Muturi ends seclusion ahead of Saturday coronation

Elders visit National Assembly Speaker as part of ritual purification before installation at Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga shrine in Murang'a

In Summary

•Muturi's planned crowning has continued to generate political debate in the Mt Kenya region.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi is 24 hours away from concluding his eight-day seclusion for ritual purification ahead of his crowning as Mt Kenya spokesman.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi is 24 hours away from concluding his eight-day seclusion for ritual purification ahead of his crowning as Mt Kenya spokesman.

In his first address to the press since the news of his seclusion emerged, Muturi said it was not for him to explain what rituals he has been following or not.

He however asserted he has observed the requirements for his ritual purification ahead of the event scheduled for Saturday at the Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga shrine in Muranga county.

“It is a moment of self-reflection…you go down the river and observe moments of reflection and look at issues affecting the country…it is a great moment,” Muturi said on Wednesday.

The Speaker said he was ready to take up the advice that will be given by the elders and to do whatever is required of him.

On the politics of his crowning, the House leader said there will always be shades of opinion.

Muturi said he was trying as much as possible to consult widely and see how to respond to everybody’s ideas and opinions.

As part of the rules, Muturi is barred from leaving his residence, eating certain types of foods, entertaining guests, and seeing women. Only ritually purified elders are allowed to meet him.

He also has to take time by a river flowing by his residence in Muthaiga, Nairobi, to meditate and reflect on the state of the country.

As his planned crowning continued to generate political debate in the Mt Kenya region, a section of Kikuyu elders dismissed quarters opposed to the event, saying the ceremony will proceed as planned.

There were reports some politicians from the region were planning to shield the shrine to prevent the elders backing Muturi from proceeding with the event.

Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria and former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth are among leaders who are angling to be the region’s spokesperson after President Uhuru Kenyatta’s exit in 2022.

Their allies have been vocal against the planned ceremony whereas some elders claimed the event would be sacrilegious ‘since it is laced with political undertones'.

Murang’a council of elders’ secretary-general Samuel Ruru Ng'anga on Wednesday said elders from the greater Mt Kenya were in agreement that the speaker be elevated to the post.

Ruru said they were seized of the fact that President Kenyatta was still at the reins of the region's leadership, and hence Muturi would only serve as spokesman.

“Yes, we have the President but we are making Muturi the spokesman of the region. We want anybody who wants to engage the region to do so through the spokesman,” he said.

He was part of a team of elders that visited the speaker’s residence to check if he complied with conditions for his crowning.

Ruru said his counterparts from Mt Kenya counties agreed after ‘extensive consultations that have lasted months’ that Muturi should take up the role of spokesman.

The speaker will be holed up at his residence until Saturday before heading to the Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga shrine for the installation.

“We came to see whether our candidate is following the procedures laid down by the elders. We want to make sure he is ready for the Saturday event. He has confirmed he has followed the instructions as was given,” Ruru said.

Prof Peter Kagwanja, the patron of Muranga elders, said it was decided that any candidate who is to enter the shrine has to be ritually purified.

“The point is that one must observe the requirements of our culture. He (Muturi) has followed the procedures and each and every requirement.”

“Ritual purity is a requirement to enter the shrine. Anybody cannot go inside the shrine. The team that will enter are those who have been purified. At least we know is that he is ritually pure and acceptable,” Prof Kagwanja said.

He said Muturi would still be watched to see if he will have passed the test, as “the region needs someone who can withstand 10 days of ritual purity.”

The don said they were expecting no less than 1,000 elders from across the Mt Kenya region to attend the event this weekend.

“It is a running process. We will have people who will come to see in order to learn. The speaker is being blessed or anointed to be superior to the elders who will give us guidance,” he said.

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