Party leader Musalia Mudavadi has stepped up charm offensive of the vote-rich Mt Kenya region.
Mudavadi held a series of meetings with leaders, raising speculation over his political game plan in the succession race of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The ANC leader convened a stakeholders’ meeting with a host of former lawmakers from the region led by Former Members of Parliament Association chairman Humphrey Njuguna (former Gatanga MP) and ex-Gachoka MP Mutava Musyimi, at Sagana Getaway Resort on Friday.
Mudavadi said his engagements with the leaders revolved around the economic mainstay of the region and programmes that can support the people.
He described the region as pivotal for his 2022 presidential bid and was pulling all the strings to reach out to voters.
Mt Kenya axis is extremely pivotal and critical in Kenya’s political landscape. The population there is huge, they are powerful voters, they come in large numbers when it is time to vote if they believe in the candidacy of the person they want to push through.ANC Party Leader
He revealed that he wants to focus on discussions with people to identify their problems before engaging various stakeholders on possible solutions.
“Critical issues of Mt Kenya will always revolve first and foremost matters of the economy; they have a lot of entrepreneurship issues, they are very sensitive about their agriculture, coffee, tea, milk,” noted Mudavadi.
“So when you engage them it is done on the basis that assurance is being given that you will pursue policies and programmes that will be supportive to this economic agenda. These are issues that one has to engage them on and develop approaches together,” he added.
He, however, said that he will prioritize stakeholder engagement rather than working with the perceived regional kingpins.
“We have reached a stage where you talk more of stakeholder’s engagement rather than individuals or what you call kingpin-based approach; people now want to know what you are doing for the agricultural sector, transport, policy on taxation among other areas,” he explained.
Recently, Mudavadi toured Kieni constituency where he was hosted by area MP Kanini Kega. He has lined up a series of political engagements in the coming days to solidify support.
The ANC leader noted that there was a growing impatience amongst the youth due to unemployment and prohibitive tax regimes that have frustrated their efforts to do business or get jobs.
“We do not know what they are thinking of and what they will eventually do when they get angry at us. They have become rebellious and we need to seek solutions amongst us leaders. This younger generation is not a happy lot,” said Mudavadi.
Mr. Kega described Mudavadi as a friend to Nyeri people saying that the Mt Kenya region was open to negotiation with everybody.
He said the voters will back the presidential candidate with the best offer for the region.
“We are very accommodative people; we want as many bridegrooms before we can settle on one that will take good care of our people,” said Kega.
“We are open for negotiation with everybody, unlike the Tangatanga who have already committed themselves to Ruto. Mudavadi has been our friend, but the point is that we are open for anybody with the best offer for our people,” added the MP.
Njuguna said talks with the ANC leader revolved around the way forward for the region and the country. He noted that the region was open to negotiations with politicians seeking the presidency.
Mudavadi has asked for our support and we shall continue with this conversation because we think Mudavadi is a leader worth engaging. And as a region we think we should consider him among other leaders because we believe Mt Kenya is going to play a major role in the 2022 succession politics.Kieni MP Kanini Kega
Similar views were shared by Musyimi, who said that they will continue with such candidate engagements in preparations for the next General Election.
“We have followed your story and your convictions, the things you have done in government and even as a profession in the lands sector, and we feel very proud to be associated with you,” said the lawmakers.
The former MP, “We are grateful for the candid conversations we have had, sometimes candid conversations are usually rough but as long as they are honest from the heart and they reflect the concerns and constraints of our people across board then they become very helpful.”
Former Ndia MP Stephen Ngare said that leaders seeking the support of the region have to spell out their agenda for the coffee industry. He said the sector was completely down with value addition, adding that farmers feel the government has let them down.
Others in the meeting were former Murangá deputy governor Gakure Monyo, former MPs Esther Murugi, John Kihagi and Kamande Mwangi.
Mudavadi was accompanied by Senators Johnson Sakaja (Nairobi) and Cleophas Malalah (Kakamega) and ANC Party Chairman Kelvin Lunani.