How Justin Muturi’s presidential candidature will influence 2022 elections

A fortnight ago, National assembly speaker Justi n Muturi was coronated as the Mount Kenya spokesman, a move that was received with mixed reactions by leaders of the region. Image/courtesy

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi over the weekend publicly declared he will be in the race to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta next year. Muturi made the revelation when he hosted religious leaders at his home in Mbeere North, Embu County, ending days of speculation around his political activities.

To support his candidature, the National assembly speaker has been consolidating the upper Mount Kenya counties of Embu, Meru, Tharaka-nithi, and Isiolo in a bid to have his support base solidly behind him. All the governors from these counties appear to solidly back his bid.

The Mount Kenya East counties have close to 2 million registered voters, and with these numbers solidly behind the Muturi candidature, 2022 could prove to be a nightmare for deputy president William Ruto and other presidential candidates angling to take control of the Mount Kenya voting block.

For years, the Mount Kenya east counties have been complaining of being abandoned by their central Kenya counterparts after elections despite the fact the the this region has solidly supported their presidential candidates since independence. Residents in this region decry the limited number of development projects initiated by successive governments and lack of government appointments for residents of this region.

It is argued that politics is a game of emotions, and if Muturi is able to exploit the emotions of the residents, then it could play well into his presidential plans and give the region the bargaining power into the next government.

It is widely expected that their Kikuyu counterparts will not support his candidature. A pointer to this is the fact that a number of governors from cenral Kenya have been openly opposing the coronation of the national assembly speaker as the Mount Kenya spokesman after Uhuru Kenyatta. But continued opposition of Mr Muturi by the Kikuyu Community may endear him more to the mount Kenya east.

That said, the biggest beneficiary of a strong Muturi candidture will be Raila Odinga. By dividing the Mount Kenya vote, and provided that the former premier maintains the support of his loyal supporters, this could be what makes him president by ensuring a divided Mounlk Kenya region