National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi will tomorrow be installed as the Mt Kenya spokesman. This is part of an elaborate plan to position him as President Kenyatta’s successor as the region’s kingpin.
Nation has learnt that the coronation will be held at the Njuri Ncheke shrine in Nchiru, Meru County. Njuri Ncheke council chairperson Josphat Murangiri yesterday confirmed the event. Embu, Mbeere, Meru and Kikuyu elders will be present.
“It will be a big event that will, of course, have political ramifications in the region. We know what will happen will not please everyone, especially the power brokers. But Muturi is a senior politician from this side of the mountain and we want our voice to be heard,” Mr Murangiri said.
Those backing Mr Muturi say that he has the political backing of elders from Embu, Meru, Tharaka Nithi and Kirinyaga counties.
But even as the political storm brews ahead of the 2022 General Election, the President has maintained a calculated silence about his preferred successor, publicly reprimanding the succession schemes and saying his key focus is to deliver on his promises to Kenyans. He has also said he is still in charge and will continue leading the Mt Kenya region.
However, pundits believe the region faces a leadership vacuum after his retirement in 2022 when he will be done serving his second and final term in office.
The Speaker has already had meetings with the Njuri Nceke, the Kiama Kia Ma Kikuyu Council of Elders, the Nyangi Ndiiririri and Ngome elders of Embu and Mbeere as well as religious leaders at his Kanyuambora home.
The idea of having the National Assembly boss, who hails from Mbeere in Embu, as the Mt Kenya kingpin, was also floated during the Sagana State House meeting between the elders and the President.
The elders said the region had been overrun by “outsiders”, and that the locals had been left confused, which threatens the region’s political future.
Though nothing solid was concluded, elders from Mount Kenya West were asked to take time to consider sentiments from their Mt Kenya East counterparts.
“The elders were then tasked with a follow-up on the issues raised in that meeting, the culmination of which was the elders’ consultative meetings at Mr Muturi’s residence, where he agreed to their request to take up the region’s leadership mantle after Mr Kenyatta’s exit,” a source said.
There has also been a push by leaders from Embu, Meru and Tharaka Nithi counties, which form the Mt Kenya East bloc, to help them negotiate a bigger stake in national politics.
Since 2014, leaders from the region have been trying to establish themselves as a distinct political grouping after many years of being lumped together with people in Central region.
This could mark a turning point in local politics, with local leaders arguing that the three counties have been used to endorse leaders from other regions.
The political realignment is fuelled by President Kenyatta’s succession and his impending exit as his constitutional two-term limit expires in 2022. Pundits say Mt Kenya East could push for one of its own to fill the void.
“The issue arose during the Sagana elders meeting where an analogy of the three cooking stones representing the Gikuyu, Embu and Ameru was used. It resolved that Mt Kenya West should this time round support a person from the east to lead the region,” a source close to Mr Muturi said yesterday.
Other top four top contenders named in political circles for the region’s political supremo title are former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth, governors Mwangi Wa Iria (Murang’a), Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga) and Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe.
Former Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri and his successor Peter Munya have also been named.
The Mt Kenya region comprises Kiambu, Murang’a, Nyeri, Embu, Kirinyaga, Nyandarua, Laikipia, Meru and Tharaka Nithi, as well as Nakuru.