Meet Mt Kenya MP using ugali cookouts to drive grassroots agenda

Mary Wa Maua

Maragua MP Mary Wa Maua (in black T-shirt) leads residents of Gathaithi and Mihang'o in preparing sukumawiki during an eat together public meeting on February 4, 2023.

Photo credit: MWangi Muiruri I ANtion mEdia group

While many Mt Kenya region politicians contract the services of musicians and comedians to draw crowds, Maragua MP Mary wa Maua is using ugali and sukumawiki meals.

And as they feast, she drives home her agenda for the constituents and invites other guests who accompany her to the functions to also speak.

"We love this new method of interacting with our leaders ... The best route to a person's soul is through the stomach ... with the cost of living having hit the rooftop, she is doing us great by making us grab a meal during her meetings," said Mr Simon Kamau, who attended the MPs Saturday fete at Gathaithi and Mihang'o villages.

After they ate together, she led the residents in opening a road that connects the two villages. She and the crowd congregated on the banks of River Kanyururuku where they ate as they listened to speeches.

"These mashinani (grassroots) interactions with the people are providing an opportunity to speak on vices such as alcohol and drug abuse, the general social issues affecting the society as well as parenting," the MP said.

She said the idea was mooted after she commissioned a study to gather how best she could interact with her people. "And with ears on the ground, we were able to come up with a technique that best responds, with finality, to the problems affecting them."

She had earlier visited Maragua Ridge, where she was accompanied by Muranga South Deputy County Commissioner Gitonga Murungi and other members of the area security.

"The people ventilated different agendas touching on roads, electricity, water, security, markets, boundary reviews, alcoholism and a need for a health centre in the area," she said.

She said that when people come together in feasting, things happen..."(it is) why I have resolved to have grassroots-based leadership to listen to the needs of the people and offer amicable solutions".