Alfred Mutua: Why Ukambani must rally behind President Ruto
The Kamba community should rally behind President William Ruto's government and shun the street protests called by the opposition, Foreign and Diaspora Affairs Cabinet Secretary Alfred Mutua has said.
Dr Mutua made this appeal on Thursday evening during a meeting of Kamba leaders and professionals in Nairobi, called to discuss the new political realities in Kenya and what’s at stake for the community.
"The truth is that as a community, we gave President Ruto minimal votes in last year's election, but he has, through key appointments, demonstrated undeserved goodwill to Kambas" he told the leaders.
He explained that in a Cabinet of 22, Kambas bagged key slots including his Foreign and Diaspora Affairs docket.
The CS, who was accompanied by President Ruto’s National Security Advisor, Dr Monica Juma, and six Kamba MPs, said the community is therefore obligated to reciprocate by rallying behind Dr Ruto’s government, for the sake of more development.
"We have myself, Dr Juma, Tourism, Wildlife and Culture Cabinet Secretary Peninah Malonza and Rebecca Miano, the CS for East African Community,” he said, adding the President also appointed three principal secretaries and two chief administrative secretaries from the Ukambani region - a clear indication he wants to work with the community.
"What other expression of political goodwill do we need from the President? I urge all leaders and professionals from Ukambani to appreciate the reality that we have a duly elected President and that the only logical thing to do is support him [so he can] deliver for the country" the CS said.
CS Juma said there was no justification for the street protests called by Mr Odinga and Wiper Democratic Movement leader Kalonzo Musyoka.
"Kenya had a General Election that was acclaimed internationally as the most free and fair, and even from a national security perspective, there's no logic in calling demos which result in loss of lives and destruction of property,” she said.
Dr Juma, the President’s advisor on national security, said Kamba leaders have a duty of care to the country, which they can fulfill by shunning the opposition’s demonstrations because “they benefit no one”,
She said the international community was wondering why opposition leaders were refusing to respect the country's democratic institutions.
CS Juma further told young Kamba leaders that the Ukambani region was the next frontier for Kenya's development so they must provide a leadership that pushes the region forward and be positively different from those who have been in power before them.
Kibwezi West MP Mwengi Mutuse said most MPs from Ukambani were against the demonstrations and assured the two CSs that they'll rally the community behind President Ruto’s government.
"We have learnt from Kisii and Meru communities, which, regardless of the outcome of elections, easily close ranks to join the government of the day for the sake of the development of their region,” said Mr Mutuse, a close ally of Dr Mutua and one of the three MPs elected under the CS’s Maendeleo Chap Chap party.
The meeting came amid a simmering political rivalry amongst Kenya Kwanza leaders in Ukambani. Those allied to the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) were absent.
The meeting looked like a Kamba edition of a series of regional engagement forums spearheaded by Cabinet Secretaries in their respective communities.
It also comes hot on the heels of stakeholder consultations hosted by his colleagues Ezekiel Machogu (Education) and Eliud Owalo (ICT), with leaders from their respective Kisii and Luo communities.
Three distinct political factions have emerged within the Kenya Kwanza leadership in Ukambani region, all of them fighting for the attention of President Ruto.
One group is led by Dr Mutua, who, prior to his Cabinet appointment, was the leader of Maendeleo Chap Chap, which is among the political parties forming the ruling coalition.
The second group coalesces around Johnson Muthama, the immediate former national chairman of the President’s UDA who was recently appointed to the Parliamentary Service Commission, while the third group revolves around Tourism Cabinet Secretary Peninah Malonza.
Both Mr Muthama and Ms Malonza did not attend the meeting but the Tourism CS addressed the gathering via phone from Narok County, where she was presiding over a ministry event.
Mr Muthama’s differences with Dr Mutua date back to 2013, when the latter was elected the governor of Machakos County on a Wiper party picket. Mr Muthama vehemently opposed Dr Mutua’s appointment to the Cabinet by President Ruto.
Calls for his comments on the development went unanswered.
Dr Mutua, a two-term governor who served as government spokesman for eight years under the late President Mwai Kibaki, is considered more senior among Kamba leaders in Kenya Kwanza.
Ahead of the meeting, CS Mutua posted the words of Desiderata on his social media accounts, stating his intention to mend fences with everyone.
“Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.” he wrote.