Bring it on, but prepare for a bruising battle. That is the message Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi is sending to his political rivals, even as he warns them that he has never lost an election in his 30-year career and will not start with next year’s gubernatorial contest.
Mr Murungi has kicked off a spirited campaign to defend his seat for a second and final term as governor despite mounting political pressure.
The county chief is staring at opposition from his bitter rival, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya, and a majority of members of parliament in the region who are allied to Deputy President William Ruto. He is also facing an additional challenge of running his Devolution Empowerment Party (DEP).
Speaking at Maili Tatu in Igembe Central where he presided over a youth empowerment rally, Mr Murungi dismissed those who have faulted his decision to back Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party Raila Odinga’s presidential bid.
“I am very experienced in politics. I am the longest serving politician in this region. Not even the late Jackson Angaine can match my experience. I have never lost an election and I won’t lose in 2022. Even those who have been calling me names are welcome to come for political advice from me,” the governor said.
Mr Murungi’s remarks come after Dr Ruto’s allies appeared to woo Mr Munya to run for governor on a United Democratic Alliance (UDA) ticket.
Mr Murungi said he was not scared of competition and would face off with Mr Munya and other contenders next year.
“If Mr Munya joins UDA, I am ready to face him. After all, a decorated donkey is still a donkey,” Mr Murungi said. He assured his supporters that DEP will not be disbanded.
“I have a lot of experience in the formation of political parties. Based on the experience with the Jubilee Party, I will never agree to any request to fold our new party. The Bus is here to stay,” he said.
Mr Murungi said his administration had set aside Sh37 million this financial year to empower small traders and boda boda operators.
“People have been going round talking of how they will empower the poor. But this has been my agenda all along. I am not just making promises for 2022 but we are doing it now. I have instructed the Trade executive to spend Sh20 million in supporting the small traders. Another Sh17 million will go to boda boda operators,” he said, adding that his intention was to uplift those at the bottom of the economic pyramid using the county’s resources.
“Our people cannot progress without money. That is why I want to empower more people financially,” Mr Murungi said.