JUSTIN MUTURI: CAN HE CONSOLIDATE MT KENYA
By Antony Oyugi
The declaration by National Assembly Speaker Justin Bedan Muturi that he’ll be running for the presidency in the 2022 elections is not only interesting but curious. The former magistrate with a love for his bottle who is serving a second term as Speaker started his political career as Siakago MP on a KANU ticket after the 2002 elections. I mention KANU and 2002 because it may reflect his closeness to President Uhuru Kenyatta. This is the year when Uhuru had his first stab at the presidency and enjoyed considerable support in pockets of the Mt Kenya region.
Speaker Muturi has not only declared his intention to run for President but was also recently crowned as the Mt Kenya spokesman in some shrine. Or maybe he crowned himself. That’s neither here nor there. Such an event couldn’t miss the eye of President Uhuru Kenyatta. While it’s politically interesting that Hon Muturi who is Embu may be crowned to speak for not only his ethnic group but also GEMA which includes the more populous Meru and Kikuyu blocks, this may not be a political misadventure. It is a calculated political move.
Can he consolidate and deliver Mt Kenya?
This question can only be answered after understanding Mt Kenya politics. The dominant Kikuyu have essentially monopolized Mt Kenya politics since we knew how to vote. The Meru and Embu have been taken as visitors in GEMA. There is therefore a very slim chance that the Kikuyu will surrender this control and dominance to a visitor. Why would a visitor speak for and run their house? Maybe that’s why Muranga Governor Mwangi wa Iria, former CS Mwangi Kiunjuri, Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, businessman Jimi Wanjigi, etc are expressing interest in the presidential race. Remember that from the Meru corner CS Peter Munya is also positioning himself as Mt Kenya kingpin.
But then let’s look at it this way….is there a hidden hand fronting Speaker Muturi and why? My take is that there’s someone or a group of people propping Hon Muturi and he has their blessings. They may be doing this to deliberately split the Mt Kenya numbers. They aren’t keen on Mt Kenya voting as a block as is their custom. When you split Mt Kenya, you weaken and jeopardize their chances at the bargaining table. This may be the design and plan!