UNITY AT LAST?

Raila's road to Mt Kenya

Kikuyu elders working overtime to host Raila and Luo elders at the end of the month

In Summary
  • The delegation that visited Raila at the weekend publicly declared its intention to work with the ODM party leader and his community.
  • Since their handshake on March 9, 2018, Uhuru and Raila have been working together for the sake of the country's peace and development.
Kikuyu Elders pray at President Uhuru Kenyatta's rural home in Ichaweri village, Gatundu South.
Kikuyu Elders pray at President Uhuru Kenyatta's rural home in Ichaweri village, Gatundu South.

Kikuyu elders are burning the midnight oil preparing to give ODM leader Raila Odinga the treat of his lifetimeand a grand historic momentin Nyeri at the end of the month.

The elders want to make the event much bigger than the ceremony held at Raila's Bondo home last weekend when their Luo counterparts hosted them.

Though the elders are insisting the event is purely cultural, observers say the ceremony will have major political implications for the 2022 General Elections.

A section of the Mt Kenya elite is making a deliberate effort to position Railaonce depicted as the devil incarnateas the man who can take care of the region's interests.

"Kikuyus have a debt to pay. In 1962, Jaramogi created the Jomo presidency. Then Raila made Kibaki President in 2002. If Jaramogi was alive, we would have paid his debt first. Second in line for debt payment is Raila in 2022. Ruto's debt is scheduled to be paid in 2032. Be patient," controversial political scientist Mutahi Ngunyi said on Twitter.

It's possible the host politicians will endorse the ODM leader for the top seat, thereby setting the stage for a bruising battle for Mt Kenya votes between Raila and Deputy President William Ruto.

Kikuyu Council of Elders secretary general Peter Munga told the Star they have invited politicians, businessmen and opinion shapers from President Uhuru Kenyatta's Central Kenya backyard.

“We were very well received in Bondo. We are keen on renewing our friendship and that is why we are putting in all efforts to make the occasion a successful and historic event,” Munga said.

Since their handshake on March 9, 2018, Uhuru and Raila have been working together for the sake of the country's peace and development.

A section of politicians from Mt Kenya region, on the other hand, have  censured the elders for visiting Bondo last weekend.

Service Party leader Mwangi Kiunjuri, a close ally of Ruto, said the elders erred in visiting Bondo. He was removed as Agriculture CS and said it was because of his ties with Ruto.

In the the Kikuyu culture, Kiunjuri said, the bride price is paid to the family of the girl and not the other way round.

The meeting in Bondothe first of its kind since Independencewas also attended by Nominated MP Maina Kamanda, former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth, Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni and Nyeri Deputy Governor Caroline Karugu.

The delegation publicly declared its intention to work with the ODM party leader and his community.

Kenneth, who has become close to Raila recently, said the trip to Bondo was organised entirely by the elders from both sides for six months and they were mere invitees.

"They were retracing the steps. I came to know about the Bondo visit a week before the day,” he said.

Speaking on Ramogi FM on Tuesday night, Kenneth said Mt Kenya region has numbers and its leaders “want to speak in one voice to meaningfully bargain on the negotiating table".

Kikuyu elders are currently engaged in a flurry of activities, leaving nothing to chance as the prepare to cement the ties between the two communities.

As many as 1,000 guests are expected at the ceremony at Kabiru-ini Showgrounds at a date to be confirmed next week.

The KCE has since formed three groups of youth, women and elders, which are separately meeting this week to arrange to host their counterparts from the Luo community.

The three groups will then convene next week to make final preparations.

KCE chairman Wachira Kiago said the idea of reuniting the two communities has been supported by the political class.

“We have had so many people who have been thriving on differences between Kikuyus and Luos. Some people have been using these differences to push their political agenda,” he added.

Kiago said the event is being fought by some politicians who are against the two communities working together.

“Some people are fighting it because we have managed to do what they have never dared to try,” he explained.

Kiago reiterated that the two communities want to work together with the assistance of elected leaders to end political divisions that have strained their ties.

Former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo has also criticised the visit by Kikuyu elders to Raila's rural home. He said there were people who are now keen to please the ruling class while dividing the country.

Kabogo said the Kikuyu community cannot be forced into electing any person. “The Kikuyu are not bulldozed or enticed to vote for a certain individual. Even in the year 2002, they refused to vote for Uhuru Kenyatta,” he said.

Kiunjuri said the visit by the elders was against the Kikuyu culture and could have had ulterior motives.

“It is like a lady taking herself to a homestead and demanding to be married by a young man from that family because it owns a Probox," Kiunjuri said.

(Edited by V. Graham)