Mt Kenya leaders petition Kibaki
March 9, 2008
By Gakuu Mathenge and Athman Amran
Politicians from the Mt Kenya region are jittery about the shape
and form of the coalition government.
The leaders fears the 50-50 criterion of power sharing could
result in the region being left out of government.
And the Central Kenya Parliamentary Group (CPG) is now said to be
pressing for an appointment with President Kibaki to discuss their
In what appears to be a concerted effort to get the region’s
political voice heard, two petitions have been written to
President Kibaki – one by the CPG that has 50 members, and another
by MPs from Meru. The groups have made demands on the Head of
State ahead of the crafting of the anticipated coalition
It is the first time in the last five years of turbulent politics
that the regions’ political leaders have put down on paper any
demands to the President and his State House handlers, an
indication of either budding independence or raging turf battles
in the vicious palace wars around State House.
While supporting the Coalition government and restoration of peace,
the two documents demand the region be accorded fair
representation in government commensurate with its voting strength
and the support it gave to President Kibaki at the ballot box
during the December 27 General Election.
Among issues causing jitters is the fact that the region voted
overwhelmingly for President Kibaki and it was now likely to be
left out of government as envisaged under the 50-50 rule as
contained in the Coalition agreement signed by the President
Kibaki and Prime Minister-designate and ODM leader, Mr Raila
"If the Cabinet comprises 34 ministers, it can be argued that
President Kibaki has already exhausted his slots and therefore
should leave the rest to Orange Democratic Movement and Raila to
fill. As it is now, Cabinet appointments are not commensurate with
the voting strength of Mt Kenya region. If the imbalance is not
considered, it would amount to a political injustice against the
region and its people," a source told The Sunday Standard.
A letter, dated March 4, seeking appointment for the CPG with
President Kibaki, and whose contents The Sunday Standard obtained
says in part: "The group has genuine fears that given the current
political situation, the central Kenya might be discriminated
against and denied its rightful political representation in
government. The group would appreciate to meet your Excellency at
the earliest opportunity and preferably before the finalisation of
the coalition government."
Have signed petition
The CPG chairman and Mathira MP, Mr Ephraim Maina, signed the
When reached for comment, Maina said the region’s political
leadership was fully behind the efforts to craft the coalition
government, resettlement and compensation of internally displaced
people. But it insists democratic principles of fair
representation should be the guiding criteria.
"We were elected to voice our people’s concerns and that’s what I
am doing. Our people are saying they want to be fairly represented
in the coalition government. Otherwise we support the peace
efforts and CPG will join hands with all voices of reason and
goodwill to preach peace across the country".
From Meru, nine MPs signed a memorandum to President Kibaki
demanding more Cabinet and senior Civil Service appointments on
account of the fact outside central Kenya, the region gave Kibaki
520,000 votes and nine MPs, the third highest pro-Kibaki voter
block after Rift Valley that gave him 618,911 out of the 4.5
million cast for him.
The memorandum, dated January 29, and signed by all the Meru MPs
specifically demands two more Cabinet appointments and four
assistant ministerial slots. It was signed by Energy minister Mr
Kiraitu Murungi, Mr Peter Munya (Tigania East), Dr Kilemi Mwiria (Tigania
West), Mr Ntoitha M’Mithiaru (Igembe North), Mr Mithika Lintuli (Igembe
South), Mr Silas Muriuki (North Imenti), Mr Gitobu Imanyara
(Central Imenti, Mr Mburi Muthengi (Tharaka) and Mr Kareke Mbiuki
Elsewhere, a silent war is going on between Narc-Kenya and Kanu
within the PNU alliance over the position of deputy Prime
Both parties are fighting hard against time, as the process of
entrenching the position of Prime Minister in the Constitution is
being fast-tracked. This is after the gazetting of the
Constitution of Kenya Amendment Bill 2008, on Friday.
Insiders say there are moves within the two parties to cut one
another down using party strength, regional, tribal and minority
cards. The Vice- Presidency’s position has already gone to
ODM-Kenya leader, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka.
Kanu, which is a key partner in the coalition wants chairman, Mr
Uhuru Kenyatta, to get the post, while Narc-Kenya, which claims to
be a senior partner in PNU is proposing Constitutional Affairs
minister, Ms Martha Karua.
Others in PNU list are Internal Security minister, Prof George
Saitoti, Garsen MP, Mr Danson Mungatana and Kiraitu, who is also
the Energy minister.
While Narc-Kenya claims it deserves the post because it is a
senior partner in the PNU alliance. Kanu makes the same claim.
Kanu disputes claims by Narc-Kenya that of the 43 PNU MPs, it has
29, making it the senior partner.
A Kanu insider says Narc-Kenya has only three MPs, while Kanu has
21, a few having been elected on PNU ticket.
If Kanu argue its case of superiority in numbers compared to
Narc-Kenya, it feels it could get the deputy PM’s post, which
would go to Uhuru.
And within PNU, there is said to be a struggle between the Karua
and Saitoti camps to get the seat if the party’s argument that it
is a senior partner in PNU holds water.
Some in Narc-Kenya who support Karua are said to be pushing for
ODM to choose Pentagon member Mr William Ruto, which would shut
out Saitoti, where regional considerations are concerned. Both
Ruto and Saitoti are from the Rift Valley Province. This would
give Karua a chance.
But while the regional heavyweights are trying to outdo one
another to get the post, some Muslim MPs met recently in a Nairobi
hotel to try to create an alternative situation.
This would be in the case where ODM settles for Mr Musalia
The Muslim MPs would play the "minority card" if the fight for the
post with PNU is concentrated within Central Province, pitting
Uhuru, Karua and Saitoti.
The alternative, the Kanu insiders say, would be Special
Programmes Minister, Ms Naomi Shaaban.
She has the advantage of belonging to "minority" Muslim group,
minority Taita tribe, and being a woman, where gender balancing is
But while the position for the deputy PM’s post continues, some
North Eastern MPs are hoping to benefit in the distribution of
Ijara MP, Mr Yusuf Haji is the Defence minister, but area MPs are
pushing for some MPs from North Eastern headquarters, Garissa, to
be in the Cabinet.
Those in Kanu argue that because ODM has a Deputy Speaker from the
area, they need to balance it with a ministerial position,
especially from someone belonging to a large clan.
Family of former Chief of General Staff, Mr Mahmoud Mohammed, have
been holding sway in North Eastern politics and it is said to be
pushing for someone like Fafi MP, Mr Adan Sugow, who is considered
a "young Turk".
Sugow’s position covers Garissa, which would include Fafi and
Lagdera as the only PNU/Kanu point man.
PNU MPs in Narc-Kenya and Kanu are said to be positioning
themselves for the 2012 General Election as President Kibaki is
serving his final term.