Munya-Kiraitu wars hurting Azimio

Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Murithi (L) and Igembe North MP Maore Maoka during a women meeting at Maua Stadium on March 10, 2022.

Photo credit: David Muchui I Nation Media Group

National Assembly deputy majority whip Maoka Maore wants a ceasefire between Meru political bigwigs Kiraitu Murungi and Peter Munya, saying their supremacy battle could derail Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition campaigns in the county.

He said failure by Mr Munya to support Mr Murungi, who is the outfit’s gubernatorial candidate could divide votes “and lead to losses that could affect various seats.”

Speaking at Laare town after meeting Jubilee women and youth supporters, Mr Maore said the disunity had led to the coalition party holding separate campaigns.

Since the two political friends-turned-foes were united by Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition presidential candidate Raila Odinga, they have not held a joint political rally while Mr Munya has not campaigned for Mr Murungi.

“The friction you see is a power struggle between a few people and is not in the interest of Azimio to have conflict. It is greed and it borders on foolishness because if Azimio loses senate, governor, MPs and other seats, how will you get the positions you are looking for?” he posed.

Mr Murungi has on a number of occasions pleaded with Mr Munya to support his bid, accusing the CS of quietly throwing his weight behind Woman Rep Kawira Mwangaza as an Independent candidate.

However, a section of Mr Munya’s allies who stood to benefit from his candidature as Meru governor say they were interested in supporting a candidate who would accommodate them.

This week, EALA MP Mpuru Aburi who is a close ally of Mr Munya appeared to tell Azimio supporters at Kariene, Imenti Central that they were free to vote for Ms Mwangaza.

Mr Aburi told the electorate that they did not have a problem if they decided to vote for Ms Mwangaza as long as they voted for Mr Odinga.

Mr Mpuru who is seeking the Tigania East parliamentary seat says he has differences with Mr Murungi since he had filed cases against him and other Mr Munya’s allies.

Mr Maore said though Azimio ratings had increased in Meru, the division could cost the coalition various seats.

“You cannot advise politicians, the greed in them supersedes all the other things. Azimio has one candidate who is Kiraitu Murungi, the other one being pushed has six per cent popularity… (Mr) Munya is trying to show that he has support, he will be ashamed,” he said.

Mr Maore said he hoped the issue of having peripheral candidates asked to step down for the stronger ones would be handled well so as to ensure the coalition did not lose support.

Mr Munya and Mr Murungi have been engaged in a war of words over the miraa regulations among other things.

Mr Munya told off Mr Murungi over his opposition of the rules, accusing him of politicizing the matter.

Last Monday, Mr Murungi vowed to seek legal redress and block implementation of the regulations he said would impede revival of the sector that was reeling from the effects of a two-year ban on export to Somalia, the main market.

The regulations provide for among other measures, imposition of a Sh30 a kilo levy on exports of the stimulant and its products and Sh60 a kilo for imports.

The governor argued that the levy, besides other proposed licenses, would increase the cost of doing business and frustrate farmers and traders.
 
He also said the county government was not consulted and that there was no proper public participation before the rules were published, declaring the law "illegal, unconstitutional, null and void."

But speaking to residents of Igembe South at Kiegoi market on Wednesday, Mr Munya hit back and announced a waiver of all levies proposed in the regulations, "until the sector recovers".
 
"Some people have taken advantage of the rules and want to play politics with them. As the Agriculture Cabinet Secretary I have ordered removal of all proposed levies including those on exports until a time when the sector gets on its feet," he said, adding:
 
"I am the one who made the law and if there is any problem we can amend the provisions because it is not cast on stone. But if there is anybody who is aggrieved they can go to court. Let's meet in court and square it out!"
 
And in a direct attack on Mr Murungi, the CS added: "Now that I have said nobody will pay any levy including on export, the county government should also waive charges in markets so that the small trader is not burdened."

The CS said he was determined to ensure a rebound of the sector with resumption of exports to Somalia

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