Third Eye

Next Kingpin? Inside Linturi’s Factor in Mt Kenya East politics

The Agriculture and Livestock Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi is tipped to be the next Mt Kenya East region kingpin, a position he has earned as a result of his role in Kenyan politics.

Mr. Linturi who was involved in efforts to consolidate support for President William Samoei Ruto ahead of the 2022 elections is widely acknowledged for his influence on Mt Kenya East politics.

Across the Meru, Embu, and Tharaka Nithi Counties Linturi command respect even among President William Ruto’s allies. Some of them have praised him in public for his track record, which they claim has transformed the region.

Appointing Linturi as the CS Agriculture, a docket that is the backbone of the Country’s economy and a ministry he (Ruto) once held in 2008, indicated that President Ruto highly values the former Senator.

CS Linturi’s undisputed pre-eminence has been depicted currently after the Meru embattled Governor Kawira Mwangaza celebrated a handshake with him and later posted the occurrence as ‘unity of purpose’. Mwangaza was impeached by Meru MCAs a week ago and now awaits the senate’s decision over her fate.

CS Mithika Linturi shake hands with Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza during the National Tree Growing and Land Restoration Campaign in Meru County

“Unity of necessity. For the proper realization and total development in Meru County, we leaders must stand united. I was humbled to join Waziri Mithika Linturi during the launch of the National tree planting exercise at Ruiga, Central Imenti,” Mwangaza posted on her Facebook page.

Linturi’s fame was also portrayed on September 11, 2022, after the former senator hosted President Ruto in his backyard in Maua stadium for a thanksgiving service ahead of the president’s swearing-in ceremony.

During the event, various leaders led by Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki showered Mr. Linturi with incalculable praises as they beseeched Ruto. However, to the surprise of many Ruto confirmed to award Linturi for supporting him with a prime position in his government, a promise that observers believe has been kept after President Ruto appointed Linturi to replace Peter Munya as the Agriculture CS.

Linturi who was born in 1969 in Igembe in Meru County has a rich background in politics.  The political go-getter made history this year after he decided to run for the gubernatorial seat against the political experienced former Meru governor Kiraitu Murungi and the current governor Kawira Mwangaza who had been campaigning for a longer period ahead of the August 9, 2022 polls. His entry into the race a few months ahead of the election was an unexpected move beating Mr. Kiraitu with over 73,000 votes. Linturi garnered 183, 859 votes, as Bishop Mwangaza who was elected governor garnered 209,148 votes.

Linturi has also been serving as the Meru Senator for the last five years having been elected on the 8th of August, 2017 as the 2nd Senator of the County.

Previously, he was the Member of Parliament for Igembe South in Meru County.

In 1997, he vied for the Igembe South parliamentary seat under the Safina party but lost to Jackson Itirithia Kalweo who vied on a KANU party ticket. He would later pin the loss on the fact that his party was registered late. After the loss, he joined the National Development Party of Kenya (NDP), which merged with KANU and is now defunct.

In 2002, he vied for the Igembe parliamentary seat, this time under the KANU party ticket. He lost to Raphael Muriungi who was a member of the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) party.

In 2007, he contested for the Igembe South parliamentary seat for the third time. This time the odds were in his favor and he won the seat under the KANU party joining the 10th Parliament.

In 2013, he contested for the Igembe South constituency seat under the TNA party. In March, of the same year, he became a member of the Departmental Committee on Energy, Communications, and Information and also a member of the Public Investments Committee and House Business Committee.

In 2017, he vied for the Meru senatorial seat under the Jubilee Coalition and won, making him the second senator of the county.

Despite facing countless scandals in his political career CS Linturi was never swayed to declare his support for President Ruto, an action that has opted observers to believe that he is one of the major forces that are likely to help cement President Ruto’s government capability and popularity not only in Mt Kenya East but the whole country.

The Agriculture and Livestock CS is one of the significant figures in Ruto’s cabinet and is expected to prove his worth through a good performance that will woo farmers and Kenyans to support the Kenya Kwanza government.

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