Interior principal secretary Karanja Kibicho allegedly on instructions from Uhuru Kenyatta who was then visiting Japan, directed Kirinyaga leaders including Governor Ann Waiguru to skip William Ruto’s tour of the region, we can authoritatively report.
But to show his might, in a region the president enjoyed near fanatical following, Ruto marshalled 18 elected leaders from Mount Kenya region, including the four local MPs, to attend his fundraiser.
The president, unhappy that his second in command has launched premature 2022 presidential campaigns and is also featuring in nearly all the mega corruption scandals tainting his administration, is out to lock him out of the populous Mount Kenya voting bloc. Last week, eyebrows were raised when Waiguru and her deputy Peter Ndambiri failed to show up in deputy president’s tour of the county.
Ruto had visited the county on a fundraising agenda at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Kirinyaga.Kirinyaga Central MP John Wambugu disclosed that they were not aware of Waiguru’s whereabouts. In addition, the governor is reported not to have sent an apology for skipping an event attended by her party’s deputy leader. However, Ruto pulled a fast one on Uhuru when nearly all the elected leaders joined him in the fund-raising.
The DP was welcomed by at least 20 members of the county assembly, who also attended the function. The MCAs claimed to have been instructed by an unidentified individual to skip Ruto’s event at Kangaita Catholic Church. The unidentified individual has since been unmasked as Kibicho.
The MCAs led by nominated ward representative Lucy Njeri further revealed that they defied the order by Kibicho to snub the event vowing that they were fully behind Ruto. They also claimed that Waiguru’s sentiments concerning Mt Kenya being open for an alliance with opposition leader Raila Odinga was but her personal views.
All four members of parliament from Kirinyaga county, Gichugu’s Gichimu Githinji, Mwea’s Wachira Kabinga, Ndia’s Gorge Kariuki and woman representative Wangui Ngirichi were present at the fundraiser.
Kirinyaga senator Charles Kibiru sent an apology, stating he is out of the country. The MPs and MCAs in attendance further reiterated their support for Ruto vowing to reject any attempt to be misled. Last year, Waiguru met Raila at his Capitol Hill offices where the two agreed to bury their differences with the governor dropping a defamation suit she had filed against the ODM leader.
“Held a meeting with Governor @AnneWaiguru and agreed to “let by-gones be by-gones” and leave the matter of the NYS scandal in the hands of investigators. She said her case against me is now settled in the spirit of reconciliation that the nation has embarked on,” Raila said.
“We also reviewed the status of devolution in the country and agreed to exchange views frequently on how to address the challenges,” he said.
In June, Waiguru also paid Ruto a courtesy call at Karen where she was accompanied by a host of MCAs. The two met a day after a poll by Ipsos Synovate ranked them as most corrupt leaders.
Ruto got 33pc and topped list of most corrupt Kenyan as Waiguru closely trailed him with 31pc according to the survey. Ruto confirmed he had invited and indeed met Waiguru and a section of Kirinyaga county leaders at his Karen residence.
In what seemed like a convenient coincidence the DP indicated he had met Kirinyaga leaders to discuss how the two tiers of national and county governments would work harmoniously to serve the citizens well. Waiguru bitterly fell out in 2016 following the loss of Sh791 million at the National Youth Service in 2015 after the latter resigned as Devolution and Planning cabinet secretary.
Waiguru who was under siege from opposition leaders and a section of Jubilee party members accused Ruto and his close allies of influencing investigations to unravel the loss at NYS. Ruto did not take the accusation lightly and hit back at Waiguru and suspect Josephine Kabura who had linked the former CS to transfer of cash from government accounts.
“But surely if a hairdresser registers 20 companies, gets contracts, is paid millions which she carries in bags like potatoes you would still want to tell us stories. Please give us a break. Kiingereza mingi, mnatufanyia catwalk hapa around na ni wazi pesa ya umma imepotea (You can’t catwalk around with a lot of English speaking yet public money has been lost),” Ruto said in November 2016.
In June, Raila alongside the president was present when Waiguru exchanged vows with the love of her life, a prominent lawyer Kamotho Waiganjo.
The president and the opposition chief were among the dignitaries who attended the wedding at the Kiamugumo Primary School. Others present included former Education cabinet secretary Amina Mohamed (now CS Sports), Murang’a woman rep Sabina Chege, Kibicho,
Transport CS James Macharia and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka. But Ruto, Kirinyaga woman representative Purity Ngirici and Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua gave the fete a wide berth.
Of late the Kirinyaga governor has emerged as one of Raila’s strongest supporters in the region.
Recently, she claimed the populous Mt Kenya region is open to forming a political alliance with the ODM leader ahead of the 2022 elections.
She said a wind of political change has hit Central Kenya under the leadership of the president, throwing open the region’s choice of a presidential candidate in the 2022 general election.
“If it is Raila, he should know that the region will want a piece of his government,” Waiguru said.
She described the ODM leader as “someone who understands the significant role that women play in Kenya’s politics”.
Waiguru said she had assured the ODM leader of her unwavering support for the handshake through ongoing activities of the Embrace Kenya team.
Waiguru’s warming up to Raila stands in stark contrast with past speculation that she was angling to be Ruto’s running mate in 2022.
The governor was, however, categorical that her new dalliance with Raila does not mean she was turning her back on the DP who did not show up during her wedding.
But last Sunday but one, 18 MPs allied to the Tangatanga political group rejected the Building Bridges Initiative and declared that Ruto’s race to State House is unstoppable.
In a bare-knuckle attack on former Prime Minister, the MPs said Ruto is not giving up his presidential ambitions.
Speaking at Kangaita Primary School in Kirinyaga County, the lawmakers told Raila to forget ever leading Kenya