Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi’s increased forays in the Mount Kenya region has led to speculation he could be positioning himself for bigger things politically with the imminent retirement of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Muturi, a close ally of Uhuru, has been visiting different counties across the region, which is seen as a bid to consolidate his support ahead of next year’s succession.
And as the race to replace Uhuru as Mt Kenya region’s kingpin gathers pace, Muturi has already started being involved in activities that point to a possibility of getting back to elective politics.
At the weekend, he held a consultative meeting with elders from his Embu backyard, who later revealed that something big was coming up.
According to Embu and Mbeere council of elders, Muturi will soon be crowned the Mt Kenya spokesperson and kingpin. This is after a weekend meeting at his home in Mbeere North Constituency where he was installed as the Embu and Mt Kenya East spokesperson.
“Elders from the three counties of Embu, Tharaka Nithi and Meru met at Muturi’s home where a ceremony to install him took place, but away from snoopy journalists who were not invited and with limited photography,” an elder who attended the ceremony told The Standard.
One elder said the idea to install Muturi was floated by Kiama Kiama of the Kikuyu Council of Elders, who approached Nyangi Ndiiririri, the Embu community Council of Elders and Ngome, the Mbeere Community Council of Elders. The Nchuri Ncheke of Meru community also joined in.
“We met five times and deliberated over the matter before informing the Speaker, who also requested for some time to think about it and after a week he agreed to the elders’ proposal,” he said.
On Saturday, elders from Kiama Kiama representing the Kikuyu community, and Nchuri Ncheke speaking for the Meru community witnessed as Muturi was installed by elders from Embu and Mbeere communities as the Embu and Mt Kenya East kingpin and spokesperson.
“Every council was represented by 100 people, making a total of 400 elders who were present at the ceremony,” said the elder.
The elders said that Embu and Mt Kenya East regions have been without a spokesperson for a long time. “It looked like a field where any man would walk in; it was like a home without a husband,” they said.
During the installation ceremony, Muturi was dressed in a hat made of skin from the colobus monkey and cloth made from leopard skin. He was handed a fly whisk symbolising power and authority, which he would use to bless community members.
“He was also given a three-legged traditional Kiembu stool to sit on to symbolise the beginning of leading a kingdom and a walking stick to symbolise that he was a leader just like Moses in the Bible,” an elder said.
“After a thorough search the elders led by Kiama Kiama noted that after the end of Kenyatta’s tenure in 2022, Mt Kenya would be on the brink of disintegrating and getting lost for lack of a spokesperson and kingpin.”
The elders resolved that Muturi was the only person close to power and with the capabilities to lead the community.
The next step, they added, would be to present Muturi to Nchuri Ncheke shrines in Meru where he will be accepted as a member and installed as a leader.
A similar meeting in a location yet to be identified by Kiama Kiama would follow to recruit and install Muturi as a member of the Kikuyu Council of Elders. “After becoming a member and a leader in the councils within Mt Kenya region, we will install him as spokesperson and kingpin of the whole of Mt Kenya region,” said the elders.
They added that they have a plan to put Muturi in a leadership position, but they were not willing to divulge it just yet.
During the Mt Kenya East BBI signatures launch in Tharaka Nithi early last month, Governors Kiraitu Murungi (Meru), Muthomi Njuki (Tharaka Nithi) and Martin Wambora (Embu) promised to work together as a team and champion the rights of the three counties as a bloc.
Muturi joins a list of personalities whose political activities have been seen as preparing the ground to lead the troops once Uhuru hangs his boots.
Muturi served as Siakago (now Mbeere North) MP between 1999 to 2007. Before then, he worked at the Judiciary as a magistrate.
After losing to Lenny Kivuti in 2007, Muturi became chairman of the Centre for Multi-Party Democracy. He later tried his luck in 2013 but was floored by Muriuki Njagagua in the parliamentary race.
However, with Uhuru winning the presidency, Muturi was lucky to be Jubilee’s choice for Speaker of the National Assembly. He retained the seat even after the 2017 General Election.