By FRED MAKANA
The much-anticipated Sagana III meeting in which President Uhuru Kenyatta is set to shape the political direction Mt Kenya region will take in the August 9 polls is giving United Democratic Alliance (UDA) leaders in the region sleepless nights.
According to multiple sources President Kenyatta is set to open his heart to the political, religious, youth and women leaders as to why he declined to support his estranged deputy William Ruto and instead has vowed to support Azimio La Umoja presidential hopeful Raila Odinga.
The news about the planned meeting appears to have scuttled UDA campaign strategies in Mt Kenya that forced DP Ruto to shelve his early schedule just to concentrate in the region fully aware of the damage the president’s visit will inflict on the gains he has allegedly made in the mountain.
The ongoing ruthless charm offensive by the President’s allies in his backyard has deflated Ruto’s support and complicated his State House bid, less than six months to the general election.
For the last one week, President Kenyatta’s allies in Mt Kenya have laid an elaborate scheme to prepare residents to welcome the president who is set to rally the region behind Raila’s presidential bid.
A source from the Hustler Center told News Today President Kenyatta’s move to flex his formidable financial war chest in his backyard has left the Ruto camp struggling to keep MPs from Mt Kenya who want campaign resources from the president.
“We are not going to watch as our competitors run well-oiled campaigns which will see some of us sent home early before even the real battle begins. If our party is not giving us some assurance on how it will encounter the onslaught by Jubilee, we have no option but to jump ship before it is too late since we are headed to a situation of every man for himself and God for us all,” said UDA MP who declined to be quoted for fear of reprisals before he makes his stand known.
At the same time a number of Mt Kenya MPs allied to UDA are now afraid of a direct confrontation with President Kenyatta over fears of the multi-million projects that have been established in their backyards.
Then there are also fears that the Jubilee party has already identified potential candidates who are set to give the party rebels in the region a run for their money since most of them have abandoned their constituencies and have been following the DP for the last five years.
Then despite UDA exuding confidence, the wheelbarrow has suffered a major setback after it lost vocal leaders like Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria and Kirinyaga Women Rep Wangui Ngirici who are now solidly behind President Kenyatta.
Already anxiety has hit fever pitch within UDA after Kuria in an interview with Citizen TV declined to support DP Ruto. This is even after the DP visited him in Dubai two weeks ago where he was hospitalized.
“I have seen that since that time, everywhere I find a UDA logo there is also the ANC logo and the Ford Kenya logo so I assume that ANC and Ford Kenya are parties from Uganda so we will wait for them (UDA) to engage parties from Kenya,”Kuria said during the interview much to the shock of UDA fraternity.
To worsen matters the strong Jubilee brigade comprising MPs Ngunjiri Wambugu (Nyeri Town) Jeremiah Kioni (Ndaragwa), Kanini Kega (Kieni), Wanjiku Kibe (Gatundu North), Sabina Chege (Muranga), Peter Kimari (Mathioya), Ngugi Nduati(Gatanga), Jude Njomo (Kiambu Town) have vowed to ensure the party wins over 100 MPs in the upcoming general elections.
President Kenyatta’s Sagana meeting comes hot on the heels of significant inroads that have been made by the Jubilee MPs who have been traversing the larger Mt Kenya region in a bid to drum up support for the party’s candidates in the August polls.
“A few days after President Uhuru Kenyatta launched a journey to revive Jubilee, we are more energized to have Nyeri painted red leaving no single yellow patch in the August polls,” Wambugu
The overwhelming reception they received in Kiambu, Nyeri, and Muranga counties sent the UDA brigade into panic forcing its campaign managers to shift their focus in the region with meetings in Muranga and Kirinyaga this week.
The Jubilee message to the residents is to remain steadfast in Jubilee as the party that guarantees their future.
“You are being told to join a party (UDA) whose operations are a one-man show and no visible leader from the Mt Kenya region is involved in its operations. Be wary of schemes to divide you and remain in Jubilee where your future is guaranteed,” Wambugu said
The new strategy is now a litmus test for DP Ruto who is also eyeing the region’s big vote basket for his own presidential bid since the Jubilee stalwarts have been holding town hall meetings where they have deconstructed UDA’s propaganda and instead articulated President Kenyatta’s achievements in the region for the last 10 years.
Political analysts say the DP now faces an uphill battle in his bid to succeed the President especially after the Sagana meeting which many say will seal his fate in the region.
“Ruto opposed the one man one shilling revenue formula and advocated for the multiple-choice referendum so as to reject the 70 new constituencies meant for Mt Kenya region. Then to worsen matters his men led by Rigathi Gachaagua continue to demonize BBI in their latest rallies yet he expects residents to support him fully,” said Andrew Munene a Kiambu-based political analyst.