William Ruto’s allies continued attacks on Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti could cost him the Meru vote in 2022, for waging a war on their own son.
To show that the Kinoti factor is serious in the region, especially among the Meru community, no pro-Ruto politician has come out openly to hit out at Kinoti. Even the vocal East African Legislative MP Mpuru Aburi seen to be close to Ruto and whose nomination to the assembly was brokered by the DP has gone silent on the Kinoti factor.
Instead, Meru politicians led by Maoka Maore and Kithure Kindiki have come in to rally behind Kinoti. In fact, Kindiki who was at one time seen to be a likely Ruto running-mate come 2022, recently surprised many when he claimed that the DP should pick Ann Waiguru, the Kirinyaga governor as his deputy.
They termed Kinoti who hails from the region as one of the few competent Kenyans who execute their duties without political manipulation and disputed claims he was targeting the Kalenjin community.
The leaders further cautioned Ruto that he risks losing the Meru support in the 2022 general election if he keeps on attacking Kinoti.
The DCI is a highly respected personality in Meru, and indeed Mount Kenya region, and any attack on him is interpreted as an affront on the appointing authority Uhuru Kenyatta. It is not only in Mount Kenya region where Kinoti of late has support but Ruto’s allies continued attacks, according to analysts, will drain and see him lose support of Kenyans against corruption.
In fact analysts aver that Ruto’s continued attacks on Kinoti have politically messed the countless visits he had made to Meru region to drum up his 2022 presidential bid, Indeed, Ruto considers the greater Meru region as his stronghold but now things appear to be tilting to the wrong side.
But speaking in Laare during the burial of three pastors who were killed by cattle rustlers in Igembe North, Trade cabinet secretary Peter Munya and Buuri MP Mugambi Rindikiri warned Ruto and other politicians against blocking efforts by the president to fight corruption.
“Nobody is being targeted but if you are named in any corruption deal, it does not matter where you come from. You must be investigated and prosecuted,” Munya said.
Speaking separately, Mike Makarina, chairman of People Living with Disability Mt Kenya East told off Ruto for claiming that Kinoti was targeting him in the war on graft.
Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa and his Kiharu counterpart Ndindi Nyoro have been quoted as saying that the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission has the independence and capacity to conduct thorough investigations. They are viewed as pro-Ruto supporters.
In a bare-knuckle attack, the DP claimed the DCI had been sucked into a political scheme and strategy to undermine the implementation of major development projects and in the end scuttle Uhuru’s legacy, by making it impossible to deliver pre-election pledges.
Why then should Ruto handle Kinoti with a lot of care? The larger Meru community has two counties of Tharaka Nithi and Meru counties both with an overwhelming number of votes.
According to IEBC 2017 records, Meru county boasts of 712,378 numbers of registered voters while Tharaka Nithi is capable of delivering 216,522 votes.
It should also not be ruled out that the community voting pattern has a history of great influence on how their neighbours in Embu county, the home of 315, 668 registered voters, make decision at the ballot.
Meru county is made up of nine constituencies namely Igembe South, Igembe Central, Igembe North, Tigania West, Tigania East, North Imenti, Buuri, Central Imenti and South Imenti.
The governance in the county is under Peter Munya (governor), Kiraitu Murungi (senator), Chege Mwangi (county commissioner) and Florence Kajuju (women representative).
Other top leaders in Meru county include MPs Mithika Linturi of Igembe South, Cyprian Iringo, Igembe Central, Joseph M’uthari, Igembe North, David Karithi, Tigania West, Lawrence Aburi, Tigania East, Abdul Dawood, North Imenti, Boniface Kinoti, Buuri, Gideon Irea, Central Imenti and Kathuri Murungi, South Imenti.
On the other hand, Tharaka Nithi has three constituencies namely Maara, Chuka/Igambang’ombe and Tharaka.
The country leadership is headed by Samuel Ragwa (governor), Kithure Kindiki (senator) and Beatrice Nyaga (women representative).
Other top leaders include Japhet Mbiuki, Maara, Onesmus Njuki, Chuka/Igambang’ombe, and Alex Mwiru, Tharaka.
Keen observers are quick to point out that Ruto brewing war in Ameru community is being orchestrated by the president himself as it is in the public domain that the two leaders do not see eye-to-eye as 2022 succession race gains momentum.