With his eyes trained on his backyard to back his preferred presidential candidate in 2022, Uhuru Kenyatta is desperate to stem discontent that has been cudgeling his political grip of the region.
So bad have things been in the recent past that he has had to postpone his tour of the region with ODM leader Raila Odinga.
However, the Kenyatta scion is now said to be trying to consolidate his power in Kikuyuland, laying ground for the visit with Raila.
His scathing rant on Kikuyu MPs during Akorino prayer meeting at Kasarani is part of the plot to lay ground for the handshake tour.
Only recently, Raila with Uhuru’s blessing officiated at the the groundbreaking ceremony at Tatu city where he was received by the local county security team. Also in attendance was Governor Ferdinand Waititu of Kiambu county.
Since the repeat presidential election on October 17 2017, there has been growing murmurs in Mount Kenya that the president is disinterested in the region. As part of the strategy, a recent elders’ meeting that was fully funded to a tune of Sh10 million that backed the handshake deal and the Team Embrace Kenya is part of the planned visit.
A section of Kikuyus now say, Uhuru no longer needs them as he is serving his last term and will not need their votes again anyway. The rebellion that started from the poor who felt that Uhuru was not using the presidency to better their lives has extended to the wealthy Kikuyus who had assumed that Uhuru would open new opportunities for their businesses.
Some of the MPs who have decamped to Ruto’s camp claim the president was not holding any meetings with them, leaving them with no alternative but to take their problems to the DP.
“He doesn’t pick calls and does not give us any audience, while Ruto regularly invites us to his Karen home and supports us with money for fundraising meetings and development projects,” an MP was quoted in a local daily lamenting.
He said Ruto often meets all leaders, from MCAs to governors, and that he even reimburses fare and expenses incurred.
Uhuru has now shifted his focus to pacifying his backyard following rising disquiet among supporters who feel abandoned.
According to sources, the president was made aware of the discontentment by the National Intelligence Service which advised him that unless he takes action his preferred presidential candidate in 2022 will get a rude shock in Mount Kenya.
Further, the NIS told the president his deputy is literally controlling the region politically and was likely to be the region’s preferred presidential candidate in 2022, with the head of state’s backing or not.
Uhuru is said to have ordered Interior principal secretary Karanja Kibicho to lead a team of government officials, a few businessmen and politicians from the region to devise a strategy to turn the tide in his favour.
The Kibicho team which includes Starehe MP Charles Njagua reportedly advised the president on a multipronged strategy, including addressing trade concerns and other issues.
Tanga Tanga MPs who have come in the open to challenge Uhuru after recent attacks on them are Alice Wahome (Kandara), Wangui Ngirici (Kirinyaga women rep), Anthony Kiai (Mukurweini), Kimani Ngunjiri (Bahati), Jayne Kihara (Naivasha), Jude Njomo (Kiambu) and Muranga senator Irungu Kangáta.
Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichungwa, Rigathi Gachagua (Mathira), Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu), Jeremiah Kioni (Ndaragwa), are all seen to be in Ruto’s camp.
The question is, will Uhuru succeed in shepherding Mount Kenya region to back his preferred presidential candidate in 2022 or has he lost their support?
That is the question in the minds of many as Uhuru moves to assert himself as the Mount Kenya regional kingpin after intelligence reports indicated the vote-rich region was gravitating towards William Ruto.
The president is said to have been rattled by the lame duck president tag three-and-half years to the end of his second and final term as head of state.
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