Ex-CS Mwangi Kiunjuri says he is ready to be Ruto's running mate

New Content Item (1)

Former Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Mwangi Kiunjuri, though sceptical, says he will accept the will of God if he is picked as Dr Ruto's running mate.
  • He said the Gema community’s decisions have been made by the Mt Kenya Foundation, “in closed-door meetings”, but that the tactic should change where 2022 succession politics is concerned.

The Service Party (TSP) leader Mwangi Kiunjuri has hinted at teaming up with Deputy President William Ruto as his running mate in the race to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta come the 2022 General Election.

Mr Kiunjuri, though sceptical, says he will accept the will of God if he happens to be handpicked to vie as Dr Ruto's running mate.

Speaking during an interview on Inooro TV on Sunday night, the former Agriculture Cabinet Secretary said Mt Kenya residents should front one leader to lobby for their interests in the next government.

"There have been rumours that I will contest as DP Ruto's running mate in the forthcoming election. I have never made such a pronouncement but if I happen to be blessed to become one, nothing and nobody can be against the will of God [sic]," Mr Kiunjuri said.

"We are playing 2022 politics but the Kikuyu nation is silent. We should be planning and scouting for the person who will represent us at the top decision-making table. We (the kikuyu community) are known for being generous in offering our overwhelming support and votes to presidential candidates. We will not pay a bride price without being accompanied by our elders," he added.

Mr Kiunjuri further said the Gema community’s decisions have over the years been made by the Mt Kenya Foundation, “in closed-door meetings”, but that the tactic should change where 2022 succession politics is concerned.

"If I happen to be Mr Ruto's deputy, I will not hesitate lobbying for the interests of the people of Mt Kenya, but if we continue acting like priests during church summons and shy away from agitating for our issues, we are doomed to fail," he said.

"We cannot feed our cow here in Mt Kenya and have the milking done in other regions . The long-awaited journey has just started in earnest," the outspoken leader added.

Uhuru factor

In a recent media interview, Mr Kiunjuri thanked President Uhuru Kenyatta for propelling him to the national political limelight, assuring him of his support as he races against time to leave a legacy before he exits the top office in 2022.

"TSP aims at bringing the people of Mt Kenya region together and by doing so, we have not wronged anyone. I will continue supporting and respecting the President in the remaining two years," Mr Kiunjuri said.

In March, however, Mr Kiunjuri accused the President of kicking him out of Cabinet despite his input in supporting his Jubilee party in the run-up to the 2017 general elections.

Mr Kiunjuri said he was short-changed even after agreeing to fold up his Grand National Unity (GNU) party and support Mr Kenyatta's re-election bid.

"I had the GNU party but I was told to wrap it up and join Jubilee as a partner. Now, it is like telling someone traveling to Nairobi to leave their boda boda and board your new Prado but upon reaching Karatina, you are harshly kicked out while it is raining," Mr Kiunjuri said at the time.

"I had expressed interest in vying for the Laikipia gubernatorial seat but I was told to drop my bid in broad daylight and that I would be offered a plum job in government. I will now be jobless for the next three years," he added.

Shelved ambitions

In 2012, the then Public Works Assistant Minister and Laikipia East MP formed the Grand National Unity (GNU) party as its leader while the late Nderitu Gachagua was its secretary-general.

GNU, just like The National Alliance Party (TNA), Party of National Unity (PNU) and Alliance Party of Kenya (APK), supported Mr Kenyatta (the then Deputy Prime Minister) in his bid for the presidency in 2013.

In 2016, GNU was merged with several other parties to form Jubilee so as to support President Kenyatta’s re-election bid ahead of the 2017 polls.

In the run-up to the 2017 polls, Mr Kiunjuri eyed the Laikipia governor seat but shelved his interest after being advised by the Jubilee Party leader to support the then Governor Joshua Irungu's re-election bid.

He plunged into politics in 1997 when he was elected MP for Laikipia East under the Democratic Party.