THE STAR 08/16/2021
Mt Kenya party leaders have convened a strategy meeting in Thika on Tuesday to discuss the region acting as a bloc in supporting a presidential hopeful.
Mt Kenya is a precious unified vote bloc but various leaders in Central could be splitting it by pulling in different directions, making it less valuable.
Former President Mwai Kibaki's Party of National Unity has also convened a meeting for Wednesday as it plans a major comeback on the political scene.
The big meeting in Thika comes at a time of political confusion in Mt Kenya on which direction to take in 2022, who to support for president.
On Monday, Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, one of the conveners, said at least 11 party leaders with roots in Mt Kenya have been invited.
However, President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is the leader of the ruling Jubilee Party, has not been invited over what conveners said are protocol challenges.
“The meeting will take place in Thika on Tuesday and 11 parties have confirmed attendance,” Kuria told the Star in an interview.
He went on, “Given the protocol issues that usually accompany the presidency, we have not invited the President although he is a party leader who also comes from the region.”
Last week, Kuria, The Service Party leader Mwangi Kiunjuri and Narc Kenya boss Martha Karua launched a Mt Kenya party leaders caucus to push for the region's interests ahead of the 2022 general election
Parties attending Tuesday's meeting include Narc Kenya, TSP, Kuria's Chama Cha Kazi, Restore and Build Kenya, Democratic Party, the New Democrats and the National People's Empowerment, among others.
The meeting is one of many talks that will be convened by the caucus to build consensus on the region's 2022 prospects and demands as the country enters the homestretch.
The team plans a major political meeting to be known as Limuru Three that will take place in November to declare how the region will vote in the 2022 presidential contest.
The meeting Tuesday is part of the build-up to the Limuru conference billed as the ultimate opportunity for politicians from Mt Kenya to agree on the approach to 2022.
Kuria and Kiunjuri, who are key allies of Deputy President William Ruto, have pledged not to fold their parties, though the DP's United Democratic Alliance faces headache over coalition- building.
On Sunday, Kuria said while he supports the DP, the region must be allowed to keep their own political parties. That would reduce UDA's strength in Parliament.
"Parties are formed to articulate issues of the people and as Mt Kenya we believe we can better push for the region's interests if we have our parties," he said.
The PNU outfit, which quietly quit the national stage after Kibaki's exit in 2013, is planning a comeback with a series of activities to culminate in its 14th anniversary.
The party, which was launched in 2007, will hold an anniversary party on September 16 in a major activation programme.
On Wednesday, PNU officials will meet other party leaders, including Safina's Joseph Munyao and DP's Esau Kioni for 2022 talks at a luncheon at a Nairobi hotel.
Friends of PNU expected to attend include Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya, Laikipia Governor Nderitu Muriithi and Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni.
"We are gearing up for major revamp of PNU that will lead to our first anniversary in September," PNU secretary general John Okemwa said.
(Edited by V. Graham)