- Mr Kuria has declared intentions to run for the presidency and has started criss-crossing the region seeking for the support.
- The party known as Civic Renewal Party, registered by Mr Iria’s handlers, has been recruiting members in and outside Mt Kenya region.
- Mr Peter Kenneth has also been identified as a potential kingpin, with his political experience and connections working for him.
The battle to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta as the Mt Kenya kingpin has kicked off with several leaders warming up to inherit the vote-rich bloc.
The race has also taken regional undertones as politicians pitch for their man or woman while others opine that time will resolve the thorny issue of successor.
Murang’a Senator Irungu Kangata observed that just like former Presidents Mwai Kibaki and Daniel Moi, whose influence came to an end with their exit from power, the same will happen in Mt Kenya. His views were backed by Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua.
“It is difficult to groom someone when the President is still in office and active politically. But as he exits, new formations will rise,” Mr Gachagua said.
His sentiments have been shared by Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu, who said a wave and circumstance will help the region get its leader when the time comes.
“In 2002, the region rejected Mr Kenyatta for Mr Kibaki, and from nowhere Mr Kenyatta succeeded Mr Kibaki in 2013. There is no cause for alarm, we will still get a leader when time and circumstances demand,” he told the Nation.
But that has not stopped the jostling. Some of the leaders who have shown interests in taking the leadership mantle are Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kunjuri, Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki, Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru, former presidential candidate Peter Kenneth and Gatundu South legislator Moses Kuria.
And this line-up that is dominated by central Kenya leaders has worried their counterparts from Mt Kenya East counties of Embu, Tharaka Nithi and Meru. They want one of their own to be the ultimate kingpin.
Chuka IgambaNgomb’e MP Patrick Munene said they are watching keenly how the contest will unfold.
“Central has produced all Mt Kenya leaders since independence. We are watching keenly how they go about it this time. We cannot be talking about betrayal at the national level and yet we are betraying each other at regional level. We will not take it lying down,” he said.
Mr Kuria has declared intentions to run for the presidency and has started criss-crossing the region seeking for the support.
Political analysts have interpreted Mr Kuria’s move as going for the sun, but aiming to reach the moon.
Ms Njoki Nyambura, a political analyst, said Mr Kuria wants to consolidate his support in Mt Kenya so that he can then use his political muscles for negotiation of a central position of the region, cautioning that Mr Kuria’s strategy is resonating well with the region.
“People want to hear a bit of rebellion with a leader who they can affiliate themselves with, and Mr Kuria’s constant concerns of the region is positioning him as that leader; he may pull a surprise and see him in the bargaining table negotiating on behalf of the region,” she said.
However, Ms Nyambura noted that the only issue with Mr Kuria is that he comes from Kiambu, a county that has produced two presidents, but noted that it would depend on how Mr Kuria would work with other county leaders.
“He will surprise many since his simplicity and relationship with locals speaks volumes,” he said.
But other political observers have dismissed Mr Kuria, saying he could be assisting Deputy President William Ruto to consolidate his support in the region.
“Mr Kuria could be an ally of Dr Ruto and could be used to infiltrate the political dominance of Mr Kenyatta, as there seems to be a straining relationship between the two. And Mr Kenyatta may not support Dr Ruto’s presidential ambition in 2022,” Mr Kinyanjui Kariuki noted.
However, Mr Kuria told the Nation that he is serious in his quest and faulted both the Kieleweke and Tanga Tanga outfits.
He said they are a threat to the stake of Mt Kenya hence his decision to vie for the country’s top job.
“We don’t have a common script as both factions have weakened our region. While Kieleweke team is driven by raw hate, malice sheer contempt and blinded by the need to stop one person from vying for the presidency, Tanga Tanga team is a bunch of excited leaders who have demonstrated high level of amateurism, myopia and naivety, singing a chorus of one person without a pre-thought of our future stake in government as a region,” he said.