As the National Super Alliance (NASA) traverses the country hunting for votes, the Jubilee administration is secretly but voraciously making inroads in Ukambani.
The elaborate scheme meant to eat into Kalonzo Musyoka’s hold in the region involves a select team of professionals and businessmen, top and middle level government officers and a breakaway Kamba council of elders.
The foray is funded by wealthy businessman Peter Muthoka who on Thursday flew to Kitui and Mwingi towns with National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi. The two held closed door meetings with locals in which the media was strictly barred.
Muturi and Muthoka landed within minutes of each other in two choppers at St Joseph’s Seminary in Mwingi and were immediately driven away in police vehicles to a local hotel that had been cordoned off by AP officers. Mwingi Central Deputy County Commissioner David Rotich was at hand to receive them.
“You cannot go in, it is a private meeting. For the sake of peace, please stay away because I don’t want quarrels with him (Muthoka),” Rotich pleaded with the media as the businessman stoically walked to the meeting.
Minutes later, Muturi arrived and confirmed that the meeting was a “private affair and not a baraza”.
Same thing had happened earlier in the day at the Kitui multi-purpose hall where journalists were flushed out as they tried to gain access to the venue. As soon as the meeting ended, Muthoka hurriedly walked out and brushed off the media before being driven to his chopper.
The Speaker on the other hand sounded cagey when engaged on the nature of the private meeting.
“It was about support for the President, that’s all,” Muturi stated dismissively while heading to a police car. Asked whether such was happening all over the country, Muturi said “It is happening in many places…don’t worry.”
What was curious about the meeting though was what appeared to be a clinical mobilisation by the chiefs and their assistants.
“Each of us (chiefs) had been tasked to mobilise 60 people from every ward; women, men and the youth,” revealed a chief.
A source who sat through the meeting told us that the wealthy businessman who at one time supported Kalonzo vowed to dig deeper into his pockets to deliver a good chunk of Kamba votes to Jubilee.
“We swore allegiance to Jubilee and he told us we had now become its agents. He directed each of us to bring on board at least 100 people and promised to pay us directly for a good job done,” the source said.
Prior to Muthoka’s meetings, a group calling itself Governing Council of Kamba clans led by Boniface Syengo had held several meetings in Kitui, Mwingi, Wote and Machakos towns with members of GEMA and Njuri Njeke.
“If you are hungry, it is only reasonable to befriend the person in the kitchen. Our people have suffered a lot for the last five years in the opposition and that is why we have resolved to support Uhuru for another term,” Syengo said.
Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Monicah Juma, who comes from Mwingi, has visited Kitui County twice within a month to seek support for the government.
But Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana dismissed Jubilee’s overtures as a barren fishing expedition that will yield nothing.
“The Kamba community is solidly behind Kalonzo and NASA and it is not looking back. Jubilee has no votes in Ukambani because it has done little for the region,” he said.
However, Mwende Mwinzi, who is running for Mwingi West parliamentary seat on a Jubilee ticket, believes the Kamba community would this time round vote outside party politics, adding that Jubilee would harvest significant vote in the region.