Blow to Ruto as Kikuyu Council of Elders recant any past deal; no debt to be paid

Blow to Ruto as Kikuyu Council of Elders recant any past deal; no debt to be paid

The question on whether Mt. Kenya region will drum up support for DP William Ruto’s 2022 candidature now hangs in the balance after the Kikuyu Council of Elders called off the deal with the Kalenjin Community.

The council declared total support for the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga saying it has brought tangible benefits and peace to millions of Kenyans, as well as, reduced ethnic tensions.

The Council’s national chairman, Wachira Kiago, stated that there is no debt to be paid as anyone can lead the country.

Wachira stated that the issue of Ruto’s candidature had destabilised the community through the division of leaders either allied to Tanga tanga or Kieleweke squad.

“We have no deal with Ruto or the Kalenjin Community or his lieutenants. The issue of 2022 must be closed. If we talk of a political debt, everyone can claim it from us (Kikuyu). Kalonzo, Raila, Mudavadi among others, have supported us before and they don’t claim. Why is it that the DP is claiming?” Wachira posed.

The Kalenjin community had earlier asked the Kikuyu elders to clarify their stance and not disown them.

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Deputy President William Ruto addresses a meeting with Kikuyu leaders from the Rift Valley in Sugoi, Uasin Gishu County on December 19, 2019.

Wachira claims that Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri, a close ally of the DP, has been pushing the agenda of paying the debt. Recently, the MP allegedly took about 4,000 members of Kiama Kiama to Ruto’s residence and chatted on how to broker Ruto’s entry into the Mt. Kenya region.

MP Kimani Ngunjiri (Chairman of Kikuyu Community in Rift Valley) and his vice-chair, Joseph Wainaina, are accused of running away with Ksh8  million to reimburse transport costs for the over 4,000 Kikuyu leaders who attended the meeting about fostering peace.

However, several leaders alleged that less than Ksh1 million was shared and the organizers disappeared with the rest. An attempt to reach the MP were futile as he neither picked our calls nor replied to messages by the time of publishing the story.

The anti-Ruto sentiment in the Mt. Kenya region has gained momentum since Uhuru shook hands and signed a unity pact with Odinga on March 9.

Wachira states that the truce is credited with returning calm to the country as the Kikuyu community in Nyanza and other regions are living a peaceful life.

The handshake has received lukewarm support from Ruto’s inner circle with MPs allied to the DP, among them Kimani Ichung’wa (Kikuyu), Kimani Ngunjiri (Bahati), Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu), Rigathi Gachagwa (Mathira) and Alice Wahome (Kandara), claiming that it has complicated Ruto’s political arithmetic.

Wachira Kiago has, therefore, warned Central Kenya politicians against disrespecting Uhuru and dividing the community while pushing for their interests.

He added that the Head of State should come out and visit the people, noting that this would help to heal and give hope to those who seem forsaken.

“We are planning to summon MPs who are causing tension in the community. Also, we have reached out to the President and we are looking forward to meeting him to discuss how we can end the stalemate, but he must be respected,” he notes.

Former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo has also called on the leaders to stick together and spread peace.

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Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri led a kikuyu delegation to Sugoi

“Let’s focus on the big agenda of the community rather than individual interest. This is the time to work for the community but not 2022,” Kabogo said.

He noted the Central region is filled with hatred and bitterness towards one another, and most of the time, this is being used to insult each other online instead of unifying the community.

He regrets that Mt. Kenya area was the only part of the country that was left in a campaign mode after the disputed 2017 general elections.

“All other communities are silent and probably concentrating on development, but in Mt. Kenya region, we are busy fighting one another. Let’s all come together and serve our people, let’s make use of our numbers,” he urged.

Controversial artiste and former Chairman of defunct Jubilee reloaded lobby group, Kamande Kioi, also urged politicians in the region to stop rhetoric politics.

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The de facto Kikuyu Council of Elders in Nyahururu for annual prayers Photo/Courtesy

Kamande states that the community will negotiate with all presidential candidates and support whoever will give them the best deal when the right time comes.

“We as Kikuyu elders, we are calling for unity, and those propagating divisive politics should stop it. Continued 2022 politics will harm the economy as well as spurring conflict. Leaders should be preaching peace and unity to the population,” an agitated Kamande said.

