WIDENING RIFT

No end in sight to Kiraitu-Aburi rivalry as they clash again at burial

Politicians accuse each other of failing to implement development projects in Tigania East

In Summary

• Not even a plea by the clergy could prevent their spat.

•  The presiding cleric had urged leaders to avoid politics but that fell on deaf ears.

EALA lawmaker Mpuru Aburi in Muriri, Meru, in March
CLASH AT BURIAL EALA lawmaker Mpuru Aburi in Muriri, Meru, in March
Image: Dennis Dibondo

The rift between Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi and East African Legislative Assembly member Mpuru Aburi will not narrow any soon after the two clashed again at a funeral.

The once political allies no longer see eye to eye and this worsened at the burial of Mariam Mwaine, the mother of Methodist Bishop Joseph Ntombura, in Mbaranga, Tigania East.

 
 

Not even a plea by the clergy could prevent their spat. The presiding cleric had urged leaders to avoid politics but that fell on deaf ears.

Aburi took to the podium first and told Kiraitu to explain why his administration had failed to implement "tangible development projects such as road upgrades" in the constituency.

“The Kiraitu administration has not initiated tangible development projects in Tigania East constituency, which I represented in Parliament in 2013. Today, I'm at home and l beg you to allow me to speak the truth," he said.

"During campaigns, l came here with Kiraitu and took him to his in-laws, who hail from this area. He promised us that he would do roads for us when he got into power, but he has done nothing as for now.”

In response, however, Governor Kiraitu told Aburi to show what he did for the five years he served as the area MP. He said it was crucial that residents get the scorecard of each leader, adding he will remain the county chief despite being opposed by the likes of Aburi. 

“I will not be cowed into bowing down. I want to be given time to work for the people of Meru, because we will not finish the problems we are having as a county by shouting,” Kiraitu said.

Deputy Governor Titus Ntunchiu, who spoke after Aburi, defended Kiraitu. He urged residents to give them more time to deliver on their promises. Ntunchiu said the administration will upgrade the Karama-Mbaranga- Karachi road, which is in a sorry state.

 
 

Aburi, despite supporting the governor's election in 2017, has turned into his fiercest critic. He says Kiraitu has failed and should be sent packing. 

Barely a week ago, Kiraitu urged the clergy to bar him from using their pulpits to sell his "selfish agenda". He lashed at the EALA lawmaker for "constantly criticising" his administration. 

On March 16, their rivalry played out at another burial in Igembe Central. Aburi said the governor was sidelining Nyambene, which comprises the Tigania and Igembe subethnic groups. He said the region missed out on county development projects. But Kiraitu dismissed the claims, instead accusing Aburi of using falsehoods and propaganda to incite residents.

Also present at the function were Trade CS Peter Munya and Meru Senator Mithika Linturi.

Last month, Aburi, Munya and Linturi vowed to work together for sake of the county.

(Edited by F'Orieny)