I’m best suited to be Ruto’s running mate, Kiunjuri says

Former Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri has said he is best suited to be Deputy President William Ruto’s running mate in next year’s elections.

Speaking yesterday at his The Service Party (TSP) headquarters, Kiunjuri said his track record sets him apart from others angling for the position.

He also said he is the subject of frequent attacks from many within his region owing to his chances of being the deputy president.

“The kingpin will be shown by the numbers. Ruto will look from all the regions, those seeking to be his running mate and make an informed decision,” he said.

“I have been a party leader to a party that has won several seats before,” he added.

Kiunjuri spoke after meeting his party’s aspirants. In a show of political might, he assembled a team of former leaders within the region, including former governors Joseph Ndathi (Kirinyaga) and Samuel Ragwa (Tharaka Nithi).

The TSP party leader said he would not be intimidated by other parties laying claim to the Mt Kenya region, making reference to the United Democratic Alliance (UDA).

His remarks come barely weeks after some UDA honchos claimed it to be “the hustlers’ party”, inferring that it was the only route towards a seat at the DP’s table.

“There is no big brother in this game. We all need each other,” said Kiunjuri, adding that he would consider a coalition with UDA, but only in the presidential race.

He said TSP was working on grassroots mobilisation and is “strategic” in its decision to field candidates, and would do so in future elections.

He also called for unity to ensure the region’s interests are protected amid a growing rift from leaders seeking to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta as the region’s kingpin.

“Our priority as a region should not be about who is best suited to speak on behalf of the community, but to ensure our people have money in their pockets,” he said.

The apparent genesis of the recent push and pull has been Speaker Justin Muturi’s coronation as the Mt Kenya spokesman, a move that faced protest, risking to split the region into Mt Kenya East and West.

The current division, he said, was manufactured to divert attention from Ruto’s ambitions to be president, further stating that it dented the bargaining power of the Mt Kenya region.

“Muturi is entering politics through coronation, we are entering through TSP… I shall be seeking the anointment of God and I will call religious leaders to announce that we are the chosen ones,” he added.

He also supported the clergy warning against efforts to have next year’s elections postponed, and asked the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to present a roadmap of the election.

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