The elected leaders’ common refrain to Mr Tuju was that the President was unreachable and that they also wanted to know his stand on the 2022 succession.
It was after the series of these meetings that the MPs, on their own initiative, decided to have a strategy meeting in Naivasha.
It was instructive that they did not go to the Kenyatta family affiliated Great Rift Valley Lodge but instead chose Enashipai Lodge.
Sources indicated that State House got wind of the meeting, which was facilitated by a senior government official to avoid anyone hijacking the agenda.
The elected leaders were further emboldened after the President agreed to meet them at the central regional commissioner’s residence — instructively not the State Lodge at Sagana — but they were in for a rude shock after being reprimanded for addressing the President through the media and playing succession politics.
According to a source inside the tense Thursday meeting, the President is reported to have taken issue with Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria’s dalliance with the media.
“Venye naweza kukuambia ni kwamba Kuria alisomewa sana (What I can tell you is that Kuria was lectured thoroughly),” said a source in the meeting.
There were expectations that Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata, who is also Senate Deputy Majority Whip, would be on the receiving end for proposing that the President should not retire from politics but he was spared. It was a small victory for the few MPs who have openly opposed the Deputy President.
The leaders’ memorandum on development also received a cold reception from the Head of State.
The MPs had just had lunch in the tents when the President’s motorcade arrived. On arrival, he said “naskia mko na maneno” (I’m told you have issues).
MPs Cecily Mbarire, Isaac Mwaura and Moses Kuria read to him a summary of the Naivasha meeting in point form.
“He was also presented with each constituency’s demands. Each MP had prepared the needs of his area. But the President said the documents were too bulky and he could not reply to each. He said he would look at them and communicate,” said one of the lawmakers, who spoke in confidence.
The source said the President advised the MPs to fashion their demands into a proposal and link their needs with specific Cabinet Secretaries. CS Peter Munya was appointed the liaison between MPs and the Executive.
The President advised the leaders that he would not help much on issues such as resource allocation formula since it is done in Parliament and is upon the MPs to lobby.
“He told us his agenda is development and he will have a voice on succession politics. He also cautioned us against concentrating more on politics at the expense of development,” said our source, who ordinarily had issues speaking on record.
The meeting was against a backdrop of more than 36 visits by the Deputy President in the region as he consolidates support for his 2022 presidential bid.
But some regional legislators led by Ngunjiri Wambugu (Nyeri Town), Maina Kamanda (nominated) and Muturi Kigano (Kangema) have been opposed to Mr Ruto’s visits due to political statements made by those accompanying him.
After the meeting, the President refused to be escorted by the politicians to Nyeri town for a brief public rally and to Karatina to open the multi-million-shilling market. He was accompanied by Nyeri leaders only.
“Hii ingine ni maneno ya Nyeri kwa hivyo tutaenda na viongozi wa Nyeri (The rest is about Nyeri affairs and therefore we will go with Nyeri leaders),” the President is reported to have told the forum before he left.
But during a rally in Nyeri town, the President also expressed anger that an MP, who he did not name, had asked about the succession.