Top Stories / 2017 Elections
Tuesday, 09 May 2017 09:32 EATlmakena@kenyafreepress.com
The close presidential race between President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga is looming large in the Meru gubernatorial campaign pitting senator Kiraitu Murungi against governor Peter Munya. In a region where the Jubilee Party has enjoyed massive support since its formation, Governor Munya’s independent streak is being used by his political opponents to incite doubts among the voters about his commitment to the re-election of President Kenyatta.
The governor currently chairs the Council of Governors that has presented a pro-devolution, anti-Jubilee stance on many national issues, hence emerging as a critic of the Jubilee government. Since taking over the PNU party in late 2016, Mr Munya has sought to establish himself as an independent Meru leader, differing sharply with Senator Murungi whose political fortunes are linked to his relationship with President Kenyatta and Jubilee power centres.
Yesterday, Mr Murungi alleged that Mr Munya, the leader of Party of National Unity (PNU) is a sponsor of Mr Odinga's National Super Alliance, claiming that the governor personally bankrolled the February 27 opposition meeting in Meru.
Speaking at Githongo, Central Imenti, Mr Kiraitu Murungi and his ally Mithika Linturi MP Igembe who is running for the senate seat, claimed that Mr Munya is funding NASA activities in Meru County. ‘’We know Munya is in NASA. Together with ward administrators, they organized the meeting at Maili Tatu. They even financed the meeting and mobilized residents to attend the event”.
The senator, who is facing a hard challenge unseating Mr Munya, alleged that the governor wanted to use the meeting to threaten Jubilee Party that NASA leader Odinga was gaining popular support in Meru. “We know his political gimmicks. We are telling him that Meru is solidly behind Jubilee,” the senator said.
The senator, who between 2003 and 2007 ran his politics as the Mt Kenya strategist in the campaign to clip Mr Odinga's wings in Kenya's first coalition government (NARC), said Mr Munya was secretly cooperating with "undesirable elements" out to infiltrate Meru politics but he did not explain how bad it would be for the region if Mr Odinga became president.
His sentiments were echoed by Mr Linturi who asked the governor to stop pretending he supports President Uhuru Kenyatta. "We saw many small parties that are not in Jubilee including Economic Party, Kanu, KPP and Chap Chap supporting President Uhuru Kenyatta re-election. Why did Munya's PNU fail to endorse Uhuru for the presidency?" Linturi posed.
Governor Munya's PNU party was the first to endorse the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta during its National Delegate Convention last year and the resolution stands to date, according to party officials. The governor has firmly said before that there is no political relationship between PNU and NASA and the party has no intention of joining either NASA or Jubilee.
Yesterday, Mr Linturi also condemned former cabinet minister Kirugi M'Mukindia who defected to Mr Odinga's NASA and declared that the Meru community was seeking new political direction. "He should show these people he is saying are in NASA. As far am concerned, we support Jubilee," the legislator said.
Last week, Governor Munya caused a political furore in the Mt Kenya region by remarks that seemed to question his support for the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta. The governor accused the Jubilee administration of neglecting Meru residents despite of voting for Uhuru in the 2013 elections.
He said the Uhuru Kenyatta administration had not initiated major development projects in the county as compared to other regions. "We have been begging the government to help us construct water dams and build roads, but our cries have fallen on deaf ears," said the governor, adding, "We have been begging the national government to help us to construct the Thangatha and Kianjuri dams to no avail.
"Yet we have seen the national government putting aside Sh60 billion for the construction of a dam in Makueni and Sh22 billion in Kericho counties. Why have they neglected us like this?" the governor asked. He also added: "In Bomet, which has two only constituencies, the national government has constructed 200 kilometres of roads while leaving out Meru."