Game of numbers: Kiambu politicians dump Uhuru for Ruto

President Uhuru Kenyatta

President Uhuru Kenyatta. He acknowledged his role in fanning anti-Raila sentiments as he told a recent meeting in Sagana that he waged a smear campaign against the ODM leader but which he regretted.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

President Uhuru Kenyatta has reportedly lashed out at his political advisers over their intelligence reports suggesting that his regime was popular in Mt Kenya but not in his Kiambu County stronghold.

On March 12, Kiambu County Speaker Stephen Ndichu led 30 local leaders to dump President Kenyatta and join the wing of Deputy President William Ruto of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA).

On Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Kimani wa Matangi also abandoned the President for Dr Ruto alongside former Kiambu governor William Kabogo, Thika Town MP Kimani Wainaina Jungle and former Ruiru MP Esther Gathogo.

The Nation understands that the President has tasked a team to prepare a one-week report on the real situation in Mt Kenya. Those in the team include Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho, Jubilee political coordinator Nancy Gitau, Director of Intelligence Wachira Kameru, Directorate of Criminal Investigations head George Kinoti and Jubilee secretary-general Jeremiah Kioni.

Mr Kibicho has tasked Mt Kenya county commissioners to prepare real-time reports on how the government's projects are being implemented, which has resulted in deputy commissioners being instructed to hold emergency meetings to help develop strategies to tackle the local development agenda.

In Murang'a County, where the National Intelligence Service has informed the President that Dr Ruto may nominate Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro or Kandara MP Alice Wahome as his running mate, the Ministry of Interior has appointed Mr Karuku Ngumo, a native of Kiharu, as commissioner.

This suggests the President intends to rely on Mr Ngumo’s knowledge of the area to turn off Dr Ruto.

At the Ihura Stadium recently, when Agriculture CS Peter Munya organised a meeting with coffee growers, Mr Ngumo stressed that "I and all my people in office are pursuing the agenda of our President and his government on the political future".

The remarks prompted Mr Nyoro to scold him, saying "you will have to decide whether you are a politician or a government employee".

Meanwhile, the President is also said to be angry about the failure of his key point men to control the political fallout.

"The President is not happy with the recent incidents of betrayal by politicians, especially in his main Kiambu County stronghold. He is very upset about the embarrassment and is asking for an explanation as to why the situation was not resolved before he went public," one of the President's spokespersons revealed.

Mr Kioni said Jubilee joined forces with ODM to form the Azimio la Umoja coalition on the basis of strengthening Mt Kenya's ability to control its own interests under President Kenyatta's coordination.

"We have agreed that the President will take us to the consultation table on our interests in Mt Kenya in the Azimio coalition. We have a way of closing the loopholes left by those who have decamped. These are small things that he will use wisely to fix," he said.

This came as Dr Ruto's insiders echoed the talk that the President's advisers and security units were a disgrace to the President.

"In order to deceive the President into believing that the situation is under control, his advisers and security forces have been threatening politicians allied to Dr Ruto's to join the Azimio la Umoja coalition or else they will be prosecuted and persecuted," claimed Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua.

Mr Gachagua alleged that the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) had also been used to turn politicians away from President Kenyatta and join the UDA.

"We have seen many political brokers surrounding the President, and lying to him that the situation is calm in Mt Kenya and that he is still a political star,” he said.

Mr Wamatangi said it was "time for politicians to take a stand for the electorate. I have been around Kiambu County seeking political guidance and was unanimously told by my family that chances are with UDA," he said.

He said that in order to run for governor of Kiambu, he would have to follow voters’ wishes.

"I am surprised that in meetings, we were fed the wrong information. We have been told that our President is still influential. But the reality is that the ground has shifted," said Mr Ndichu.

By-elections in Murang'a, Nakuru, Nyandarua, Meru and Kiambu counties, he said, had shown the reality on the ground for the President’s party, and this would have been the turning point.

"But the time has come for the President and Jubilee to live in reality... There is a very real danger of these elections ending in disgrace for Jubilee in the Mt Kenya region," said Murang'a Senator Irungu Kang'ata.

However, Mr Kioni insisted that President Kenyatta was still the political leader of Mt Kenya and that his intention to help Mr Odinga to prevent Dr Ruto from taking over the presidency would materialise.

As President Kenyatta launches a series of campaigns to oust his DP Ruto from Mt Kenya, Nyandarua Women Representative Faith Gitau said the project will face difficulties.

"Mt Kenya voters regard Mr Odinga as a challenge to their interests," he said.

Ms Gitau said that in 2017, while Mr Odinga was busy rejecting the results of the presidential election and insulting the President, Dr Ruto was cultivating good relations with Mt Kenya voters.

"Dr Ruto helped us win the presidency in 2013 and 2017, helped our President avoid the ICC case and controlled the security of the Rift Valley, where our people were victims of political violence every five years …

President Kenyatta’s betrayal is tantamount to inhuman dishonesty," she said.

Other Mt Kenya leaders who have jumped ship and joined the ranks of Dr Ruto are Embu Senator Njeru Ndwiga, Maragua MP Mary Wa Maua, Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki and his Nyeri counterpart Mutahi Kahiga.

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