DROPPED FROM CABINET

Kiunjuri launches party in clear battle for Mt Kenya

Kiunjuri says his party TSP will not have a presidential candidate in 2022 neither will he run for any elective position

In Summary

• TSP to roll out grassroots mobilisation in August then countrywide. 

• Former CS considered a possible running mate for DP Ruto.

TSP party leader Mwangi Kiunjuri during the unveiling of his new party at Riverside Drive, Nairobi, on June 24, 2020.
TSP party leader Mwangi Kiunjuri during the unveiling of his new party at Riverside Drive, Nairobi, on June 24, 2020.
Image: DOUGLAS OKIDDY

Deputy President William Ruto's Mt Kenya ally Mwangi Kiunjuri has unveiled his party, setting the stage for a battle with Jubilee for the control of Mt Kenya in the lead-up to 2022.

The former Agriculture CS, while unveiling The Service Party, said beginning August, he will market the new party in Mt Kenya and later, to the rest of the country.

Kiunjuri is the former Grand National Union leader, an outfit that emerged from the ruling party. He launched TSP at a time when Mt Kenya is accusing President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration of bad policies that have killed the economy.

Kiunjuri has been in the forefront pushing for regional unity and often uses Kikuyu proverbs and riddles to drive his point home.

His handlers said he wants to use his charm and political connections to rally behind one presidential candidate who will take care of the region’s interests.

He who was dropped from Cabinet in January by President Kenyatta, giving the clearest indication yet that TSP will be positioning itself as the alternative voice of Mt Kenya.

“As you are aware, parties are established to either form governments or if outside, to influence the government’s decision making. TSP members and the officials have carefully listened to Kenyans and have made the commitment to bring forth a platform that as our name suggests, will be unequivocal about service delivery to our people,” Kiunjuri said.

He was accompanied by a section of interim officials.

Kiunjuri said TSP will open its doors to other leaders who have been subjected to unfair treatment in their respective parties.

He said the outfit will push for service delivery to Kenyans and will prioritise food insecurity, unemployment, poor access to basic services and intervention on the adverse effects of Covid-19.

“We are deeply aware and saddened by the enduring divisions, persistent quarrelling and the general slide towards divisions that have become part of our politics,” he said.  

“We, therefore, realised service cannot be effectively delivered in this kind of environment. We want to listen to Kenyans, build our agenda from the grassroots up and prioritize the most heartfelt issues keeping Kenyans sleepless.”

The TSP will not field a presidential candidate in 2022, Kiunjuri said.

The former CS also said he will not offer his candidature for any elective positions lifting the lid that he could be on the list of top candidates the DP is considering for a running mate.

Even as Uhuru’s succession politics intensify at the national level, the issue of who will step into his shoes in Mt Kenya has been the subject of discussion among the region’s leadership.

Kiunjuri being one of the senior politicians from the vote-rich region is said to have been approached by the elders and businessmen to lead the community.

Before venturing into politics, Kiunjuri taught at Kangema High School, Kiarithaini High School and Dr Kiano Boys between 1983 and 1997.

The Moi University Bachelor of Education graduate quit teaching at Kiarithaini Secondary School, Nyeri, in 1997 and was elected Laikipia East MP on the Democratic Party ticket.

The outspoken politician was reelected in 2002 and 2007 but lost in 2013 when he vied for governor.

His mastery of the Kikuyu language, especially through proverbs and idioms, is unmatched among Central Kenya politicians of his generation.

Edited by R.Wamochie