President William Ruto is walking into uncharted waters, seeking to consolidate his Mt Kenya base while negotiating with former Prime Minister, Raila Odinga.
Ruto, on Saturday, April 22, faced the first phase of a looming storm in Mt Kenya when the region's leaders outrightly warned him that they would desert the government if he entered into a handshake with Raila, the opposition leader.
Speaking during a development tour in Meru County, area Senator Kathuri Muringi, aired his grievances on the bipartisan talks between the government and Odinga.
Muringi, who doubles up as the deputy senate speaker, warned that the Mount Kenya community will cut ties with Ruto in a similar move witnessed during President (Rtd) Uhuru Kenyatta's regime. Kenyatta lost his backyard after shaking hands with Raila in 2018.
“If you make a mistake and get into a handshake with that person, we will desert you immediately.
“Don’t bow to pressure from anyone. As the Senate, we are ready to support you in the bipartisan talks,” he stated.
Reacting to Murungi’s demand, President Ruto assured the residents that he would only talk about development agendas, not politics.
He asked Meru residents to work hard and ignore those who want to disrupt the nation’s economic development.
"The way to development is not traversing the streets with sufurias on your head and making noises. The way to development is taking your seeds, planting in your shambas and harvesting the produce," commented the head of state.
Ruto also promised the county's residents goodies, including completing stalled road projects and purchasing milk coolers.
"In partnership with the County Government, we will ensure that the milk coolers reach every part of Meru County," added the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party leader.
"Meru County has about 430 kilometres of roads that we began in the last administration. Around 42 per cent we completed, but around 200 Kilometres were yet to be completed.
"We began a special programme to ensure that the remaining roads are completed. These roads must be completed urgently," Ruto continued.
Moreover, the president pledged that the government would spend Ksh 30 billion to complete several regional dams, including Kathita, Dhingitu, Nkobu, Ura and Timau.
Azimio leader, Raila Odinga, threatened to recall mass protests in early May 2023 after the Ramadhan festivities. Raila argued that he would not actively participate in the bipartisan talks as Ruto had bought and corrupted Parliament and held the Judiciary captive.
The opposition veteran demanded talks a kin to the 2008 National Accord, which birthed the Grand Coalition government. However, the government reiterated that it would not be bullied into ceding power nor offering him a slot in government.