• Uhuru, regarded as the political supremo of the region, has seen his influence and grip on the region threatened by this deputy, who has been critical of the BBI drive.
• The DP has made inroads in his boss’s backyard and has built a string of army of followers that has threatened to dim BBI fortunes in the vote-rich region.
All eyes are on President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto as Mt Kenya MCAs convene sessions to vote on the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
At least six county assemblies are set to take the crucial vote next week after successfully conducting public participation forums.
They are Kiambu – the President’s home county – Murang'a, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Embu, Tharaka Nithi and Nakuru.
On Thursday, Laikipia became the first county assembly from the region to endorse the proposed constitutional changes.
The President, a partner in the handshake that birthed the BBI, has implored the MCAs from his backyard and made several efforts to persuade them to pass the bill.
Uhuru, regarded as the political supremo of the region, has seen his influence and grip on the region threatened by Ruto who has been critical of the BBI drive.
The DP has made inroads in his boss’s backyard and has built a strong army of followers that has threatened to dim BBI fortunes in the vote-rich region.
So serious is the threat that the President was last month forced to retreat to a meeting with the MCAs, other elected leaders and opinion shapers from the area to ensure the bill sails through.
In Kiambu, MCAs are scheduled to debate and take a vote on the Bill on Wednesday after they concluded a two-day public participation meeting on Thursday.
Majority leader Gideon Gachara expressed confidence that the document will pass, saying residents are in support of the changes.
“We represent the people as MCAs and we do as per the wishes of the people. I have lobbied far and wide amongst the MCAs and I am sure come Wednesday the bill will pass overwhelmingly,” he said.
Kiambu will be one of the biggest beneficiaries if the changes sail through at a referendum expected to be held in June. The county will get additional six constituencies.
Governor James Nyoro, who attended the meetings, said the county has over 2.7 million people and the share it currently gets is not enough, but with the amendment bill being passed, Kiambu stands to benefit.
“The BBI is advocating a peaceful and united country, electoral violence will be a thing of the past,” Nyoro said.
In Murang’a, the fate of the bill will be known on Tuesday when assembly members meet take a vote on it. This follows successful public participation forums that they conducted in all eight subcounties on Thursday.
Heavy police presence was recorded at the Kandara forum whose MP Alice Wahome, a close ally of the DP, is a strong opponent of the bill.
The situation was strangely calm in Kiharu, with a few police officers despite MP Ndindi Nyoro, another Ruto confidant, publicly criticising the BBI process.
Majority leader Eric Kamande told the Star that locals who attended the forums overwhelmingly voiced their support for the bill in all the forums and expressed confidence that it will be smoothly passed in the house.
Previously, there were concerns over growing rebellion of locals against the government despite the county being considered a bedrock of the President’s support.
Governor Mwangi wa Iria said many people had not familiarised themselves with the contents of the bill but readily supported it once they were sensitised to it.
Wa Iria further dismissed claims that the Mt Kenya region is against the BBI, saying locals want more resources devolved.
Should the bill go through, Kiharu constituency, the largest in the county, will be subdivided into two and the county will receive an extra Sh6 billion in revenue allocation.
MCAs in the neighbouring Nyeri county will also debate and vote on the bill either Tuesday or Wednesday after concluding public participation forums in all eight subcounties.
Speaker John Kaguchia said the Legal Affairs committee is currently compiling a report from the submissions made by residents.
Chinga MCA Kiruga Thuku, a member of the committee, said they would table the report in the House Tuesday or Wednesday.
In Embu, the ward reps are compiling a report from public participation forums and are scheduled to convene anytime next week to debate and vote.
Majority leader Michael Njeru said they received varied opinions from residents and were now working on a report to be tabled in the House.
The assembly held the forums in Embu East, Embu West, Embu North, Mbeere South and Mbeere North sub-counties.
Nakuru MCAs will also decide next week after public engagements and consultation.
Governor Lee Kinyanjui and Speaker Joel Maina Kairu expressed confidence that the MCAs will pass the bill.
“The purpose of this event was to inform the people on what is contained in the document and collect their views before the assembly can vote,” Kairu said.