He adds that Kieleweke and Tanga tanga groups from the region should now be busy talking about roads that need repairing, coffee [sector] that needs to be fixed, the tea sector that should be managed and the dairy industry and horticulture which have been mismanaged.

“Ruto should not talk of another 10 years, the pact with Uhuru will expire 2022 and should, therefore, prepare to exit with the Uhuru administration or else he campaigns without tagging Kikuyu community,” he states.

He further stated that the campaigns have hindered smooth service delivery to the citizens, negatively impacting the national development agenda.

The deputy president has on several occasions made it clear that no individual or community owes anyone, including him, any political debt.

However, to achieve his dream, the DP must overcome the herculean task of consolidating the votes and backing of two regions that would all but catapult him to the presidency.

UNBOWED: Kenya war on terrorism gets a boost

UNBOWED: Kenya war on terrorism gets a boost

Walking through the Dusit D2 hotel and office complex in Nairobi today you will see some people heading to their offices, others enjoying meals at various eateries and local and foreign shoppers coming in and out of the premises.

Days after the January 15, 2019 raid, civilians were allowed back in the upscale compound. Six months later, the hotel reopened – business as usual.

People are evacuated by a member of security forces at the scene where explosions and gunshots were heard at the Dusit hotel compound, in Nairobi, Kenya January 15, 2019. REUTERS/Baz RatnerThe United States has reiterated its commitment to help Kenya defeat terrorism on the first commemoration of the 2019 attack at Dusit D2, an uptown complex where 21 people were killed, including an American and a Briton.

In a statement issued by its Nairobi Embassy, the US committed to continue training and sharing intelligence with its counterparts in the country, to tame the terror threat posed by Al-Shabaab militants.

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 “Al-Shabaab’s ongoing efforts to destabilize democratic, open societies represent a destructive threat in Kenya and East Africa. The United States and Kenya are training, sharing information, and fighting side by side to defeat this terrorist organization. We remain fully committed to the fight against terrorism and are proud to partner with Kenya to defeat Al-Shabaab,” the Embassy said.

The terror group, with allegiance to Al-Qaeda, was responsible for the Dusit D2 attack, and although lives were lost, more than 700 hundred people were safely evacuated.

The US attributes the efforts to Kenyan security forces and other partners, who moved with speed and courage to rescue people.

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The first commemoration happens at a time when security in the country is heightened due to increased terror activities at the border points, following the recent attack in Manda Bay Airfield in Lamu County, which left 3 Americans dead.

“The United States remembers and commemorates with all Kenyans the 21 lives lost and those injured one year ago in the horrific terrorist attack on the Dusit D2 Hotel complex in Nairobi. We again commend the speed and courage of the response by the Kenyan security services who rescued hundreds of innocent civilians and ended the assault,” reads the statement.

U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander, U.S. Africa Command said after the January 5 attack, that “Al-Shabaab is ruthless and must be dealt with before the network expands its reach to other places, to include their stated desire to strike U.S. citizens on the U.S. homeland.”

How defaced Mwangi Kiunjuri dumped official car after learning of  his sacking

How defaced Mwangi Kiunjuri dumped official car after learning of his sacking

Though former Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture Mwangi Kiunjuri said his sacking did not take him by surprise, things on the ground were different.

As soon as he learnt of the sacking, which he watched on a banking hall TV that beamed live President Uhuru Kenyatta’s address yesterday, Mr Kiunjuri was not the same again.

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Mwangi Kiunjuri drives himself away immediately he was fired

Kiunjuri, who had been driven to the bank on Nairobi’s Biashara Street in his official Land Cruiser V8, left in a different car, reportedly unaccompanied by his official security detail.

“The CS came in the V8 but left in a Mercedes Benz after learning of his sacking from the TV stations beaming the event live in the bank. He had come to Equity Bank to withdraw money,” a witness said.

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Moses Kuria while meeting the ousted CS in an undisclosed location after he was sacked. Photos/Courtesy

The witness added that Kiunjuri was heard saying: “Hata hiyo gari sipandi (I won’t even enter that (official) car” as he jumped into the other one.

Later, while addressing a news conference, Kiunjuri said: “I have gone through a most difficult year that on a number of occasions threatened my energy and resolve. Some of you know that I have endured a lot of humiliation… only God and my immediate family know how this made me feel”.

