Over 35 political parties have pitched camp in Mt Kenya wooing members ahead of next year’s General Election, even as political temperatures rise amid heightened strategy meetings.
In major towns across the region, political parties are renting buildings and setting up offices to popularise their agenda, eyeing to get voters. Other parties are going for pre-election pacts with leading presidential candidates seeking to bargain for positions after the polls.
Already, Usawa Kwa Wote party has more than 56 offices across the country, The Service Party (TSP) allied to Mwangi Kiunjuri has erected billboards in parts of Nyeri and Laikipia counties, while Chama Cha Kazi affiliated to Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria has opened offices around Mt Kenya and Nairobi.
From the region, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria, Kiunjuri, former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo and businessman Jimmy Wanjigi are among those who have declared interest to run for presidency.
Yesterday, Iria scoffed at a section of leaders for working with middlemen to auction Mt Kenya region to ODM leader Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto, while himself and other leaders are reaching out to residents and urging them to register as voters.
The Usawa Kwa Wote party leader said he was recruiting party members and urging Mt Kenya residents to register as voters with the IEBC.
“I will not attend meetings hatched by people campaigning for MCA, MP, senator and governor’s slots. I am a presidential candidate with a national network. I am meeting Kenyans from far as Nyanza and North Eastern,” said Iria.
He said he was holding meetings without using middlemen who are the major hindrance to many contenders.
“I will work towards revival of agriculture and promote the rural economy through establishing an effective milk value chain,” said Iria.
Mt Kenya Youth Leader Linford Mutembei said ODM leader Raila Odinga is slowly gaining support from Mt Kenya.
“Raila has the best approach compared to some local leaders driven by personal interest,” said Mutembei.
Political analyst Benjamin Mwangi said Kiunjuri and Kuria’s bid to unite Mt Kenya residents is welcome, but they might not go far.
“The situation has changed because traditionally the mountain region has been supporting its own as demonstrated during the times of the late Kenneth Matiba and retired President Mwai Kibaki,” said Mwangi.
Political commentator Charles Njoroge said party leaders from the region must unite or be thrown to political cold after next year’s elections.