Kirinyaga governor Anne Waiguru has left friend and foe confused after she made several moves that appear set to define her political career ahead of the 2022 general elections. Last week, the governor astounded many when she claimed Jubilee Party
which she is a senior member of is dying and needs to be resuscitated. The governor in a tweet said Jubilee Party which at one time carried the dreams and aspirations of many Kenyans and was built on the strengths of many, is on the brink of collapse. She added that the party, which became strong because of its diverse and broad support base, is now a shell of its former self. “The rains have beaten us. Our fortunes are dwindling. Intense introspection is demanded. As we head to 2022 general elections, we must recognise that the party is now operating in a new context far different from 10 years ago. We have a much younger generation dominating the electorate. Our outlook and strategies must suit the times and so we must be willing to step off our comfort zones and embrace new ways of thinking and doing,” she tweeted.
The governor called for a re-energised Jubilee that projects the face of Kenya in all its diversities, adding they must also be pragmatic and reopen both the sides and back of the tent for people to enter and re-enter. “Our future is tied to the fate of the party and we must restore its vision, glory and stature or contend with predictable consequences,” she said. The governor was referring to the electoral defeats the party suffered in Juja constituency in Kiambu county, Bonchari in Kisii and Rurii ward in Nyandarua. Governor Waiguru also sent tongues wagging when she dismissed the coronation of national assembly speaker Justin Muturi, a man believed to have Uhuru Kenyatta’s ear as the Mount Kenya spokesman. On May 20, Governor Waiguru in a hard-hitting statement stated that while one cannot begrudge Muturi and others of their desire for some form of enthronement, without consultations and consensus with the leaders and the people of Mt Kenya, such have little meaning politically. She added that the ceremony would not give Muturi an upper hand because the people of Mt Kenya never had cultural kingpins and spokespersons until the colonialists came and installed the generally unpopular “paramount chiefs”.
“Ultimately, the speaker and others seeking votes from Mt Kenya and elsewhere will have to go to the ground and seek votes from the only legitimate determinants of leadership, the people,” she added. Waiguru reminded Muturi and others that the Mount Kenya political kingpin remained Uhuru who has not vacated his seat and “culturally we don’t inherit one when they are still alive”. And on May 26, Waiguru joined governors Mwangi Wa Iria of Murang’a and Lee Kinyanjui, Nakuru in a presser where they castigated Muturi for “installing himself as the Mount Kenya leader”. The three governors noted that people without a common agenda get scattered by one stroke. “We consulted as leaders from the Mt Kenya region and agreed to reach out to other stakeholders within the region so as to secure our votes and make them count in 2022. We agreed to a bigger follow-up meeting to be held in Nyeri in two weeks,” they stated. And on May 25, Waiguru sent more signals when she paid Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi a courtesy call. She tweeted after meeting Mudavadi: “Our nation will be built through consensus not divisions. It is always an honour to consult with other leaders.
In my courtesy call to Mudavadi, we deliberated on national unity, the economy, health care and women inclusivity in national leadership.” Since becoming one of the three leaders who made history as first women elected governors in 2017, Waiguru’s political star has been shining despite many storms. She escaped impeachment after Uhuru and Raila Odinga marshaled their troops in the senate to defeat her ouster motion. As for now, Waiguru is gearing up to defend her seat in the 2022 general elections although there are claims she is positioning herself to be a running mate to a top presidential contender. Among those eyeing the Kirinyaga gubernatorial seat include Kirinyaga woman rep Purity Ngirici, who is firmly in William Ruto’s camp. Ngirici is a firm supporter of Ruto’s Hustler Movement that has taken Kirinyaga politics by storm. Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua is also preparing to make another stab at the seat that eluded her in the 2017 general elections. Karua, who lost to Waiguru, challenged the results with the case ending up at the Supreme Court.
What is complicating matters for her is that she is leaning towards the Hustler Movement where Ngirici has already established herself as the point-woman. But there are reports Karua and Ngirici, both fierce critics of Waiguru, might hammer a compromise for the Narc-Kenya leader to go for the gubernatorial seat and Ngirici to defend her seat. There are also reports Interior principal secretary Karanja Kibicho is planning to go for the gubernatorial seat. Kibicho, a close ally of Uhuru will most likely opt for a party which the president will be backing. Here, the complication is that Waiguru is also expected to use the party with the president’s backing, which means the two, who do not see eye-to-eye, might have to square it in the nominations. Waiguru has been the face of the Building Bridges Initiative in Mt Kenya and thus will have an upper hand in the preferred president’s party primaries.