President William Ruto visits part of restless Mt Kenya region for five days starting Saturday August 5, 2023 as issues of coffee market collapse, brokers, Handshake and ‘one man, one shilling, one vote’ politics rage in the region.
The President will tour Kiambu County whose Governor is Mr Kimani wa Matangi, Irungu Kang’ata’s Murang’a, Kirinyaga headed by Anne Waiguru as well as Mutahi Kahiga’s Nyeri County.
The region is key to President Ruto’s rule as he battles multiple challenges arising from an outcry about high cost of living, harsh taxation regimes and anti-government protests now being arbitrated by former Nigeria President Mr Olusegun Obasanjo as well as impatience about his pre-election pledges.
Mt Kenya gave the president 83 per cent of votes in the August 9 General Election and accounts for 47 percent of his government—a position pundits say he got no choice but strive to consolidate as he retains an eye on 2027 second term bid.
Githunguri MP Gathoni wa Muchomba has since asked the President to order that the government uses the Coffee Cherry Advance Revolving Fund to buy off coffee from farmers following the collapse of the market owing to the recent cancellation of brokerage licenses.
“As it stands, the sector can only start paying farmers in January. There is Sh25 billion belonging to farmers and banked by New Kenya Planters Co-Operative Union (KPCU)…That cash should be used to buy off coffee from farers as we wait for the government to reform the sector,” she said recently.
Murang’a Senator Joe Nyutu said “we are happy to host the head of State in the region and we will basically express our unconditional support for him and we will also use the same opportunity to lobby for our development interests”.
Mr Nyutu said “the president has assured us that he remains committed to ensuring that we as a region achieve development projects that will transform quality of life for area people”.
According to the President’s schedule released by Presidential communication department on Thursday, Dr Ruto will set off on Saturday where on road; he will address crowds at Githurai and Kenol towns.
He will then travel to Kagio market in Kirinyaga County where he will commission a water project before addressing wananchi at Baricho shopping centre.
He will set off to Karatina town—the home turf of his Deputy Mr Rigathi Gachagua—where he will commission the Marua-State Lodge Road.
The road is billed as important in easing movement of people, goods and services as well as spur growth in the area.
On Sunday, the Head of State will transform the Sagana State Lodge into a worship centre where he will host interdenominational prayer service.
Come Monday and he will tour Mukurwe-ini constituency in Nyeri County where he will commission a road before venturing into neighbouring Tetu and Othaya constituencies to launch water projects.
He will later in the day tour Nyeri town which is the Central region seat of power where he will open a bus park that Governor Kahiga said will help decongest the town, create small hawking hustles as well as create a friendly transport environment.
On Tuesday, he will open a new Kenya Co-operative Creameries facility in Kiganjo Town of Nyeri County and later return to the Sagana State Lodge for a Mt Kenya leaders meeting.
The state House brief said the meeting agenda will be about agriculture, infrastructure, health and education where elected leaders will attend.
He will wrap up his tour by opening the three-storeyed 175-bed capacity Naromoru Level Four Hospital in Nyeri County before launching affordable housing project in Gichugu constituency—the home turf of Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party’s last year Presidential race running mate Martha Karua.
He will on his way back to Nairobi that Wednesday make a stopover in Kiambu County where he will commission the Karimenu Dam Water Supply Project and also launch affordable housing.
Mr Gachagua and National Assembly Majority leader Mr Kimani Ichung’wa have since declared that the region will not embrace any talks about a Handshake with Mr Raila Odinga in the Obasajo led talks.