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Photo The Standard President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) today met thousands of delegates at the Sagana State Lodge in Nyeri where leaders from Mt Kenya region voiced their unanimous support for the Building Bridges Initiative. While praising the BBI report, the leaders led by Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga told Uhuru they will not allow divisive politics and external influence to disrupt the peace and unity of the region. The leaders who included representatives of the youth, women, politicians and other grassroots formations made the assurance during the consultative meeting at Sagana. Speaking during the meeting, the leaders said their region stands to benefit from the constitutional reform process. The 7000 plus delegates turned up at Sagana as the President toured his home turf amid political undertone. All eyes are set on him on whether he would tame the vote-rich Mount Kenya bloc that seems to be slipping away. The attendants were drawn from the 10 counties as the President completed day two of his Central region tour. This comes as 10 county assemblies on Friday assured Uhuru they will pass the BBI legislation within the required legal timeline. The assurance by Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Embu, Kirinyaga, Nyeri, Murang'a, Nyandarua, Kiambu, Laikipia and Nakuru County Assemblies was made on Friday at Sagana during a meeting between the Head of State and 550 MCAs and their respective leadership teams. Led by their County Assembly Speakers and House Leaders, the MCAs said they back the BBI process because it will allocate more development resources to the grassroots. With the 2022 general election already in the horizon and the Building Bridges Initiative debate hotting up, Uhuru met leaders to discuss the region's development as well as other pertinent national agenda including the BBI. Uhuru on Friday started his four-day pitch for the BBI by offering a sweetener that could change the tide for the constitutional reform moment. The President acceded to demands by MCAs to be given car grants, adding that the same would be given to all ward representatives across the country. Uhuru also stated that although he would be retiring, he would still have a say in the political scene. “I will still sit in the negotiation table to ensure that our region is not taken lightly,” he said during a meeting with the leaders at Sagana State Lodge. At the same time, Uhuru pleaded with Mt Kenya leaders to delink his succession politics from the BBI process, saying, “I have never said I will support or not support someone (to succeed me) so I wonder why all the hullaballoo.” “I never said we shall elect so and so. I only said we shall support whoever was more popular than the others and I said we should widen our circle of friends so that we are safe, whoever is in power,” he said. Unlike before when the president read the riot act to the local leaders, yesterday he appeared reconciliatory, telling his allies “not to bother answering what the other people are saying”. - Jael Mboga, The Standard

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