Even as Meru senator Mithika Linturi fights a messy divorce case at the Milimani Law Courts, he is also fighting another political battle to unseat Governor Kiraitu Murungi in the 2022 general election.
The divorce case pitting Linturi and his estranged wife Maryanne Kitany has become the latest soap opera, with all manner of accusations being made before Milimani Chief Magistrate Peter Gisore.
Born 50 years ago in Meru, Linturi met Keitany at the height of impeachment motion against Devolution cabinet secretary Anne Waiguru, now Kirinyaga governor.
Some 150 MPs had already signed up in support of the censure that shook Jubilee’s government to the core.
In the end, then Igembe South MP never showed up in parliament to table the motion as required by the standing orders, defeating it on a technicality.
Last week, Keitany told the court that the same day Linturi was expected in the house, they were making out in Sopa Lodge, Naivasha.
That aside, the senator has also fallen out with Kiraitu going by their recent pronouncements.
In the 2017 elections, they ganged up against former governor Peter Munya, now Trade, Industrialisation and Cooperatives cabinet secretary.
The two and former woman rep Florence Kajuju, now the Ombudsman, teamed up in what was known as Kikali, an acronym for Kiraitu, Kajuju and Linturi.
Known for grassroots mobilisation skills, the senator teamed up with Kiraitu under team Kikali to win almost all political seats in the county during the last general election.
But two years after their triumph in elections, the governor and senator are not seeing eye-to-eye after Linturi appeared to criticise the county government over the 2017-2018 Auditor General Edward Ouko’s report.
Ouko questioned county expenditure and composition of the workforce, saying 88pc were from a dominant ethnic group.
Armed with the report, Linturi made his way to the county assembly and told MCAs it was an indictment of the government, a statement Kiraitu has not taken lightly.
The senator said among the queries was Sh1 million paid to the director of Medical Services for attending a training in Yonsei University Health System in South Korea, yet the admission letter said accommodation expenses would be catered for by the institution.
“This report is an indictment of our county government. We must interrogate it with sobriety, objectivity and demand accountability from those put in positions of service by the good people of Meru,” he said.
He told MCAs his loyalty was to the people of Meru, and he would endeavour to discharge his oversight role over the devolved unit.
Linturi assured the assembly he is in good working terms with the executive. “However, my personal relationship with governor and the county executive cannot compromise my oversight role,” he said.
But Kiraitu said Linturi had jumped the gun.
“The senator should have waited in the senate. He should have waited until we are summoned, because he is a member of its public accounts committee. All the questions he said he did not understand, we will answer. I believe our finance executive has all the answers,” Kiraitu said, adding that he read malice.
But though Linturi has not publicly declared his interest in the race, sources say he is preparing to square it off with Kiraitu in 2022.
He has now taken the battle to the county assembly where his allies are doing his bidding to taint Kiraitu’s image ahead of the 2022 contest.
At a fundraiser, Ruiri Rwarera MCA Peter Mutuma, a Linturi man, criticised majority leader Victor Karithi of Athwana ward for causing divisions in the house.
Karithi is known to lend an ear to Kiraitu, hence a clash between the two is seen as one between the senator and the governor.
“Kiraitu should know that Karithi is the person stagnating his development agenda by orchestrating division in the assembly. He is a know-it-all leader and is responsible for fueling divisions among MCAs,” Mutuma said.
In a swift response, however, Karithi hit out at Mutuma as a semi-literate politician who is being used by Linturi to fight “me for no apparent reason”.
“He attended a fundraiser and donated Sh100,000, which he was given by Linturi. That’s why he was firing salvos at me,” he said.
Karithi also accused Linturi of plotting to have him ousted from the majority leader seat. He cautioned the senator to focus on his roles.
“I don’t know why Linturi always attacks me by sending emissaries. He should state his agenda,” he said.
Reading from the same script with Karithi were MCAs Mwiti Romano of Kangeta, Jediel Mutura, Ntunene and Robert Kithinji, Nyaki East and Salome Mutua, nominated.
Mutura cautioned Mutua against resorting to insults, while Mutua lashed out at him, warning Mutuma to follow the right procedure if he is interested in impeaching Karithi.
“It’s like Mutuma wants the seat, but it’s impossible because he is of the Kenya Patriotic Party, while the majority in the house are Jubilee,” she said.
Romano alleged that meetings were held during William Ruto’s visit to plot against other leaders.
Kithinji said Kiraitu does not appoint a majority leader. Such a role is a preserve of the majority party in the assembly, he said