In an interview with CNN journalist Richard Quest, President Kenyatta said he is not interested in a third term in office despite the political undertones calling on him to remain in office longer.
The suggestion was first made by Central Organisation of Trade Unions Secretary-General Francis Atwoli during Labour Day celebrations in 2016.
There are people in State House who seriously believe that President Uhuru shouldn’t retire. They are serious about it so take them seriously. People around him.
— Robert ALAI, HSC (@RobertAlai) October 29, 2018
“Your term of office ends in 2022. You have said the Constitution prevents you from standing again. Are you trying to going to try and seek to change the Constitution?” Quest asked President Kenyatta, who responded with an emphatic “No.”
“I am not interested,” added Kenyatta when asked whether he would heed the call of those asking him to remain in office.
The possibility of amending the Constitution to make President Uhuru Kenyatta a powerful prime minister once his term expires is among the issues expected to dominate a Mt Kenya parliamentary group meeting in Naivasha.
Nominated MP Cecil Mbarire is the chairperson of the caucus that boasts 90 lawmakers from Kiambu, Kirinyaga, Murang’a, Nyeri, Nyandarua, Embu, Meru and Tharaka-Nithi counties.
Other MPs with roots from the region come from Nakuru, Laikipia and Lamu counties.
Though organisers say the meeting will be about development and support for the President, another lawmaker said the agenda would include talks on the possibility of making the Jubilee leader premier in 2022.
Sources alleged that ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru was among those who were behind planning the meeting on Sunday evening.Those cautious about the meeting fear it could be another platform for people who want to succeed the President.
“I want to believe that development is the agenda because I would not want to be associated with anything other than issues that affect the people,” the Kieni MP, Mr Kanini Kega said.
The MP will not attend the meeting as he was among the group on Kenya Airways’s inaugural direct flight to the US that was flagged off by the President at night.
Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi, MPs Kimani Ichung’wa (Kikuyu), Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu) and several other lawmakers have openly supported Deputy President William Ruto’s 2022 bid.
Contacted, Senate Deputy Majority Whip Irungu Kang’ata, who is mobilising lawmakers for the meeting, would not confirm or deny the talk about a Kenyatta premiership.
However, he said it was time Mt Kenya knew who would succeed the President.
“The meeting is about looking for a new leader from this region, considering that the President will not be on the ballot. We also need to know who to endorse, between Ruto and Raila Odinga,” Mr Kang’ata said.
“We need to come up with a voice — whether the President should be back as premier and next year’s census.”
The MP said the feeling on the ground “is that the region has been left behind in parliamentary leadership and development projects”.