Mixed Reactions as Linturi Merges with Meru MP in a Political Pact.
In what is seen as a jibe to Kiraitu Murungi’s political union with his long-time political opponent Peter Munya, Meru Senator Mithika Linturi has teamed up with the member of parliament for Imenti South Constituency Kathuri Murungi for a Governor-Senator pact dubbed ‘Meru Mpya’ under a UDA ticket. The two leaders joined the Kenya Kwanza alliance after defecting from their initial political affiliations.
Linturi announced joining the Meru County gubernatorial race under a UDA ticket in February 2022 following a series of engagements with other leaders, including Kathuri Murungi and the deputy president Dr. William Ruto. Linturi, who has been trending all over the country for all the wrong reasons will be making a stab at the Meru Gubernatorial contest after serving in the Senate for five years.
On the other hand, his partner in the UDA feat Kathuri Murungi will be contesting for the senatorial seat after serving as an MP for 10 years. Kathuri took over from Kiraitu Murungi who had served as South Imenti MP for 20 years before advancing to the senate in 2013, and to the governor’s office in 2017, taking over from Munya.
Initially, Kathuri is believed to have been eyeing the MP seat for the third time before moving to the contest for governor’s seat in 2027. On his part, Mithika was expected to remain in the senate until 2027 when he would make his move to vie for governor. This was before the two teamed up, but with them joining hands, a new lineup was unveiled.
Kathuri has been known as a performer in his constituency where he has been launching several development projects with an aim of benefiting his constituents. One of his flagship projects is the establishment of ICT Innovation Hubs in the constituency, which have helped the youth access online jobs and earn a living from the same. Also, the hubs have increased access to information among the constituents, increasing literacy and development in general.
On the other hand, Mithika has nothing much to present, save for a few appearances in the media for all the wrong reasons. As a senator, his role is to lobby for the allocation of funds to the county government and introduce/negotiate bills on behalf of the county. On top of that, a senator is also supposed to participate in determining the allocation of national revenue among counties.
However, his term in the senate has been faced with a bunch of challenges and accusations. In one account, he was accused of sleeping with another man’s wife at a hotel in Nanyuki. He was taken to court and later released on bond for lack of enough evidence.
On the second account, he was accused of inciting Kenyans when he referred to non-supporters of UDA as Madoadoa in one of the UDA rallies. He was arrested, arraigned, and later released on bond. Despite all this drama, he seems not to be shaken, confidently announcing to vie for the top county job on a UDA ticket.
However, Kiraitu has maintained that he is going to be the governor come 2022, and only in 2027 shall he exit the office. He is so confident in his victory that he keeps assuring his supporters not to be waived by the rants of his opponents. As a measure of assurance, he keeps reminding his opponents and supporters that he has never lost an election since he joined active politics, and 2022 is not an exception.
Fortunately for him, Munya, who was prospected to be his most fierce rival pulled out of the race in February. Addressing concerns about the elections, Munya said he would not vie for governor but would instead focus on national politics.
This gives Kiraitu an upper hand as Munya’s supporters are expected to back him following their recent re-union under the Azimio umbrella. Bearing in mind that Kiraitu is Mithika’s political mentor, Linturi has little chance of thrashing him, despite vying under a strong party (UDA), he knows it is going to be a hard nut for him to crack.
In a recent Azimio la Umoja Tour in Meru, ODM Chief Raila Odinga welcomed the two Meru political kingpins; Peter Munya (PNU) and Kiraitu Murungi (DEP) and their political parties to the Azimio coalition, promising to work with them. This is expected to soar Odinga’s support in the region where he has been experiencing unmatched rejection in the past elections.
Ruto on the other hand has been wooing the Meru community to back him while collaborating with leaders from the region such as Mithika Linturi to drum up support for him. However, his allies’ influence is low as compared to that of his rivals, giving Odinga more chances as he is riding with the bigwigs (Kiraitu and Munya).
As these political events continue to unfold, eyes are now fixed on the August polls, which shall be the determinant of all the drumbeats, rallies, rivalries, and political pacts that are currently the talk of the day. However, the final decision lies with the voter.
Who do you think will win the gubernatorial and senatorial elections in Meru county come August 2022? Share your views with us in the comment section.