The swift reactions Meru governor Kiraitu Murungi got from his rivals led by Agriculture cabinet secretary Peter Munya and woman representative Kawira Mwangaza when the county chief referred to himself as a crocodile points to the grueling campaign expected in the region in 2022.
Emmerson Mnangagwa the man who achieved the long held ambition to sue Robert Mugabe as president of Zimbabwe was fondly referred to as the crocodile due to political cunning. He was known as the crocodile due to his political shrewdness and being a cruel man. Addressing residents at Gatimbi in Central Imenti, Kiraitu stirred the hornet’s nest when he used the crocodile statement to explain he was ready to face any competitor for the 2022 gubernatorial seat. “Let those passing by the river and coming to fetch water know that the crocodile is still alive,” the governor said. But a day later, Munya took to Facebook to dismiss the governor as a dying crocodile that cannot fight anybody. Munya tweeted: “The overrated crocodile (Kiraitu) is desperate and dying.
The komerera (female leaders campaigning for Kiraitu to retain the job) are spending sleepless nights and running bizarre discussing personalities as if they were development projects in meeting. MAMBO BADO.” Munya’s remarks came shortly after Kawira, who is also eyeing the governor’s seat in 2022, dismissed Kiraitu ‘crocodile’ statement terming it as threatening and baseless. She accused the governor of using threats to scare away residents in need of services from the administration. “Kiraitu said I should be told crocodile is in the water, as the mum to Meru residents I want to report this crocodile is dead. How can he call himself a crocodile while people need services from him?” Kawira questioned. She promised to “pull the crocodile out of the water”. “We will pull out this crocodile out of the water by prayers and by use of our votes so that Meru residents can get access to county government services such as electricity, better health care and other service,” she added.
Since she announced her interest on the top seat, Kawira has been trading accusations with Kiraitu, accusing the governor of sabotaging her development projects. The woman representative, who doubles up as the bishop of Baite Family Church, has maintained that no political tackle will box her out of the race. She has also been fighting the governor’s supporters opposed to her bid for county top seat. She has been using the word komerera to tell off female leaders from the county against her race for the top county seat. Komerera is a Kikuyu word meaning ‘lie low, keep out of trouble’. People used it as a slogan during Emergency time. The woman representative has been winning the hearts of the voters by cutting the image of a down-to-earth leader willing to soil her hands by, for instance, washing the feet of jigger infested residents, supporting the old and poor and helping rehabilitate rejected drug addicts. She had drawn the ire of the governor who at one time ordered council askaris to raid her Baite TV station over alleged tax arrears.
The governor has been raising the alarm over the local media empire broadcasts, accusing it of inciting the residents to reject him. Kiraitu was once recorded stating he would sue Kawira for tainting his image via the media outlet.
“I will not allow Baite TV to keep on bashing me from morning to evening. Was Baite TV established to fight me? I am asking its owners to stop,” Kiraitu thundered. This was followed by an attack to the media house by Meru revenue board officers who claimed it had failed to pay its tax dues. But Kawira maintained the raid was politically motivated and dismissed claims she owed the county government Sh509,000. Munya who has also shown interest in the gubernatorial seat he lost to Kiraitu in 2017 elections, has been taking advantage of his agriculture docket to lure voters in the region. The CS forays have alarmed the governor who has vowed not to be derailed by political propaganda in his efforts to develop the county.
Kiraitu has been telling off Munya and Kawira for engaging in what he terms as premature campaigns ahead of 2022 general election. Speaking recently during a development tour at Gatimbi market in Central Imenti subcounty, Kiraitu said politicians should desist from talking about 2022 and instead bring development to Meru residents. Also facing his wrath is Abothuguchi Central MCA Ayub Bundi, the minority leader. The governor has accused Bundi, who is allied to Munya, of engaging in insults when campaigning instead of delivering to residents who elected him. While bragging he is the governor of everybody in Meru county including his political opponents, Kiraitu has been challenging Munya and East Africa Legislative Assembly MP Mpuru Aburi to give him space to deliver his development promises.