Has Senate Majority whip Irungu Kang’ata decamped from President Uhuru Kenyatta’s camp to Deputy President William Ruto’s side?
Well, the Murang’a Senator’s no show at Jubilee party’s top meeting held at the party’s headquarters in Pangani, Nairobi on Wednesday has triggered a debate on whether the once Uhuru’s diehard has shifted camp.
Kang’ata failed to attend the meeting convened by the Party Secretary General Raphael Tuju, despite him having been invited.
Speaking to a local daily on why he skipped the meeting, the lawmaker stated that he was busy somewhere else and he could not make it.
Senate Deputy Majority leader Fatuma Dullo, National Assembly Majority leader Amos Kimunya and his deputy Jimmy Angwenyi, National Assembly Majority Whip Emmanuel Wangwe, his deputy Maoka Maore and secretary to the Jubilee parliamentary group Adan Keynan are some of the officials that attended the meeting in which the party decided to pull out of three upcoming by-elections.
The no-show at the meeting, that culminated in a press conference, came a day after Kang’ata reportedly rejected a push by the party honchos and President Uhuru Kenyatta’s allies to withdraw his letter to the President.
Late last year, Kang’ata shocked the nation when he penned a letter to the President discrediting BBI’s popularity in Mt Kenya region, Uhuru’s political bastion. Uhuru’s men termed the move ‘disrespectful’.
In the letter, the senator told the President that the BBI referendum might fail in the region unless Uhuru and his handshake partner ODM leader Raila Odinga change their strategy.
He affirmed the position at a press conference in Parliament on Monday despite criticism and pressure to withdraw the letter and apologise to the head of state.
He cited opposition to the expanded Executive, the involvement of provincial administrations and campaigns by former MPs as some of the issues working against the initiative.
Sources intimated that Jubilee bigwigs hosted Kang’ata for a meeting on Tuesday evening, where he was asked to retract the letter, but he declined.
Yesterday, Tuju and Dullo confirmed Tuesday’s meeting.
“We held a leadership meeting yesterday, he was with us…. He is still our whip until otherwise he decides or any other things come up,” Dullo said.
But when asked whether he was ditching the President’s camp, Kang’ata replied, “I am fighting for the truth and rights. I don’t believe in Jubilee factions and divisions.”
At the press conference, Tuju and Maore said the party had not discussed punishing Kang’ata for his letter to the President.
Kang’ata has been one of President Uhuru’s foot soldiers and most trusted lieutenants in the Mt Kenya region.
In May last year, Uhuru influenced his election as the Senate Majority Chief Whip following a meeting at State House where senators Susan Kihika (Nakuru) and Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet) – key allies of the DP – were kicked out as Majority Chief Whip and Majority leader, respectively.
Later, Kang’ata excited key party decisions by whipping party members to among others vote out Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki as Senate deputy speaker.
However, his letter and skipping party meetings have triggered murmurs and talks that he was on his way out of the President’s circles.Do you have any story you would like to share? Email us at email@example.com and we will publish it. You can also contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org