- May 10, 2007
Central Kenya MPs now back Majimbo
By MUGUMO MUNENE
and WATORO KAMAU
Central Kenya MPs have agreed for the first time to back Majimbo a federal system of government.
The policy switch came during a marathon meeting of the Central Kenya Parliamentary Group which ended at 2am yesterday.
Previously the MPs, mainly from the Gikuyu, Embu and Meru Association (Gema), had insisted Majimbo would be too expensive for Kenya.
Discussions at the meeting at La belle Inn in Naivasha centred on the MPs' political survival and their representation in the next government after President Moi retires.
Key to that aim, one MP said, was the need to mobilise Central Kenya communities to join a single political party to ensure they have strong bargaining power in the formation of the next government.
The group believes that if they support a single political party along with "some selected friendly communities" they could comfortably win at least 70 to 80 Parliamentary seats.
The MPs also discussed strategies for the economic revival of Central Kenya and ways of ensuring that the region was fully represented in a future goverrnment.
Within that context four of the MPs said they would not be opposed to supporting a Kanu candidate at the next General Election, although a clear majority of the 35 MPs present later claimed the four had been giving only their personal views and did not speak either for the Parliamentary group or for Gema.
The marathon meeting started on Thursday at 8 pm.
The MPs were mainly from the Democratic Party, Ford-People, the Social Democratic Party and Safina, while Gatundu South MP Moses Muihia and Dagoretti MP Beth Mugo attended the group's meeting for the first time.
DP chairman Mwai Kibaki skipped the talks, which were chaired by group chairman and DP patron Njenga Karume (Kiambaa). Kieni's Chris Murungaru was secretary.
Speaking to the Nation later, Mr Karume said that the group was planning another meeting in Nairobi next week.
"We discussed the development of Central Kenya but we shall tell you more then," Mr Karume said.
Kanu's President Moi and NDP leader Raila Odinga have now been mandated by their parties to work out a merger.
On the other hand, Mr Kibaki, who is believed to support the Central Kenya group, has been in talks with Ford Kenya's Kijana Wamalwa and NPK leader Charity Ngilu in search of alignment.
Sources at the Naivasha meeting told the Nation that members had in a radical departure resolved to support majimbo; the federal system of government.
"We have now decided to go for majimbo but we still stand by our position that we should have a government of national unity," a source told the Nation yesterday.
However, they have set one condition for majimbo that the provincial boundaries are reworked and people allowed to register in the jimbo (federal state) of their choice.
They plan to present their detailed proposals on this to the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission when it begins collecting views.
The meeting discussed the coffee industry and resolved to demand the release of the remaining Stabex cash.
"We have to fight for the political and economic empowerment of our people and find ways of tackling the elections. That is why we met. We are particularly angered by the Government's refusal to release the Stabex funds in toto. We are tired of waiting," another MP said.
The MPs also complained that the Government was dragging its feet over implementation of the Donde Act to regulate interest rates and the Coffee Bill which is yet to be tabled .
MPs Matu Wamae, Chris Murungaru and Muhika Mutahi, said the meeting discussed which leaders could reach out to other Kenyan communities.
Dr Murungaru said: "Nevertheless this was a special meeting and that is why we decided to meet at night when there is not much distraction."
Dr Murungaru gave the Nation a list of MPs who attended the meeting. They included; Joseph Kuria Mukira (Subukia), Paul Kihara (Naivasha), Martha Karua (Gichugu), Mwangi Kiunjuri (Laikipia East), Kamande Mwangi (Maragwa), Maina Njakwe (Mathioya), Joshua Toro (Kandara), Chege Mbitiru (Laikipia West), Muriuki Karue (Ol Kalao), James Kibicho (Ndia), David Manyara (Nakuru Town), Mwangi Githiomi (Kipipiri), Philip Gitonga (Lari), Beth Mugo (Dagoretti), Norman Nyaga (Kamukunji), Njehu Gatabaki (Githunguri), Patrick Muiruri (Gatundu North), David Mwenje (Embakasi), Stephen Ndichu (Juja), David Murathe (Gatanga), Njeru Ndwiga (Manyatta), Thirikwa Kamau (Ndaragwa), Ngenye Kariuki (Kiharu), Adolf Muchiri (Kasarani), Alfred Nderitu (Mwea), Moses Muihia (Gatundu South), John Michuki (Kangema), Matere Keriri (Kerugoya Kutus), Kihara Mwangi (Kigumo), David Mwiraria (Imenti North) and Kiraitu Murungi (Imenti South).
Thats what they are. They are cunning theives and they knew that Kenyans want Majimbo. Now they support it.