Former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth on Friday met with elders and spiritual leaders of the Kikuyu community in Nyeri, in what is believed to be a quest for political blessings to run for top political office.

Speculation has been rife that Mr Kenneth, a one-time presidential candidate, is poised for bigger things, as talk in political circles position him as the best suited to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta as the Mt Kenya kingpin after 2022, amid jostling among the region’s politicians.

But when he emerged from the hut where he met with the elders, clad in traditional Kikuyu regalia, Mr Kenneth denied that the half-day meetings at Mathingira Mahiga Matatu Cultural Centre and the Agikuyu shrines inside the Mt Kenya Forest were meant for political endorsement.

The elders present also said they only endorsed Mr Kenneth as the Agikuyu cultural ambassador.

Mr Kenneth, who is returning to national politics at a crucial time when the Building Bridges Initiative referendum campaigns are only being delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, arrived at the cultural centre at around noon accompanied by former Nyandarua deputy governor Waithaka Mwangi and Democratic Party chairman Esau Kioni. The Kikuyu elders were led by Mr Mathenge Wairegi.

Kikuyu regalia

After a four-hour meeting, the elders conferred him with the coveted traditional Kikuyu regalia before heading for the Kikuyu shrines, where prayers and rituals were held performed.

“I was invited for the cultural event by a section of the community that deals with prayers and cultural matters. It was not about 2022, which is very far. And, as the President has rightfully stated, we should stop politicking at the expense of the country and think about the welfare of Kenyans and development,” Mr Kenneth told the Saturday Nation.

That Mr Kenneth is eyeing a national leadership position has not been lost to observers and and yesterday’s meeting is seen as part of his preparations to coordinate his political activities as he readies himself for the challenge ahead.

The former presidential contender has been slowly earning the support of some legislators in Nairobi and Murang’a counties to take up the Mt Kenya leadership mantle from the retiring president.

Observers say he could be the heir apparent for President Kenyatta as the face of Central Kenya politics and, thus, a potential running mate in the 2022 presidential election.

Political reason

Some say he could also run for the presidency.

“The invitation for the meeting was done by the elders,” Mr Kenneth told the Saturday Nation. “I don’t know who they will invite next. I did not come for a political reason but to join the wazee for this cultural prayers day.”

The ongoing political activities around Mr Kenneth, the Satuday Nation understands, are meant to chart his path for a national leadership position in 2022, amid a sustained push-back by his opponents nationally and at home.

Nyeri businessman Wambugu Nyamu, who was among the conveners of Friday’s meeting, said they endorsed Mr Kenneth as the community’s cultural ambassador.

Mr James Ng’ethe, an elder, said in the meeting, prayers, leaders and cultural matters took the centre stage.

Last month, Murang’a leaders threw their weight behind Mr Kenneth to succeed President Kenyatta as the Mt Kenya kingpin after 2022. Those who are fronting Mr Kenneth have packaged him as one with the blessings of President Kenyatta.

Among his supporters are Senate Majority whip Irungu Kang’ata, Gatanga MP Joseph Nduati, Mathioya’s Peter Kimari, Kigumo’s Wangari Mwaniki and Woman Rep Sabina Chege.

But those opposed to Mr Kenneth’s bid have asked him to stop scheming to succeed the Head of State as the Mt Kenya kingpin. They have also dismissed suggestions that Mr Kenneth has been chosen to be a possible presidential contender in 2022 with President Kenyatta’s blessings.

President Kenyatta is set to retire in 2022 after serving his second and last term. At least eight bigwigs from his political backyard are gunning to fill the kingpin void.

Among those jostling for the position in the vote-rich region are Mr Kenneth, former Cabinet Secretaru Mwangi Kiunjuri, Governors Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga), Francis Kimemia (Nyandarua) and Mwangi wa Iria (Murang’a), Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua and former presidential candidate Joseph Nyaga.

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