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Thousands of delegates arrive in Nyeri for the much-anticipated Sagana 3 meeting

Thousands of delegates arrive in Nyeri for the much-anticipated Sagana 3 meeting

By Justus Karanja

Thousands of delegates drawn from Mount Kenya region have arrived at Nyeri’s Sagana State Lodge for the much-anticipated Sagana 3 to be chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

At the meeting, the President is expected to disclose the reasons he fell out with his deputy, William Ruto and why he is backing ODM leader Raila Odinga for presidency.

And now all eyes will be on Uhuru as he hosts delegates from the vote-rich region.

The Sagana 3 follows two previous meetings at the same venue.

While Ruto enjoys significant support in Mt Kenya, going by recent opinion polls, it is no longer a secret that Uhuru is ready to go the whole hog to reclaim the region from Ruto’s grip.

Today’s event is also expected to shift top gears in the race for the August 9 presidential election as Uhuru firms up his succession plan—rekindling memories of his first stab at the presidency way back in 2002. 

It is worth noting that the President was welcomed into politics through a baptism of fire when President Daniel Moi endorsed him much to the chagrin of the more experienced politicians around him.

Although Uhuru had promised to pass the baton to Ruto at the end of his constitutional two terms, Kenyans were treated to a surprise turn of events when he shifted his support to Raila.

The Handshake on the steps of Harambee House on March 9, 2018, changed the course of the country’s politics permanently, with Ruto steadily being shoved aside as Raila began playing key roles in the Jubilee administration.

The meeting comes at a time the Deputy President’s camp has dragged influential political strategist Nancy Gitau, the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) into their political misfortunes, claiming they are part of a team deployed to harass them.

The Tanga Tanga camp, led by Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua, claimed Jubilee Party, through Gitau, was working with the security agencies, particularly NIS, to frustrate them for not supporting ongoing plans to revive the party and Raila's presidential ambitions.

The war against her by the team gives a peek into the vital and powerful role Gitau, who served as a Director in Political Affairs in the Grand Coalition government and in 2015 quit her position in Uhuru's political advisory unit following internal rivalry between defunct The National Alliance and United Republican Party, could be playing in managing Uhuru's succession politics, a role she also successfully played during President Mwai Kibaki's exit in 2012.

Rigathi, who is battling a case of corruption relating to the theft of approximately Ksh7 billion to alleged dubious government tenders, over the weekend made unsubstantiated claims that NIS was financing Gitau’s operations to harass Ruto’s backers and that the former head of President Kenyatta’s political advisory unit, had forwarded names of certain MPs to NIS to have them arrested by DCI and Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).

"We want to address a lady called Nancy Gitau, she has an office at Gigiri whose operations are being funded by the National Intelligence Service and they plan to harass the DP and those who are supporting him.

"We know the names of people who she has said should be arrested by DCI and KRA if they will not attend the Jubilee NDC scheduled to take place on February 26," the MP claimed.

The Sagana 3 meeting comes just 167 days to the August vote, and barely 48 hours before the governing party Jubilee convenes its National Delegates Convention.

For leaders in President Kenyatta’s corner, the Sagana 3 session will offer him an opportunity to explain his fallout with DP Ruto, after nearly 6 years of political bromance and how he settled on his former fierce rival, Raila, as his preferred successor.

The Sagana meeting will precede the Jubilee Party National Delegates Convention on Friday and Saturday, where key decisions are to be ratified, among them retaining Uhuru as the party leader, even after the lapse of his tenure at State House, giving a green light for a coalition with ODM and other allied parties, as well as endorsing a series of amendments to the party’s constitution.

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