Uhuru replaced Kiunjuri with Peter Munya, formerly of Trade and Industrialisation. Kiunjuri wished Mr. Munya well.

He said he would focus on other matters of national interest. “I turn a new page, knowing very well that when God closes one door, He opens another. I believe there is a door down the road,” he said, urging his supporters to stay calm, confident and not to cry for him. “You know I’m resilient.”

Kiunjuri told critics accusing him of running down the Agriculture docket that Uhuru had, in his speech, mentioned remarkable growth. “I’m glad the President acknowledged that all agricultural production at all levels had gone up.”

Asked if he would divulge information on scandals that dogged his tenure, Kiunjuri said: “I‘ve a responsibility to keep the oath of office. When I feel it is important to share information, I will. If provoked, I will react. For every action, there will be a reaction. I have so many things to say, both positive and negative. When provoked, I will answer accordingly.”

He distanced his sacking from the Building Bridges Initiative politics, saying the President had a right to undertake his mandate as the country’s CEO.

“The President did not consult anybody when I was appointed CS,” he said.

Kiunjuri was publicly lectured by Uhuru in 2018 during the height of the maize scandal that rocked the country. Uhuru warned the CS over irregular payments made to maize cartels through the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB).

BUSINESS UNUSUAL: How registration of new political parties will become harder ahead of 2022 elections

BUSINESS UNUSUAL: How registration of new political parties will become harder ahead of 2022 elections

Political parties seeking registration ahead of 2022 General Election must now provide evidence of established infrastructure across the country, among other stringent measures as the national regulator tightens the noose on the process.

Registrar of Political Parties Ann Nderitu said that political parties with provisional registration seeking full registration must provide verifiable evidence of their established infrastructure across the country as required by the Political Parties Act.

VERIFICATION

“As an Office, we continue to shift our processes to ensure that the registration of political parties is geared towards institutionalizing political parties as citadels for democracy,” said Mr. Nderitu.

This comes hot in the heels of the Registrar’s office kicking off an on-ground verification exercise of the various political parties that have applied for full registration.

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The Registrar said there are currently 68 fully registered political parties in the country and 12 provisionally registered ones, of which majority are subject to verification during the exercise to ascertain compliance.

She pointed out that the exercise seeks to verify the physical presence of functional parties’ offices in at least 24 counties, with their headquarters already verified.

It will also seek to authenticate party leadership, personnel responsible in respective offices, mechanisms for recruitment of members, membership register, party constitutions, party activities, policy framework and administrative structures, among other rafts of legal stipulations.

“These are some of the stringent requirements for consideration for approval to full registration status. The requirements are complement to Constitutional requirements for the formation of political parties which should have a national outlook,” she said.

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IDEOLOGIES

Ms. Nderitu stated that already, teams from her office have been dispatched to eight regions across the country for the exercise which commenced on Wednesday and is set to run up to January 17, 2019.

The eight regions include Coast, Lower Eastern, Upper Eastern, Western, Nyanza, Rift Valley, Central and Nairobi.

She explained that the verification exercise is part of her office’s commitment of ensuring political parties are established for posterity and capable of actualising their set out ideologies and as key avenues for the citizens’ political participation and inclusivity in the democratic process.

“On conclusion of the exercise, consolidated reports will thoroughly be scrutinized to ascertain the compliance status of the political parties in question. They will further, be guided accordingly in case gaps are identified with a view of ensuring full compliance prior to registration,” said Ms. Nderitu.

The Registrar further added that they have already established seven regional offices in Kisumu, Eldoret, Nyeri, Isiolo, Mombasa, Nakuru and Kitui not just for monitoring parties for compliance, but also taking service closer to the people.

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In addition to giving an opportunity for political parties and their members to seek guidance and services required of her office,

 “My office will endeavour to expand to other regions and progressively to all the counties,” she said.

In Kenya, a political party, not ideology, means everything. That is why in most regions, all that one needs to win an election is the ticket of a particular political party. It is also around election time that briefcase parties emerge solely to sell nomination papers to defectors.

Analysts point out that Kenya has political players but lacks ideal political parties. Martin Oloo, a political analyst and High Court Advocate, argues that political parties are mere vehicles to propel the players into office. Ideology is completely discarded.

