Kikuyu elders' factions merge, hint at backing Raila Odinga

Kikuyu elders patron

From left: Siaya Senator James Orengo, Dr Oburu Oginga, Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni and former Dagoretti South MP Dennis Waweru during the coronation of a new national patron of Kikuyu elders in Lusoi, Nyeri County on September 18, 2021.

Photo credit: Nicholas Komu | Nation Media Group

A merger of two major factions of Gikúyú elders has given the clearest indication yet of a plan to sell ODM leader Raila Odinga’s presidential bid in Mt Kenya Region.

On Saturday, Kikuyu Council of Elders and Kiama Kia Ma decided to bury the hatchet in a bid to unify the region, but it was the presence of allies of the Orange Democratic Movement party leader that raised eyebrows.

Dr Oburu Oginga and Siaya Senator James Orengo led the delegation from the Luo-Nyanza region to attend the coronation of a new national patron for the Gikúyú elders’ caucus.

Among other leaders present were Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo, Ruaraka MP Tom Kajwang’, Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni and former Dagoretti South MP Dennis Waweru.

Interestingly, the  only present leader from Nyeri County was Deputy Governor Caroline Karugu.

The decision to merge, however, came with casualties, the biggest one being the sidelining of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s kin, captain Kungu Muigai.

He was replaced by businessman Kinyua wa Mwangi.

Captain Muigai’s removal is attributed to his affiliation to Speaker Justin Muturi, who is eyeing the presidency. It is also said to be due to multiple botched meetings between Gikúyú elders and Mr Odinga.

Speaking as one

The leaders present hailed the merger saying it will pave the way for the region to speak as one.

“For a while, the two groups have been fighting but now that they have decided to unite so they can guide the community to the right path,” Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni said.

Other Mt Kenya leaders echoed his sentiment, saying they believe a unified elders’ caucus will set the pace towards unifying the region.

“Moving forward we want a unified region. This is the first step towards that,” said the Kikuyu Council of Elders’ women’s chapter patron Agnes Kagure.

Although the main aim of the meeting was to reconcile the elders, the ODM leaders’ allies used the opportunity to woo the elders to rally the mountain region behind him in the 2022 General Election.

“I have hosted the Kikuyu Council of Elders in Bondo previously and there were concerns that Kiama Kia Ma was left out. Now that the two are united we can engage on the way forward,” said Dr Oginga.

Talks successful

Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo hinted at advanced negotiations by the elders, to back Mr Odinga, adding talks have been fruitful so far.

“We have your interests at heart. We proved that in the BBI. Now we need to focus on how to actualise some of the things that were in the document. Only one person has proven to be ready to do so,” Mr Otiende said.

Senator James Orengo remains confident that the merger of the two factions will be a boost for Mr Odinga in efforts to clinch the vote of the  populous Mt Kenya.

However, the ODM team has been told to get ready to meet demands of the mountain region in exchange for the support.

MP Kioni said they must guarantee that the region will get all that was promised in the Building Bridges Initiative, which has since been declared unconstitutional.

“It is very easy to get Mt Kenya’s support. All you need to do is tell us how we will get the Sh53 billion we would have gotten from the BBI,” Mr Kioni said.