As the 2022 General Election inches closer, Kenya’s biggest voting bloc of Mt Kenya appears to split further over what analysts attribute to the 2022 succession politics.
The bloc which has in the recent past boasted of close to 4.5 million votes as per the 2017 electoral register, had eallier been divided between the Kieleweke (allied to the Uhuru,Raila handshake) and Tanga Tanga faction (allied to William Ruto).
However, a further rift has emerged pitting the camps between West (Kikuyu community) and the East (Meru, Embu, and Mbeere communities) of the Mt. Kenya.
Mt. Kenya East which comprises of Meru, Tharaka Nithi, and Embu counties had 1.23 million votes in the 2017 General Election whereas their West counterpart comprising of Murang’a, Nyeri, Kiambu, Kirinyaga, Nyandarua and Laikipia county had 3.2 registered voters.
While the Tanga Tanga and Kieleweke factions emerged following a rift between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy President William Ruto, the East and West blocs came as a result of the recent coronation of National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi as the region’s spokesperson.
Last month, elders crowned Muturi as the Mt. Kenya spokesperson, a move that was warmly welcomed by the Mt. Kenya East but the Mt. Kenya West strongly rejected Muturi’s coronation on grounds that Uhuru remains their spokesperson.
Led by Kirinyaga governor Ann Waiguru and her Murang’a counterpart Mwangi wa Iria, the Mt. Kenya West said they don’t recognize Muturi as their spokesperson and that President Uhuru Kenyatta remains the Mt. Kenya kingpin.
“While one cannot begrudge Speaker Muturi and others of their desire for some form of enthronement, without consultations and consensus with the leaders and the people of Mt Kenya such enthronements have little meaning politically,
“These ceremonies will not give him (Muturi) an upper hand because the people of Mt. Kenya never had cultural kingpins and spokespersons until the colonialists came and installed the generally unpopular paramount chiefs,” said Kirinyaga governor Ann Waiguru.
This was despite the fact that Uhuru was aware of Muturi’s coronation and the Head of State even endorsed the coronation ceremony, according to his cousin.
Due to this, Mt. Kenya East led by Meru governor Kiraitu Murungi has since vowed to field a candidate in the 2022 Presidential Election.
They said they will pull out and go on their own since they have supported the West for so long and it was time for them to return the favour.
“We have supported Jomo Kenyatta, Mwai Kibaki and Uhuru Kenyatta. If we hear of another presidential candidate from that side (West), we will not be a party to it. Enough is enough,” Kiraitu said.
Murungi’s sentiments were amplified by Meru Senator Mithika Linturi who said it is time for the West (Kikuyu community) to support the East(Meru, Embu, Mbeere).
“We the people from Mt. Kenya East are not of lesser god. It is time the West reciprocated the support we have given them over the years,” Linturi echoed.
However, Mt. Kenya West seems not to be worried since Kiambu County alone had the same number of voters as that of the whole Mt. Kenya East combined.
According to the 2017 voters register, Kiambu county alone had 1.2 million registered voters whereas Meru, Embu and Tharaka Nithi counties (Mt Kenya West) had a total of 1.23 million registered voters.
Despite the numbers, the Mt Kenya East said their numbers have overtime helped the presidential candidate from the West (Kikuyu community) to triumph.
They say they will field their own candidate, not with the intention of winning but to just show their West counterpart that they too have a say when it comes to the presidential election.