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Mt. Kenya rift; Murang’a onslaught in Juja by-election evokes memories of Matiba’s alleged invasion

The forthcoming Juja by-election has seen a horde of members of parliament from Murang’a invade Kiambu County. The group of fierce leaders is led by Kandara MP Alice Wahome, Ndindi Nyoro of Kiharu and the Murang’a senator Irungu Kang’ata.

This supposed invasion of Kiambu, the president’s home county, by, not just outsiders, but leaders from Murang’a, have evoked memories of the early nineties.

Back in the early nineties, in the run-up to the unprecedented 1992 general elections, all the other districts of Central Kenya had been mesmerised by the dynamic Murang’a duo of Kenneth Matiba and Charles Rubia.

Although Kibaki who was from Nyeri had just decamped from KANU, and was also trying his luck at capturing the top seat, even his home district itself couldn’t escape the wave and euphoria that had swept over the entire Mount Kenya region.

Despite the fact that Mwai Kibaki was by all means a formidable, if not an outright superior opponent to Matiba, having previously served as Finance Minister, and even Vice-president, he was still looked at as the spoiler who was ruining Matiba’s chances.

The results of this intra-ethnic rivalry were devastating for the region.
President Moi won with 1.9 million votes. Matiba came in second with 1.4 million votes, while Kibaki was third with a million votes. It was clear that if the two men had stuck together against Moi, they would have not only won, but won with a landslide.

While Matiba supporters blamed Kibaki for their loss, even going as far as claiming he was a KANU mole sent to split the GEMA votes, those on Kibaki’s corner blamed the loss on Murang’a overreach.

The current state of affairs seems headed the same direction.

When Gatundu South Member of Parliament Moses Kuria was arrested recently for flouting Covid rules, Murang’a senator Irungu Kang’ata thrust himself into the matter so intensely, that he not only appeared as his lawyer but also made a connection between Kuria’s arrest and his campaigns in Juja, claiming that he was arrested because his PEP candidate was headed for victory in the by-election.

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    Written by Joshua Wanga

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