Battle lines are drawn in Mount Kenya region as the race to find President Uhuru Kenyatta’s successor heats up with ugly scenes surfacing.

Violent confrontation between members of opposing factions within Jubilee Party (Tangatanga and Kieleweke) leaves no doubt that the stakes are high with Deputy President William Ruto thrown into the mix in a supremacy battle that will no doubt leave many casualties.

Reports indicate that last week’s confrontation between MP Maina Kamanda and Kiharu lawmaker Ndindi Nyoro in a Murang’a has seen regional leaders swing into action amidst concerns of a dangerous communal split and political violence between rivals.

The game plan entails settling on an individual who can unite the region and give them a sense of direction as the race to 2022 elections heats up.

However, this will not be a walk in the park with many keen on the slot given the divergent political views and individual interests, taking into account the benefits, influence and bargaining power that come with the position.

Crowded field of likely heirs

For the first time in history, the region has been left with no influential politician or a confidant of the President and is groping in darkness at the feet of the Deputy President for direction.

Several leaders such as Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru, William Kabogo, Mwangi wa Iria, Moses Kuria, Peter Kenneth, Mwangi Kiunjuri among others are attempting step up to the role against stiff opposition.

File image of Deputy President William Ruto (centre) with Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru (left), Woman Rep Purity Ngirici and other leaders in Kutus, in April 2018

Waiguru recently learnt the hard way that by speaking up, she is becoming an easy target and attracted more political enemies after she declared that Mt Kenya was ready to back Raila.

Clashes and violent face-offs to continue

Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata confirmed that the bickering and clashes witnessed in the battle for political supremacy will be the norm until a successor is found.

“That is likely to continue until the Uhuru successor is clear,” Kang’ata stated.

Complicating matters further is the fact that several leader from the Meru region are also interesting in having one of their own shepherd the expansive Mt Kenya region and probably be on the ballot in 2022.

Senate Deputy Speaker Kithure Kindiki National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, Kiraitu Murungi and Peter Munya are the front runner from Mt Kenya East region.

File image of DP William Ruto and National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi

The fact that the next election is three years away has done little to stop the political fumes coming from Mt Kenya. Not even a warning from President Uhuru Kenyatta urging them to stop politics and pursuit of development and national unity could deter them.