President Uhuru Kenyatta has asked his allies in Mt Kenya to prepare the ground for his tour of the region.
Dubbed a thanksgiving tour, the President’s visit will start with rallies and meetings with leaders in Mt Kenya before he moves to other parts of the country.
Allies of the President are scheming on campaigning against Deputy President William Ruto who has endeared himself to many people in the region.
Nyeri Town MP Wambugu Ngunjiri told the Saturday Nation that the aim of the visit is to thank Mt Kenya leaders and residents for supporting Mr Kenyatta's presidency, launch development projects, give the reasons that made him fall out with Dr Ruto and advise on succession.
The team is thinking of two options; a first tour in which the President visits with allies, to be followed by another round to introduce his successor or one visit that does both.
Though he has never said it explicitly, the President seems to be leaning towards Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga and not Dr Ruto.
“President Kenyatta will explain why he fell out with his deputy and the direction he wants the region and the country to take,” Mr Ngunjiri said.
“The agenda is confirmed. We are waiting to fix the date, which will most likely be after the passage of the Political Parties (Amendment) Bill, 2021 in the Senate.”
According to the The Nyeri Town lawmaker, Mr Kenyatta will inform the region of sabotage by his deputy, Dr Ruto’s attempts to be co-president “and other personal things that happened between them”.
“People will be surprised,” Mr Ngunjiri said.
Yesterday, Gatanga MP Joseph Nduati said leaders allied to Mr Kenyatta are drawing up a strategy of the tour and projects to be commissioned “in addition to the big national projects the President will launch”.
Mr Nduati said the visit is aimed at helping Mr Odinga “climb the mountain” and improve his chances of becoming president in August.
“President Kenyatta has a big say in Mt Kenya. The President is soon coming to the ground. We are waiting for him to confirm the date,” the Gatanga MP told the Saturday Nation.
Mr Ngunjiri did not want to say if Mr Kenyatta would be accompanied by the ODM leader, only adding that it is the President to make that decision.
“Whether he comes with Raila or not is immaterial. The President has already given directions on where he wants us to go. That direction is Azimio La Umoja,”Mr Ngunjiri added.
With the allies of President Kenyatta gearing up for his visit in Mt Kenya, Mr Odinga is expected in Gatanga constituency, Murang’a county on Monday.
He is expected in Murang’a and Kirinyaga counties on Friday and Saturday.
“After Raila launched his ‘Climbing the Mountain’ presidential campaigns in Thika on Saturday, he will be back in the region on January 29 and 30,” spokesperson of the ODM leader’s campaign board, Elizabeth Meyo, said.
However, Dr Ruto’s allies say they do not expect Mr Kenyatta to speak ill of him “since the President will not be contesting any seat in August”.
Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua said even though President Kenyatta is free to endorse anyone, he should not interfere with their democratic right of rallying behind Dr Ruto.
“The President has a democratic right to back whoever he wants in the next election. Nobody has a problem with that. Let him back whoever he wants and leave the rest of us to support the person we want,” Mr Gachagua said.
But Mr Ngunjiri said the President is the biggest stakeholder in his succession and cannot be told not to give directions.
“If succession is not handled well, all his achievements and vision will go down the drain. No single leader is ever worried about succession, “the Nyeri Town MP said.
Divorcing a spouse
After the Mt Kenya tours, the President will embark on countrywide visits.
Murang'a Senator Irungu Kang'ata, who was dropped as the Senate Majority Whip last year for associating with the DP, said the tour will be inconsequential "since Mt Kenya people and leaders have made up their minds on who to vote for".
“We shall welcome the President to our region. He remains our leader and son of Mt Kenya. I have no doubt the President is wise enough to know he cannot speak ill of any 2022 hopeful as he himself will not be a candidate," Mr Kang'ata said.
"It will be in vain to speak ill of the Deputy President as our people have already made their decision. One must offer convincing reasons before divorcing a spouse. The reason and grounds should not be given after the divorce.”
Lawmakers have been pushing President Kenyatta to give direction on his succession, especially in Mt Kenya.
Dr Ruto's United Democratic Alliance (UDA) has a huge following in the region.