Uhuru vs Ruto: Which way for Kikuyus in Rift Valley?

Uhuru vs Ruto: Which way for Kikuyus in Rift Valley?

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Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto are fiercely fighting for the control of about 2 million Kikuyu votes in Rift Valley.
The Kikuyu community residing in the volatile region is now torn between supporting the head of state, who through the Building Bridges Initiative is backing opposition leader Raila Odinga for presidency in 2022, or the second in command who Uhuru had assured of his support during the 2013 and 2017 general elections.

Barely a month after Ruto hosted a delegation of about 4,000 Kikuyu leaders and elders from Rift Valley at his Sugoi home in Uasin Gishu county to strategise on his 2022 presidential bid, Uhuru hosted another 400 Kikuyu leaders and elders from the region at the family’s Gicheha farm in Nakuru to neutralise his number two.
Each of the two leaders who are now not seeing eye-to-eye, is crafting a new 2022 lineup with the president keen to remain relevant and his deputy keen to win the presidency.
But Ruto’s Sugoi meeting ended on a sour note after the Kikuyu leaders were embroiled in a bitter war over Sh8 million dished out during the event held his Sugoi home on December 19 2019.
The money was distributed to reimburse transport costs for the over 4,000 who attended the meeting.
The delegates who attended the meeting which happened after a chicken auction at Kambi Kuku, were led by Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri who is the chairman of Kikuyu community in Rift Valley and his vice chair Joseph Wainaina.
But several leaders alleged that less than Sh1 million was shared and the organisers disappeared with the rest.

A month after Ruto’s meeting, Uhuru hosted the Kikuyu leaders and elders at the Kenyatta family’s Gicheha farm where he assured them the prime minister’s position, as envisaged in the BBI, would go to a Kikuyu.
But an irked Uhuru directed the National Intelligence Service to compile a dossier on Kikuyu Rift Valley leaders backing Ruto with a view to prosecuting them.
Those on the radar include Kimani who is alleged to have grabbed huge parcels of land which he later sold to unsuspecting members of the public.
Nakuru senator Susan Kihika on her part is on the radar for taking over her family’s property as well as associating with businessman Stephen Mburu who is facing tax evasion charges.
But before Uhuru flew from Mombasa to Nakuru, there was drama at the former Rift Valley provincial headquarters when four legislators allied to the deputy president were barred from entering the venue.
Kihika, Nakuru Town West MP David Gikaria, Martha Wangari (Gilgil) and Samuel Gachobe (Subukia) had gone to attend a presidential function where Uhuru was expected to issue about 68,000 titles deed to settlers in Njoro, Gilgil, Rongai and Naivasha.
Kihika and Gikaria came to the venue twice and pleaded with the security officers to let them in to no avail.

Senator Susan Kihika of Nakuru county

“We were informed that orders from above are that we cannot be allowed entry because we belong to an unwanted faction! Meanwhile we are building bridges and uniting the nation,” Kihika lamented laughing off Uhuru’s unity initiative which she said was being used to sow division.
On his part, Gikaria gave up and left the venue in a huff having told the officers to keep the meeting to themselves.
Gikaria lamented that his time will come when he will be then one vetting who goes in.
Njoro MP Charity Kathambi, another ally of the deputy president, also boycotted the meeting despite most of the beneficiaries being her constituents.
Other Ruto allies in the area county woman representative Liza Chelule and Naivasha MP Jayne Kihara did not show up for the meeting.
MPs Wangari and Gachobe were later allowed to enter the function following the intervention of the Rift Valley regional commissioner George Natembeya.
The regional commissioner sent Nakuru county commissioner to go pick the two legislators from the gate.
This came as the gap between the Uhuru-allied Kieleweke faction of the Jubilee Party and the Ruto-leaning Tanga Tanga team widens.

The president meeting with leaders and elders from the Kikuyu community at the Gicheha Farm, Nakuru came a few hours after he sacked Mwangi Kiunjuri, a key Ruto ally, as Agriculture cabinet secretary.
According to the Bahati MP, Uhuru met 400 delegates from the Mount Kenya region in a bid to address the growing rift in the region’s leadership.

The legislator alleged that at the end of the meeting, each of the leaders in attendance was given Sh10,000.

Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri

While addressing the media earlier, Ngunjiri alleged that Uhuru has a hidden agenda in the push for the implementation of the BBI.
He challenged the president to publicly make clear whether he had intentions of retaining power post-2022 insinuating that Uhuru is using the BBI as a vehicle to cling to power after his retirement as president.
“You are saying that there is a seat for the Kikuyu within the BBI, which seat? If you want a seat, just say it. And I am suspecting it is true you want the seat,” Ngunjiri said.
“There is no day you have stated you want a seat. Former president Daniel arap Moi endorsed you. You did not admit wanting it. In 2013 you said you would leave it to Musalia Mudavadi, we pushed for your election