The Building Bridges Initiative caravan heads to Kitui County for its fourth rally on Saturday amid efforts to unite the Kamba community spearheaded by Jubilee party-linked business tycoon Peter Muthoka.
Mr Muthoka, who has been President Uhuru Kenyatta’s pointman in Ukambani, literally cracked the whip and forced the various political factions in the region that were hostile to each other back into talking terms.
Using his deep pockets, the tycoon has demonstrated his influence in the politics of Ukambani by bringing together Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka and governors from the region who have been opposed to his leadership.
Granted, the shrewd businessman enjoys cordial relations with all Kamba leaders due to his perceived neutrality, but his ability to scuttle a looming political confrontation between the two camps that were running parallel BBI rallies has caused ripples in the region.
Before the leaders’ meeting he convened at Stoni Athi Resort in Machakos County on Wednesday, Mr Muthoka worked behind the scenes to get Mr Musyoka and the governors Alfred Mutua (Machakos), Charity Ngilu (Kitui) and Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni) to agree to hold joint BBI rallies.
During the Stoni Athi meeting, Mr Musyoka and Mrs Ngilu confessed that they indeed called each other at the tycoon’s behest and agreed to drop their hard positions, and have joint BBI rallies.
The Wiper leader went further to reveal that he was also called by Governor Mutua from Australia who similarly had been convinced by Mr Muthoka on the need for Kamba unity. The two camps had unveiled parallel schedule of BBI meetings.
His magic of driving the unity agenda worked when 21 Kamba MPs and more than 165 ward reps from Kitui, Machakos and Makueni turned up for the Stoni Athi meeting. Governors Mutua and Kibwana, who were out of the country, sent apologies but still dispatched teams to represent them.
The tycoon who sponsored the meals, refreshments, tents and travel logistics for the leaders personally send the invitations to MPs, with MCAs mobilised through their respective county assembly speakers.
Mr Muthoka took issue with what he described as “collective laxity” of Kamba leaders and their failure to push for key government projects. “For instance, are you aware that the single largest government undertaking after the standard gauge railway, is the proposed Sh200 billion High Grand Falls Dam in Kitui County?” he posed.
In apparent dressing down on the leaders, he added: “Imagine if a project worth Sh200 billion was proposed to be done elsewhere in central Kenya or Rift Valley, will leaders in those regions be just this quiet and unconcerned?”.