Why Tangatanga lieutenants were locked out of Uhuru’s function in Nakuru

Why Tangatanga lieutenants were locked out of Uhuru’s function in Nakuru

President Uhuru Kenyatta has promised to use 2020 to fulfil the promises his government gave to Kenyans when he was seeking re-election in 2017.

Speaking in Nakuru County on Tuesday, the Head of State said that his government will not be engaging in any politics in 2020, but will only focus on service delivery to Kenyans.

He stressed on the need for Kenyans to shun political debates and concentrate on the national development agenda, stating that there is a lot to be done.

“We want this to be the year of work, a year when we fulfil our promises to the people. Not every time to do politics as if there’s nothing else to do,” he said.

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He spoke when he issued title deeds to members and descendants of the Nyakinyua from Kiambogo and Solai areas at the Rift Valley regional headquarters in Nakuru Town.

Nyakinyua was a group of traditional dancers famed for their entertaining dances and informative musical compositions during national celebrations in the 1960’s and 70’s.

The Head of State who was accompanied by ICT CS Joseph Mucheru, Lands PS Nicholas Muraguri and Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui reiterated his commitment to foster national cohesion and harmony by working with all leaders and citizens irrespective of their political affiliations.

Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui thanked the President and the national government for prioritizing the issuance of title deeds to residents of his county saying his administration will continue working closely with the national government in the delivery of development programmes.

Lands PS Nicholas Muraguri recounted the long search for title deeds by the Nyakinyua group dating back to 1967 when the group acquired parcels of land in the region.

Uhuru warned politicians whose main job is unending politicking that they will no longer be tolerated in public functions and should get other places to conduct their business.

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“This is a year for work. Those whose business is to use every opportunity to do politics should look for other gatherings to do so. We’ve been here for less than 30 minutes and we’ve finished our business here,” added the President.

Consequently, some leaders who are known to spearhead 2022 succession politics led by Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika and MP David Gikaria were barred from attending the function in the county where President Kenyatta was issuing the title deeds.

According to Senator Kihika, they were locked out following “orders from above” which said they belong to an unwanted faction.

However, MP’s Martha Wangari (Gilgil) and Samuel Gachobe (Subukia) were among several Nakuru County leaders at the colourful event which was marked by song and dance.

United Kenya: Uhuru gazettes 14-member BBI Steering Committee

United Kenya: Uhuru gazettes 14-member BBI Steering Committee

The government has gazetted a 14-member steering committee which will be tasked to oversee the implementation of the Building Bridges Initiative Report to a United Kenya Taskforce Report.

The members are Garissa Senator Mohamed Yusuf Haji, Bishop Lawi Imathiu, Maison Leshomo, James Matundura and Rose Moseu.

Others are Agnes Kavindu Muthama, Saeed Mwaguni, Bishop Peter Njenga, Archbishop Emeritus Zaccheaus Okoth, Adams Oloo, Busia Senator Amos Wako, Florence Omose, Morompi ole Ronkei and John Seii.

The joint secretaries are Martin Kimani and Paul Mwangi.

The committee has been directed to submit its comprehensive advice to the government by June 30, 2020.

The Steering Committee shall appoint its chairperson and vice-chairperson from among its members.

It will also regulate its own procedure within confines of the law and the Constitution, privilege bipartisan and non-partisan groupings, forums and experts.

The Steering Committee will form technical working groups as may be required in the achievement of its terms of reference.

The meetings should be held in places and at such times as the committee shall consider necessary for the proper discharge of its functions.

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The Steering Committee shall also solicit, receive and consider written memoranda or information from the public and may carry out or cause to be carried out such assessments, studies or research as may inform its mandate.

The Joint Secretaries shall be responsible for all official communication on behalf of the Steering Committee.

The Joint Secretaries may co-opt any other persons as may be required to assist in the achievement of the terms of reference of the Steering Committee.

Uhuru met the BBI taskforce at State House Nairobi on December last year where he requested the team to continue leading the process.

The President who was in the company of ODM leader Raila Odinga, thanked the team for putting together a report that ‘captured the aspirations of Kenyans’.

Uhuru extended the BBI taskforce term after a meet with Raila at State House.

According to the statement from State House Spokesperson Kanze Dena, the Taskforce will now be mandated to steer the next phase of the process.

“This will largely involve expanding and guiding public participation and structuring recommendations by Kenyans into implementable action plans,” the statement read.

However, the communication from State House did not indicate the exact time period of the extended term.