What you need to know:
- National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi is set to be installed as the spokesman of the Gikuyu, Embu, Meru Association (Gema).
Governors Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga) and Mwangi wa Iria (Murang’a) on Friday poured cold water on the planned elevation of National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi as the Gikuyu, Embu, Meru Association (Gema) spokesman.
The two county bosses said the event, planned for Saturday at the Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga shrine in Murang’a County, has no political significance.
“These ceremonies will not give him an upper hand because the people of Mt Kenya never had cultural kingpins and spokespersons until the colonialists came and installed the generally unpopular paramount chiefs," Governor Waiguru said.
“In the meantime, it must be remembered that as a political community, our leader, President Uhuru Kenyatta, has not vacated his seat and culturally, we don’t inherit one when [the leaders] are still alive."
Mr Wa Iria, in whose county the event is to be held, said he will not allow the ceremony to take place.
Speaker Muturi is set to be installed as the Gema spokesman at a function to be attended by close to a thousand elders.
A faction of the Gikuyu elders led by Captain Kung'u Muigai -- a relative of President Kenyatta -- has planned the coronation at the shrine.
What elders say
The Agikuyu community’s cultural purists advance a theory that their first parents, Gíkúyú and Múmbi, lived in the shrine and sired nine daughters who went to marry nine men who sprouted from a fire.
The function continues to stir a political and cultural storm in Murang'a.
Senator Irungu Kang'ata and former Maragua MP Elias Mbau said Speaker Muturi, being a Muembu who has since been crowned an elder in Embu and Meru counties, is scheming to prematurely wrestle Mt Kenya kingship.
Kihungi Wa Gakuo, chair of the National Coalition for Cultural Progress of the Agikuyu, said in a statement that there was never an instance of vertical leadership in the Agikuyu community.
“Elders who want to coronate Speaker Muturi should know that the aspect of chiefdoms is a colonialist agenda brought by the British. The Agikuyu were ruled by Kiama, who had njamba (warriors), as the military wing of the Community,” he said.
“The Agikuyu never had a chief.. a king..."
He added that the Agikuyu are facing untold economic challenges so the best the elders can do is organise prayers for a bountiful harvest, rejuvenation of small businesses and the broader opening of the economy.
He said Mr Muturi's coronation in the shrine is an abomination guided by forces out to pawn the community to the highest bidder.
"Our elders must be role models of the younger generation in terms of exercising restraint in political dealings where the name of the community is involved," he said.
Call for peace
Meanwhile, the Central Region Security Committee has asked factions tussling for control of the event to keep peace.
Regional Commissioner Wilfred Nyagwanga said monitoring is taking place and that should there be a reason to disperse the function to safeguard peace, he will not hesitate to issue the orders.
He spoke even as police arrested Murang’a nominated MCA Habile Chege, as he led a protest at Ihura Stadium to oppose the coronation, for reportedly contravening Covid-19 protocols on sociopolitical gatherings.
Mr Nyagwanga noted that police officers will not be drawn into factional politics "since we are not, in any way, allied to the competitive forces".
He said the security team is not concerned about whether the function will go on but must be involved because "in whatever situation, peace must prevail”.