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President Kenyatta is welcomed by leaders in Nyeri when he arrived for a tour of Mt Kenya region on January 29, 2021.

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Uhuru kicks off Central Kenya tour with meetings with local leaders in Sagana

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 29- President Uhuru Kenyatta was set to meet elected leaders in Nyeri Friday ahead of a major meeting with leaders from the region on Saturday.

His aides said he was scheduled to meet County Assembly members and Members of Parliament to reach a common ground before the main meeting at the Sagana State Lodge.

“It is all about development in the region and succession politics,” one official said and referred us to State House Spokeswoman Kanze Dena for more details.

Dena addressed a press conference on Friday morning outlining the president’s itinerary but did not provide details on who were expected to attend the Sagana meeting.

Sources however, said more than 400 leaders will attend the meeting, among them Governors, MPs and Senators as well former elected leaders.

Others in attendance will be MCAs from county assemblies in Mt Kenya region who will be key in determining the fate of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report.

41 other MPs allied to Deputy President William Ruto on Thursday wrote to the president reiterating their stand on BBI. They include Majority Whip Irungu Kangata who had written a similar letter to the Head of State on New Year’s Eve.

President Kenyatta convened the Sagana meeting to drum up support for BBI that has caused a storm in the Central region fueled by succession politics.

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It is understood that only leaders seen to be loyal to the president were invited to the meeting, leading to the explosive letter signed by 41 leaders.

On Thursday, Kang’ata’s signature was listed alongside those of Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu), Alice Wahome (Kandara), and Moses Kuria (Gatundu South) among others-all seen to gravitate around DP Ruto who is leading a rebellion in the ruling Jubilee party.

In their letter, the leaders said they will not champion an agenda fronted by Orange Democratic Movement Party Leader Raila Odinga, the same person Kenyatta cautioned them against during the 2013 and 2017 General Election.

“We must be direct and truthful with you: We cannot sell Raila Odinga in our region or, indeed, any other imposed presidential candidate. You blame the leaders and people of the Mt. Kenya region for being reluctant to accept the Handshake and the BBI. It is not their fault. The successful effort you made to persuade the people and render Raila Odinga unacceptable in Mt. Kenya cannot be undone in your lifetime,” part of the letter reads.

The letter comes at a time the electoral commission has sent the BBI Bill to counties for debate within the next 90 days before it is taken back to Parliament ahead of a national referendum in June. Half of the 47 counties are required to approve the Bill for it to be taken to Parliament.

Last week, Kenyatta dismissed the dynasty versus hustler narrative started by Ruto as divisive, saying it is was fueling hatred against privileged people

“We cannot empower the youth through incitement,” the President cautioned.

[Njoki Kihiu in Nairobi contributed to this article]. 

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