Deputy President William Ruto during a Tangatanga meeting at his Karen residence in Nairobi on December 2, 2020.
Deputy President William Ruto during a Tangatanga meeting at his Karen residence in Nairobi on December 2, 2020/Photo/Courtesy

Allies of Deputy President William Ruto have been left out of a BBI unity meeting to be presided over by President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nyeri on Saturday.

The consultative meeting to be held in Sagana comes amid lukewarm reception of the Building Bridges Initiative referendum from the Mt Kenya region.

In yet another move signalling that the President is ready to work without the leaders affiliated to Ruto, provincial administration, Jubilee Kieleweke-allied MPs and governors have been tasked to identify key individuals to attend.

As of Wednesday, the leaders had selected representatives of the business community, youth groups, teachers’ unions, the clergy and opinion leaders.

But Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua told the Star on the phone that the meeting will achieve nothing “as the President will be preaching to the already converted”.

The vocal MP, a close ally of the Deputy President, said: “The facts remain the same, the BBI referendum is unpopular in Mt Kenya.

“I have not received any invite so far. The very people who will be ferried from various parts of Central will not tell the President the truth. They are the same praise and worship team who have chosen the path of destruction.”

Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata sparked an uproar when he wrote to Uhuru, warning that he needed to change tack in the BBI campaigns to quell resistance.

Kang’ata, in his letter, stated that the use of provincial administrators to market the proposed changes to the 2010 Constitution was not bearing fruit.

The Senate Majority Whip also blamed the divisions that have split the ruling party into Tangatanga and Kieleweke factions as harmful to the BBI.

Kang’ata said that it was a high time Uhuru bent backwards and rallied all MPs, irrespective of their political factions, behind the BBI.

“The BBI is being framed as a Jubilee factional agenda. Our internal Jubilee problems have been weaponised and are being used to deflect our people from the benefits of the BBI,” he said in the letter, which has informed Uhuru’s meeting.

“Government-supporting legislators in the region have been edged out of BBI programmes in favour of their local political competitors.”

Kirinyaga Woman Representative Ngirici Wangui said the meeting will have no impact as the region has decided not to support it.

Speaking to the Star, the legislator said that since the handshake, Uhuru has mistreated leaders from the region and “his administration has made the lives of Mt Kenya residents difficult.”

She went on: “Let them go and unite themselves if that’s what pleases them. We have better things to do; the people of Mt Kenya have no businesses, no money. The Uhuru administration has killed the livelihoods of our people and he cannot now come seeking our support, yet he was not available when we needed him the most.”

Ngirici appealed to Mr Kenya MCAs to reject the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, which has been forwarded to them by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

“MCAs should listen to what Kenyans are saying. The proposed changes will be too expensive for the taxpayers and they should reject them despite the coercion and inducement that will come their way,” she said.

Chinga MCA Kiruga Thuku, another Ruto ally from Nyeri, said he will attend if invited. He, however, said the people of Central have rejected the BBI “as it is meant to assist ODM leader Raila Odinga to ascend to power”.

“You cannot divorce BBI and 2022 succession politics. The people of Mt Kenya fully support the Deputy President and that cannot change. We have no business supporting a document that has been tailored to help Raila and his team get to power,” he told the Star on the phone.