SHOWDOWN

BBI face-off in Kirinyaga as Waiguru, Ngirici take sides

Differences between the two leaders are likely to set the pace for a heated referendum campaign

In Summary

• Waiguru was among the earliest champions of the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga which birthed the BBI process.

• Ngirici, an ally of Deputy President William Ruto and a member of the Tangatanga faction of Jubilee Party, has openly rejected the proposals. 

Kirinyaga Governor Ann Waiguru
PROPONENT: Kirinyaga Governor Ann Waiguru
Image: WANGECHI WANG’ONDU
Kirinyaga Woman Representative Wangui Ngirici
OPPONENT: Kirinyaga Woman Representative Wangui Ngirici
Image: WANGECHI WANG’ONDU

Kirinyaga political heavyweights Governor Anne Waiguru and Woman Representative Wangui Ngirici are gearing for a battle over the Building Bridges Initiative referendum plan.

Waiguru was among the earliest champions of the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga which birthed the BBI process.

She has spearheaded the initiative in the region and oversaw the collection of signatures to endorse the referendum bid. 

Ngirici, an ally of Deputy President William Ruto and a member of the Tangatanga faction of Jubilee Party, has openly rejected the proposals. 

 

The differences between the two leaders are likely to set the pace for a heated BBI campaign in the county should the referendum process be ratified.

On Thursday, Waiguru joined other Mt Kenya leaders to hand over signatures to BBI Central region coordinator Peter Weru in Nyeri.

She said the referendum will help promote unity and ensure inclusivity.

According to the BBI signature report presented on Thursday, Kirinyaga collected 116,513 signatures.

But on Friday, Ngirici picked holes on the proposals and urged residents not to be in haste to approve a document they are ignorant about.

“Let us read, scrutinise and make informed decisions on what is best for this country,” she said.

She warned the BBI proponents against forcing the proposals down the throats of wananchi.

“It is only some few days ago that the finance CS declared that an economic hardship has hit our country, yet there are proposals therein meant to add more burdens on the taxpayer,” she said.

Ngirici said the proposals to raise county allocation to 35 per cent up from 15 per cent, extra constituencies and seven-year tax holidays for business startups by the youths were baits for the groups' support. 

 
 

While at a meeting attended by DP Ruto last week, Ngirici insisted that there is still time to revise the document.

“Why would we have more than 600 parliamentarians yet we still are incapable of sustaining the crucial activities that turn the turbines of our economy?” she asked. 

Ngirici said it is still possible to hold the referendum and the next elections at the same time and save money. 

However, speaking in Nyeri on Thursday, Waiguru noted that the BBI train is unstoppable and those supporting it should do so without conditions. 

She urged everyone to support the amendments that will bring additional representation and resources moving forward.

Ngirici spoke in Kerugoya during the funeral of former Kerugoya–Kutus mayor Evans Mbogo Mwangi who died last week.

She praised Mwangi for the hearty determination and sacrifice in serving the county residents in different capacities during his long time in public service.

Friends, relatives and county administrators present heaped praises on Mbogo, who died aged 86, as a model whose leadership capability needs to be emulated.