We concede defeat but we made a wise choice in Raila, say Kikuyu elders

Kikuyu Council of Elders Chairman Wachira Kiago

Kikuyu Council of Elders Chairman Wachira Kiago who has said they were not guided by populist decisions or emotions when they endorsed Azimio la Umoja's Raila Odinga as their presidential candidate of choice.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The Kikuyu Council of Elders on Sunday admitted that it failed to read the political mood in Mt Kenya region before it settled on supporting the Azimio la Umoja coalition and its presidential flagbearer Raila Odinga.

The council's chairman, Mr Wachira Kiago, said the results that saw Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance eclipse Azimio by emphatically taking over the region’s political soul is food for thought.

"We concede defeat but that is not to say we were wrong. Just like the way Jesus Christ who was messiah was crucified by the decision of the majority, it turned out that majority are not always right," he said.

Not guided by emotions

Mr Kiago said council of elders is not guided by populist decisions or emotions, rather, it evaluates situations and offers guidance based on wisdom.

He said there are those who are taunting the elders for expressing a political stand that was resolutely trashed by the electorate.

"We said we supported President Uhuru Kenyatta to be out kingpin even after retiring. We settled for supporting Raila Odinga as the most ideal presidential candidate to succeed Kenyatta. That remains the wisest stand for our community regardless of the outcome of the vote," he said.

As things stand in Mt Kenya, Dr Ruto and his running mate Rigathi Gachagua got the upper hand in the August 9, 2022 elections against President Kenyatta's proposed Mr Odinga and his running mate Martha Karua ticket.

But Mr Kiago said the scenario is perfectly okay in a democracy “but it doesn't mean it is wisdom”.

“Our community made an emotional decision and it is a matter of time before they sober up and see our point," he said.

Grave mistake

"Our people will soon see the grave mistake they made to sell their souls to Dr Ruto and trusting their fate in his hands without even [having] a political party of their own," he added.

His sentiments were echoed by the Jubilee Party Secretary-General Jeremiah Kioni.

"We underrated Dr Ruto’s influence in Mt Kenya region and the voting pattern was unexpected. Our stand for the truth, fairness and justice for the community was thoroughly thrashed by lies, deceit, bribery and propaganda from the Dr Ruto’s camp," Mr Kioni said.

He said Mt Kenya region will overcome the noose it has placed round its neck and emerge stronger in the near future "after learning the hard way".

Elders splinter group

But in response to the sentiments of the Kikuyu Council of Elders led by Mr Kiago, a splinter group of the elders led by President Kenyatta's first cousin Kung'u Muigai said "the decision that our voters took was genius".

"The basic work of elders is to bring the people together, engage them in dialogue and make collective consensual decisions to be implemented as a bidding voice," Mr Muigai said.

He said that Mr Kiago and his group pursued their own interests in endorsing Mr Odinga.

"As it is always the case when all dealings in the cover of darkness gets bared, it has now emerged that all along, they had no people behind their political declarations," Mr Muigai said.

"It is ridiculous to say that you represent the people and they are behind your declarations only to be left standing by yourself when the vote is called," he added.

No regrets

Mr Muigai said Mt Kenya “does not have any regrets” for the decision it made "since there are justifiable reasons as to why it was the case".

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, who was in May 2021 coroneted as Mount Kenya spokesman at the Mukurwe wa Nyagathaanga Shrine in Murang'a County to be the Mt Kenya region spokesman said he is the representative of “our people's voice who told me to drop my presidential bid and back Dr Ruto".

Mr Muturi told Nation.africa that "it was very clear that Mt Kenya people wanted nothing to do with President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga.

“It (Mt Kenya) was not even interested in the presidency and it was clear that they had adopted Dr Ruto as one of their own," he said.