Stop derailing Uhuru agenda, Matiang'i tells campaigners

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i address journalists during a tour of Nyamira County on October 11, 2020.

Photo credit: Ruth Mbula | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The Cabinet secretary noted on Sunday that only the IEBC has the exclusive constitutional mandate of scheduling and commissioning presidential, parliamentary and civic elections and campaigns.
  • The CS said power-hungry leaders in the ruling party started campaigning soon after the 2017 vote, implying failure to recognise Mr Kenyatta’s election and constitutional mandate to serve the people.

There is no vacancy in the Office of the President, Interior minister Fred Matiang’i has said, and told those already campaigning for the 2022 General Election that they are derailing national development. 

The Cabinet secretary noted on Sunday that the IEBC has the exclusive constitutional mandate to schedule and commission presidential, parliamentary and civic elections and campaigns, yet power-hungry individuals, including some in the ruling Jubilee party, have disregarded this and are engaging in fullscale presidential campaigns countrywide. 

Dr Matiang’i said rallies and visits by delegations to various parts of the country are counterproductive and will derail President Uhuru Kenyatta’s development agenda.

He further said the power-hungry leaders in the ruling party started campaigning soon after the 2017 vote, implying failure to recognise Mr Kenyatta’s election and constitutional mandate to serve the people.

“Some leaders have made it a habit to meet political delegations and hold gatherings in markets and other places to distract Kenyans from supporting the President with his national development agenda. They tell you that the government, in which they serve, has failed you. This is wrong and amounts to sabotage,” he said in Nyamira County, where he inspected road projects and Mogeni tea factory at Ikonge in Borabu Constituency. 

President Kenyatta's allies have accused Deputy President William Ruto of engaging in early campaigns. And on Saturday, Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga told the DP to resign if he feels dissatisfied with the government he helped to form.

"Bad manners"

CS Matiang'i did not state whether the government will crack down on the saboteurs who engage in "bad manners" by politicking daily instead of uniting the people for meaningful development.   

He noted, however, that “President Kenyatta has stressed enough that all leaders should concentrate on building the nation through hard work and development".

“Some people have blatantly defied the President’s directive to not only continue with their uncommissioned presidential campaigns but also undermine the mandate of the electoral commission," he said.

He added, “We cannot politick day in day out. We have two years to the next general election but you would think the elections are being held tomorrow."

The CS said the nation can only be built through hard work, respect for elected leaders and support for a common national agenda. 

He said the trend of incessant campaigning is worrying and unhealthy for the public hence the need for a paradigm shift for focus on the common good.  

“There is a time for everything. The time for politicking will come. It is now time to work, concentrate on development and serve Kenyans as per the mandate given by the electorate."

'Super CS'

Dr Matiang’i also told his critics that he will not be distracted by the insults that come every time he visits Kisii County as he is focused helping to unite the country.

“They come here and tell you ‘Matiang’i is bad, Matiang’i is evil’. They tell you to abuse me yet if you interrogate their agenda, there is nothing important in store for you. They want to cause division and ride on your backs to access raw power. They send some of your leaders to insult me as if that makes a difference in people’s lives,” he said.

Regarding the road projects in Nyamira, he noted that they were launched after local leaders petitioned the President a few days ago.

“The President ordered us to give him a proper report on the state of the roads in question before he visits Gusii for Mashujaa Day celebrations next week,” he said.

He noted that Mr Kenyatta wants the stalled projects completed as he is keen on ensuring growth among Kenyans. 

The CS inspected Ekerenyo-Misambi, Nyabara Ibere-Igena Itambe and Kisii-Sotik roads that are set for expansion and recarpetting.

He was accompanied by Nyamira Senator Okongo Omogeni, Woman Representative Jerusha Momanyi and Borabu MP Ben Momanyi. 

The three leaders asked the Gusii community to rally behind President Kenyatta and CS Matiang'i.