Mount Kenya Foundation (MKF) members will tomorrow (Thursday) meet leaders from Northern Kenya who are backing ODM leader Raila Odinga’s presidential bid.
MKF will host Upya Movement for a luncheon at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi, the third after similar meetings with Mr Odinga and One Kenya Alliance (OKA) leaders last month.
MKF vice-chairman Titus Ibui, the convener of the luncheon, said the meeting aims at strengthening the ties between Northern Kenya and Mount Kenya regions in areas of mutual interest.
“Your attendance will be significant and help strengthen the bonds and ties in the larger Mount Kenya region incorporating Mount Kenya North and to deepen areas of mutual interest and concern in the future,” said the invitation card sent by Mr Ibui.
The foundation is made up of tycoons from the Mount Kenya region and is known to have a significant say on the presidential aspirant the region backs each election cycle.
The group is said to create a financial war chest for its choice of candidate every electioneering period.
The foundation has been holding meetings with presidential aspirants to listen to their agenda for the country and Mt Kenya region while also presenting their interests and concerns.
The meetings with the ODM leader and OKA leaders centred on the Mountain region’s position and stake in the next government.
According to insiders, the group is expected to present to President Uhuru Kenyatta its preferred presidential candidate after meeting all the presidential hopefuls with a view to fielding a strong candidate against Deputy President William Ruto.
The planned meeting with Upya Movement comes just weeks after northern Kenya leaders promised to support Mr Odinga should he officially announce his presidential bid.
The new political formation, which has Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani as its spokesperson, announced it would only support President Uhuru Kenyatta’s choice in the presidential race.
Governors Ali Korane (Garissa), Mohammed Kuti (Isiolo) and Ali Muktar (Wajir), Garissa Senator Abdikadir Haji and Eldas MP Adan Keynan are some of the leaders of the formation, which boasts more than 60 professionals and prominent personalities in public service, academia and the private sector.
Formed in September this year, Upya seeks to champion the interests of the pastoralist communities ahead of next year's elections by coming up with an economic blueprint for arid and semi-arid lands.
The plan, which will cover Garissa, Isiolo, Lamu, Mandera, Marsabit, Samburu, Tana River, Turkana and Wajir counties, will revolve around natural capital, human capital, water, health, environment and climate change, security and conflict resolution, pastoralism, leadership and governance, infrastructure, tourism and hospitality, culture, livelihoods and food security.
However, a section of northern Kenya leaders, led by governors Ali Roba (Mandera) and Mohamud Ali (Marsabit), has disowned the initiative.
This group has gone ahead to acquire the United Democratic Movement Party (UDM), a party formerly associated with DP Ruto, just days after the formation of Upya Movement.
The North Eastern Kenya leaders argue that the party will fill the political gap left after the Economic Freedom Party went silent after the 2017 elections, help chart the region’s political path and eventually decide which presidential candidate to support in the August 2022 race.