The stage is set for the much-anticipated Sagana 3 meeting in Nyeri County to be chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta today, Wednesday, February 23.
The meeting will among other things, outline the president’s reasons for backing ODM leader and handshake partner Raila Odinga’s State House bid, and why he differed with his Deputy William Ruto.
The Wednesday meeting at Sagana State lodge comes just 167 days to the August vote, and barely 48 hours before the governing party Jubilee convenes its National Delegates Convention.
For leaders in President Kenyatta’s corner, the Sagana 3 session will offer him an opportunity to explain his fallout with DP Ruto, after nearly 6 years of political bromance and how he settled on his former fierce rival and ODM leader Raila Odinga as his preferred successor.
“For Uhuru it’s even more poignant…he will tell us why he says this guy Raila has been my enemy and Ruto has been my friend, but I prefer Raila, what happened? I trust this person, that’s a powerful message…,” said MP Ngunjiri Wambugu.
Though the Sagana meeting has been dubbed a spill-the-beans event, MPs allied to the country’s second-in-command have dared the president to make good his threat.
“Ukikuja kutuambia hiyo maneno, kuja pia utuambie kwa nini DCI ikishika watu, ni wale tu wa mlima kenya…,” said MP Ndindi Nyoro.
Even as he hosts the Mt. Kenya leadership at Sagana State Lodge, Kenyatta’s critics have urged him to stay away from his succession race and allow the Kenyan electorate, particularly from the Mt. Kenya region to pick leaders of their choice without being influenced, even labelling Odinga a political project, just like Kenyatta was dubbed in the 2002 presidential contest.
“Mr President, we were with you in 2002, you were a project for Moi, we used police, bribed people, used force, it couldn’t work…how do you intend this project to work 20 years later?” posed Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua.
But can the Sagana meeting help Odinga climb the mountain and turn the tide against Ruto, who for years has been making inroads in the vote-rich region?
“We are a democratic nation and region, Uhuru amesema ako na kura moja na anaweza kushawishi watu wawili au watatu, na hao wawili watatu ni wale watakuwa kwa mkutano sagana, once they leave, the message will be out there in region…,” added Ngunjiri Wambugu.
The Sagana meeting will precede the Jubilee Party National Delegates Convention on Friday and Saturday, where key decisions are to be ratified, among them retaining Kenyatta as the party leader, even after the lapse of his tenure at State House, giving a green light for a coalition with ODM and other allied parties, as well as endorsing a series of amendments to the party’s constitution.