“Voters are the ones who will dictate contest terms. We are in that crossroads moment where a decision to the left, to the right, forward or backwards is very crucial,” he said.