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Lenku ditches Tanga tanga for BBI

Announcement that the county boss now supports the Uhuru-Raila initiative could complicate matters for former governor David Nkedianye

By Jonathan Teikan

It is now official: Kajiado Governor Joseph ole Lenku is squarely pro-BBI (Building Bridges Initiative). This is after it emerged that President Uhuru Kenyatta had appointed him, among a host of other county bosses, to coordinate BBI campaigns in their respective regions.

The question that has been plaguing the minds of people in Kajiado concerns which Jubilee faction — between Tanga tanga and Kieleweke — their governor belongs to. The cat is finally out of the bag; Lenku, besides supporting BBI, belongs to the Kieleweke wing.

According to Lenku’s Communications Director Billy Muiruri, “Lenku has always been an ardent supporter of the popular handshake between Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga.”

This, coming out of Lenku, is a bold move, seeing as he has long been viewed as a supporter of Deputy President William Ruto. The confirmation that Lenku is a BBI proponent came as it emerged that former governor David Nkedianye is also in the thick of BBI politics.

Pictures of Nkedianye seated among delegates at the BBI meeting held at the Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega on Saturday, January 18, were widely circulated in social media circles in Kajiado, causing much excitement.

This is an interesting development, seeing as Nkedianye still has unfinished business with Lenku and is widely expected to try to recapture the seat he lost in 2017.

Muiruri, who spoke to Kajiado Star on phone, intimated that the Tanga tanga label has been thrown at Lenku by “his political opponents for their political expediency”, singling out Nkedianye as the one orchestrating “that false narrative”.

Said Muiruri: “If anything, it is the former governor who belongs to Tanga tanga by virtue of him getting a job with the national government courtesy of the DP. It was the DP who reached out to Nkedianye immediately after the election.”

Nkedianye was in February last year appointed as chairperson of the National Water Harvesting and Storage Authority

Interestingly, Lenku is on record having said that he influenced the appointments of a number of personalities from Kajiado to key positions in the national government.

And to buttress his point on which faction Lenku belongs to, Muiruri averred there was no way Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i would have presided over the second phase of the Mbuzi Moja, Afya Bora NHIF medical cover initiative in Kajiado recently had the governor been a Tanga tanga person.

CS Matiang’i has of late come under stinging criticism from Ruto and his lieutenants in the Tanga tanga faction, for what they termed ‘excessive hubris’. Matiang’i, who was one of the key conveners of the Nyanza BBI conference, held in Kisii, is on record having said that he is only answerable to President Uhuru Kenya, which the Tanga tanga adherents see as a slight on the DP.

On the fact that the DP had been the chief guest during the first phase of the Mbuzi Moja Afya Bora drive, Muiruri said Ruto then, came in his capacity as “the president’s second-in-command, and not as a leader of the Tanga tanga group.”

When reached for comment, Dr Nkedianye distanced himself from allegations that he is behind the “Lenku-is-in-Tanga tanga” campaign. “I am not responsible for what the people think,” said the former governor. “I personally do not know what side (Lenku) belongs to. I also have no idea why people think he belongs to that side.”

Nkedianye lauded BBI, noting that it was good for the Maa community and the nation at large. “The initiative has provided us with a great opportunity for dialogue, where we can decide what we want, and if need be, to amend that which we feel is not favourable,” he said.

Although DP Ruto publicly says he has no issues with BBI, he has time and again, launched broadsides against BBI proponents and recently accused them of “wasting tax-payers’ funds to launch 2022 election campaigns”.

Muiruri revealed that Lenku was among governors invited to a meeting convened by the head of state on January 16 in Mombasa, where strategies for popularising BBI in counties were reportedly mapped out.

Following this new revelation, it will be interesting to see how politicians in Kajiado will align themselves since some of them are known to be fierce supporters of Ruto.

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