What you need to know:
- MPs warn the president of “a full-blown revolt will be inevitable” if he ignores their grievances.
- MPs also dismiss President Kenyatta’s BBI meeting planned for tomorrow at Sagana State Lodge.
Some 41 MPs from Mt Kenya allied to Deputy President William Ruto yesterday fired a stinging letter to President Kenyatta, warning him they will not back ODM leader Raila Odinga for the presidency.
They declared they “cannot sell Mr Odinga in the region, or any other imposed presidential candidate” and warned the president “a full-blown revolt will be inevitable” if he ignores their grievances.
In the lengthy letter which they all signed, they essentially told the President not to influence his succession, to emulate his predecessor President Kibaki, who they said never interfered with people’s democratic right to choose his successor.
They reminded him of President Moi’s 2002 bid to impose him as his preferred successor and how it triggered a mass revolt.
The lawmakers challenged the Head of State to “redeem a proud legacy” which they said was in jeopardy as they heaped Jubilee’s failures on his shoulders.
They also dismissed President Kenyatta’s Building Bridges Initiative meeting planned for tomorrow at Sagana State Lodge — from which the group has been locked out — as a waste of time, claiming that delegates will be given Sh5,000.
The leaders attacked the President as it emerged that he will first meet MPs and MCAs loyal to him today in Nyeri ahead of his forum with the rest of the group tomorrow at Sagana State Lodge.
The meetings are seen as the President’s effort to assert his political authority in the region against a backdrop of a disgruntled backyard and uncertainty over his relationship with his deputy, William Ruto.
Kieni MP Kanini Kega said today and tomorrow’s meetings are invite only and that the Tangatanga MPs were deliberately locked out as they do not subscribe to the President’s philosophy.
“This is an invite-only function, for those who only subscribe to the President’s doctrine of development between now and 2022. If you have been left out, then you are not part of the agenda of that meeting,” Mr Kega said.
Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua, whose constituency will be hosting the meeting, confirmed that they had not been invited.
“The last time I went, they refused to give me a seat, yet Sagana is in my constituency. My people have told me to keep off and I also don’t want to be humiliated,” Mr Gachagua added.
But in a no-holds barred response after they were ignored, the MPs took issue with the President’s dalliance with Mr Odinga and the failures and delays in addressing the issues concerning the region raised in the past meetings.
“The successful effort you made to persuade the people and render the ODM leader unacceptable in Mt Kenya will not be undone in your lifetime,” they said, warning that Mr Odinga “or any other imposed presidential candidate” remains a hard sell in the region.
“You blame the leaders and people of the Mt Kenya region for being reluctant to accept the Handshake and the BBI. It is not their fault.”
They took issue with the President’s call for a rotational presidency, which they said was unfortunate, selfish and insulting. They expressed concern with the government’s violation of the Constitution and the rule of law.
Jubilee chief whip Senator Irungu Kang’ata was the surprise addition in the list of MPs who signed the letter, most of whom have been accompanying the DP to rallies across the country. Mr Kang’ata confirmed he had signed the letter and dismissed a denial that was doing the rounds on social media as fake.
“We hope that the issues we have raised form the agenda for consideration at Sagana otherwise…the mountain will remain restless, dissatisfied, and defiant. Ultimately, full-blown revolt will be inevitable,” the letter warns the President.
But Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu dismissed the letter. He said the projects the President pledged have been delivered and denied claims that the President will sell Mr Odinga in Mt Kenya.
“Every candidate, including their Ruto, will have to come to the people, sell his agenda and tell them what his government would have for the region,” he said. The ultimate decision remains with the people of Mt Kenya, he pointed out.
The 41 leaders, who included MPs and senators, described the President as an economic saboteur, whose economic policies have caused anguish and destitution, leaving the people of the region in economic ruin.
They challenged him to use whatever remains of his tenure to return the economy to where President Kibaki left it eight years ago.
Under Kibaki, they said, they experienced unprecedented economic growth. “People had money in their pockets and economic activity was high and visible. This happened despite many serious challenges, including post-election violence,” the MPs said.
They accused the President of never visiting any part of the region to thank the people for standing with him, adding, his tours are marked by ill-temper and abusive encounters that humiliate the leaders ands the people.
“We cannot help but contrast this with your demeanour in Kisumu, where you are a frequent visitor. In those tours, you are unfailingly cheerful and decorous, acknowledging, affirming and respecting the people and their leaders.”
They said some of them have been harassed and humiliated by State agencies for merely holding a contrary opinion to the President’s. They cited the withdrawal of personal security, seizure of protective firearms and brazen threats of serious harm, as a sign that the President has no regard for them.
“We do not buy fear, and we naturally resist intimidation. The reaction from the ground is nothing more than the people’s instinctive rejection of tyranny. Our communities are people who believe in persuasion, discussion, consultation and consensus as opposed to coercion and intimidation.”
They challenged him to tackle corruption with equal firmness.