The announcement of Narck-Kenya leader Martha Karua as acting spokesperson for the Mount Kenya region has raised questions about whether she has tarnished her reputation as a national leader. Ms Karua took over the role at a special meeting of regional leaders, held earlier this week in Naivasha, Nakuru County.
Present at the meeting were Ms Karua, former Kiambu governor William Kabogo and MP Moses Kuria (South Gatundu). Mr Kabogo is the leader of the new Tujibebe Wakenya Party (TWP) while Mr Kuria is the leader of the Labor Party (CCK).
The officials said they made the decision after consulting with fellow leaders from various parts of the region. Similarly, they argued that the decision to install Ms Karua in the post was due to the fact that she did not support any political party.
However, political analysts have suggested that, while the move may seem to promote Karua politically in the region, it is likely to smear her and tarnish her national image as a respected reformer.
According to Prof Ngugi Njoroge, a political analyst, Ms. Karua's promotion as acting regional spokesperson will put her in the "dirty politics" of the competition for the next President Uhuru Kenyatta's successor.Martha Karua as Supreme Court dismisses all election petitions against Governor Waiguru - Citizentv.co.ke"/>
"It is clear that there is a lot of competition between the politicians who are aiming to succeed President Kenyatta. Given that Ms Karua has been in the national political league, it is very likely that she will start fighting and politicians are planning to take over, ”said Prof Njoroge.
Ms Karua is one of the leaders in the region who has been in the political arena for a long time. He ventured into politics in the 1990s, when he ran for parliament in Gichugu, Kirinyaga County and emerged victorious.
He served as Minister of Water and Justice and Constitutional Affairs in the government of Retired President Mwai Kibaki, until his resignation in 2009. Similarly, she was among the leaders who took part in the Serena Dialogue after the 2007 disputed election violence, defending Mr Kibaki.
Ms Karua was on the side of Mr Kibaki and the PNU party, along with senators Moses Wetang’ula (Bungoma) and Prof Sam Ongeri (Kisii). The leader also ran for president in 2013, although he did not emerge victorious. In 2017, he ran for governor of Kirinyaga County although he was defeated by Governor Anne Waiguru.
The analysts say that Ms. Karua has built a reputation for being a highly respected national and international leader, as apart from politics, she has been using her advocacy profession to defend the people.
"Even though Ms Karua is aiming to return home politically as she did in 2017, I think there is an alternative that she could have used instead of accepting the appointment as Mount Kenya's spokesperson. There is a strong possibility that he will venture into the war and political clashes that we have been witnessing between the various factions in the region, ”said Mr Ochieng’ Kanyadudi, a political analyst.
Following her nomination, Ms Karua distanced herself from allegations that she was a member of any political party, insisting that her constituency be united to have a single voice in the 2022 general election.
“I am not a member of any wing. He is an independent politician, who aims to ensure that our people speak with one voice, as opposed to what it is now. We must unite and devise a way for all the candidates who come to our area to ask us to support them, ”said Ms Karua.
The politician has long been a leader of Narc-Kenya, calling it an independent political party. So far, the leaders who have announced or expressed interest in succeeding President Kenyatta are former Minister of Agriculture, Mwangi Kiunjuri, governors Mwangi of Iria (Murang'a), Francis Kimemia (Nyandarua), Waiguru (Kirinyaga) among others.
However, their intentions are marred by intense divisions, where at present, there are political factions of ‘Kieleweke’ and ‘Tangatanga.’ The 'Kieleweke' faction has been defending President Kenyatta while 'Tangatanga' has defended Deputy President William Ruto, in his bid for the 2022 presidency.
Mr Kanyadudi argues that accepting the position, Ms Karua may be aiming to strengthen her position to run for governor of Kirinyaga, given she is facing stiff competition from Women's Representative Wangui Ngirichi.
"As of now, Ms Karua has a tough job facing Ms Ngirichi and Governor Waiguru, who have already announced their intention to run for governor. On the one hand, the position will help him raise his star politically, but he will find himself in the mud if he does not avoid the inheritance conflicts that may arise, ”said the researcher.
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