Today, 6th March 2021, the people of the larger Mt. Kenya region have taken a conscious, thoughtful and momentous decision to install Hon Justin Bedan (JB) Muturi (Speaker of the 12th Parliament) to the role of spokesperson for the community.
Whatever your political preferences and inclinations, there is no doubting that this decision has been slow-burning, thought-fuelled, deliberate and arrived at without the usual razzmatazz that is emblematic of our current politics.
Never in the short modern history of the larger Mt. Kenya people has there been as much political, social and economic uncertainty as there is currently.
All the members of the larger Mt. Kenya region are currently grappling with this question, whether we should cede our hard-fought and hard-won political capital to anyone else, un-negotiated.
Amidst the frantic debates about how and whom we should entrust with such political capital, the answer that is slowly filtering through, is that to give it away freely would be irresponsible
With only one-and-a-half years before the exit of President Uhuru Kenyatta from the political stage, we have at some point felt the political anxiety of not having someone with sufficient gravitas to front our issues.
Why does Mt. Kenya region need someone to front their interests?
In more modern times, Kenyan politics has become highly evolved and the other communities within Kenya have mastered the art of collectivization of their political aspirations, which they have each granted to a senior member of that community for purposes of rigorous negotiations.
And that is what politics really is, the rigorous negotiation over the interests of various communities within a country.
The question therefore becomes, with whom will the leaders of all other communities be comfortable and have enough respect for to negotiate with in good faith, and who has the capacity to represent the interests of the Mt. Kenya people?
Any prospective leader of the Mt. Kenya region must have an enviable personal and professional profile, must have the ability to seamlessly engage the 3 branches of Government, must be mature and senior enough to gain the trust and respect of other leaders across board and most importantly, have acquired international respect and contacts.
Only one person fits this bill perfectly and stands head and shoulders above all others in each respect.
Justin Bedan Njoka Muturi (DOB 28 April 1956) is the seventh Speaker of the National Assembly of Kenya, in office since 2013. He is the first Speaker to serve following the reestablishment of a bicameral Parliament, as mandated by the 2010 Constitution.
He has managed to hold together a house whose majority was joined in a fragile coalition, working tirelessly to maintain the dignity of the house even when emotions have spilled over.
Within that time he shepherded debate following the acrimony surrounding the contested 2017 National election, a Supreme Court ruling that sent Kenyans back to the ballot, a dissension against the 2nd outcome which ultimately led to the handshake as we know it today.
The National Assembly was the theatre upon which many of these grievances were ventilated, and Hon. JB Muturi won the hearts and minds of Kenyans and MPs for being impartial and humane to all, regardless of their political affiliation.
By the time the 12th Parliament ends in 2022, JB Muturi will have served Kenya’s legislative branch as House Speaker for almost a decade.
While serving as House Speaker, JB Muturi has built a massive international profile by meeting and engaging with the leaders of more than 50 countries, from Europe, the Middle East, the Far East and North America.
This is absolutely crucial because these countries always know who they can count on in Kenya when they need various diplomatic and trade matters canvassed at the highest levels of Government.
Conversely, the speakers of the National Assemblies of other countries are within his reach, and will continue to be even when he is out of office.
This is the sort of influence that money cannot buy, and makes Hon. JB Muturi a key cog in Kenyan foreign policy, which can be used aggressively to augment the work of Ambassadors and High Commissioners around the World.
Nothing brings the entire National Assembly experience full circle than the fact that JB Muturi has also served as Member of Parliament for Siakago Constituency 1999 – 2007. He served as Chairman of the powerful Public Investments Committee from 2003 – 2007
He understands the inner workings of Parliament, the key law-making procedures and officers, and how to lobby for key legislation to be passed.
From 1982 – 1997 Hon. JB Muturi served as a magistrate in the Judiciary from lower rungs, before eventually rising to the position of Principal Magistrate in 1997, before he retired to join politics.
These last few years have seen an acrimonious relationship between the Executive and the Judiciary which has led to the holding in abeyance of more than 41 judges of the High Court and Court of Appeal.
The outcome of this impasse has been the delay in resolving decades-long cases, much to the detriment of the ordinary Kenyan and the dispensation of justice.
Hon. JB Muturi has the gravitas and goodwill on all sides (Judiciary, Legislature and Executive) to help us out of this impasse and ensure that it never occurs again in future.
In sum, this is the first time that the people of Mt. Kenya have considered giving such a role to anyone during a period to strong birthing pains of political change and awakening in the country.
The huge youth population from the Mountain is restless, but also perceptive enough to appreciate that the spokesperson from another region cannot realistically purport to carry and negotiate their political and economic interest.
We have found our own, now let’s grant him the mandate to do what is necessary.