Muturi coronation ‘to set stage for new alliances’

Justin Muturi

National assembly Speaker Justin Muturi (centre) with National Council of Elders members when he was installed the Mt Kenya East spokesman at Njuri Ncheke shrines in Meru county on March 6.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Some see Mr Muturi’s endorsement as the Gikuyu, Embu, Meru, Association community spokesman as a boost to his political ambitions.
  • Governors Waiguru and Iria have dismissed the crowning of National Assembly Speaker as inconsequential.

The naming of National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi as Mt Kenya spokesman today is expected to set the stage for political realignments in the region.

Though touted as a cultural event, the region’s power and succession politics is expected to assume fresh a dimension after the ceremony that is to be held at Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga shrine in Murang’a county.

Some see Mr Muturi’s endorsement as the Gikuyu, Embu, Meru, Association community spokesman as a boost to his political ambitions.

The National Assembly Speaker, who is from the Mbeere community, has the support of governors Kiraitu Murungi (Meru), Martin Wambora (Embu) and Muthomi Njuki (Tharaka Nithi).
The three county bosses from Mt Kenya East have been invited to the function. 

But Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru and her Murang’a colleague Mwangi wa Iria have dismissed Mr Muturi’s elevation, saying President Uhuru Kenyatta remains the Mt Kenya kingpin.

Police officers arrested Murang’a Nominated Ward Representative Habile Chege, who led a protest against the ceremony at Ihura stadium, yesterday.

The officers said the MCA and his group defied the guidelines on coronavirus. 

Unfazed by criticism

By being named the regional spokesman, Mr Muturi appears to be casting his net beyond his Mt Kenya East backyard, leading to murmurs that he could be seeking to consolidate his political position ahead of the General Election next year. 

In an interview with the Nation, Mr Muturi remained unfazed by criticism from politicians who deem him unfit for the position. 

He said his elevation is meant to give Mt Kenya a political direction.

“The idea is to be able to reach out to everybody and bring in as much as possible through persuasion, consultation and discussion. I am capable of carrying out the responsibilities elders will bestow on me. I’m ready for their advice because I know Saturday will be the apex of this long and demanding journey,” he said. 

President Kenyatta is on record saying Mt Kenya may not have a serious presidential contender in 2022 but added that he would still be at the centre of any political negotiations.

Mr Muturi has been in seclusion for eight days in preparation for the coronation. 
Elders have been visiting the Speaker’s residence in Nairobi to “cleanse” him  as the elaborate ceremony approaches. 

During that time, Mr Muturi said he was not allowed to eat roasted meat. Mr Muturi was also required to bathe using river water.

Unify the region

“It has been a moment of self-reflection. I kept thinking about issues affecting the region, and country. I know there will be different opinions but sharing ideas and reaching out to people is very important. Everyone’s opinion counts,” Mr Muturi said.

Elders planning the event said they settled on the former Siakago MP as he is best placed to unify the region.

Prof Peter Kagwanja, a political analyst, said the elevation to a spokesman would help Mr Muturi remain politically relevant especially in the region’s succession debate.

Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi said Mr Muturi is equal to the task.

“He’s done well in the National Assembly,” he said.

Governor Waiguru said the event is of no political significance.

“The people of Mt Kenya never had cultural kingpins and spokespersons,” she said.


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