50 Meru MCAs pull out of caucus formed to solidify Kiraitu’s grip


What you need to know:

  • Mr Murungi spearheaded the formation of the Inter-party Political Caucus (IPC) late June.
  • It was intended to unite the MCAs and safeguard his interests at the assembly.

Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi and his allies have been sent back to the drawing board after more than 50 MCAs abandoned a caucus intended to solidify his base at the county assembly.

Mr Murungi spearheaded the formation of the Inter-party Political Caucus (IPC) late June to unite the MCAs and safeguard his interests at the assembly.

But days after the caucus was formed, the governor faced a defeat after his preferred candidate for deputy speaker, Kibirichia MCA Elijah Kirimi, lost to his ardent critic Elias Murega (Municipality Ward).

Speaking to a local TV station on Friday, Mr Murungi admitted backing Mr Kirimi for the deputy speaker’s post.

“It is in the public domain that Mr Murega has been fighting me from the beginning yet I have done a lot of work in Municipality. I couldn’t support him because he has never supported me. Politics is about scratch my back, I scratch yours,” Mr Murungi said.

Call for cooperation

He admitted defeat in the contest and called for cooperation with the MCAs to ensure progress in the county.

Majority Leader Victor Karithi had banked on the IPC to give the governor’s ally an easy win but managed a meagre 23 votes out of the required 46.

Addressing journalists while celebrating the election of Mr Murega on Friday, the MCAs declared the IPC dead, saying it had brought divisions in the assembly.

“IPC is now a political carcass. We cannot have an assembly controlled by external forces. We want to have one assembly that plays its oversight, representation and legislation roles,” Mr Murega said.

He said they abandoned the IPC because it was being used by the governor to advance his interests at the assembly.

“The governor should now go back to the drawing board. We will support him by safeguarding the interests of the public,” the deputy speaker said.

Remove majority leader

His sentiments were backed by Ruiri/Rwarera MCA Peter Mutuma who accused the Majority Leader of using the IPC to muzzle the assembly.

He said they will be pushing for the removal of Mr Karithi as majority leader.

“We want an assembly with diversity of ideas. The governor should stop meddling in assembly affairs because assembly business was not part of his manifesto,” Mr Mutuma said.

He said the governor was misled to take sides in the election of the deputy speaker, forcing the MCAs to assert their independence.

“We have come together to undo the damage done by the IPC. The caucus has caused divisions in the assembly,” Mwanganthia MCA Julius Mbijiwe aid.

Minority Leader Ayub Bundi lauded the move saying it will strengthen the oversight role of the assembly.

“The IPC was meant to protect a few leaders but MCAs have come together to protect the mwananchi. The executive should now do their work expecting clear oversight,” Mr Bundi said.

Caucus still alive

However, Mr Karithi dismissed his colleagues, saying the inter-party political caucus is “alive and kicking”.

He trashed claims that the IPC had caused divisions in the assembly, arguing that a sound legislature must be divided.

“An assembly should have the opposition and the government side for a robust debate. It is not a church where everyone shouts ‘amen’. I support the governor’s agenda in the house because it is good for the people of Meru,” Mr Karithi said.

He said support for the governor at the assembly is still intact despite the deputy speaker’s election upset.