Why Mt Kenya tycoons set up ‘rescue’ team ahead of 2017 general elections

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One evening last month, a group of wealthy Central Kenya businessmen met at the prestigious Windsor Golf and Country Club in Nairobi.

Within an hour some Sh51 million was raised. The impromptu harambee was conceived after the tycoons, some of Kenya’s top billionaires, discussed how they could help resolve some problems bedeviling their Mt Kenya backyard. On that cold February evening, the business magnates agreed on the need to change the social face of Central Kenya by starting a journey to redeem the region’s tattered image. Thus, the Mount Kenya Foundation (MKF) was born. Weeks later, events following that meeting have taken the region by storm. The money raised then has helped renew the fight against illicit brews and mobilised locals to register as voters. A campaign dubbed Epuka Ulevi (avoid alcoholism), an initiative of the MKF group, has been going on for the past one week. Although these business moguls have been known to pull strings behind the scenes and were also influential in previous governments, they have surprised observers by coming out in the open. The group comprises the who-is-who in the wealth club. Its members are not known to have a penchant for politics despite being influential in their own circles. See also: Wetang’ula: I will launch my 2017 presidential bid in Kakamega Equity Bank Chairman Peter Munga, Mastermind Kenya entrepreneur Wilfred Murungi, former Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Commissioner General Michael Waweru and former Kenya Airports Authority Chairman George Muhoho are the leading lights of the MKF group. Dagoretti South MP Dennis Waweru is also a member of the MKF board and acts as the link between elected leaders and the group. He was tasked with executing the group’s agenda. In an interview with The Standard on Sunday, the foundation’s national coordinator Mutuma Nkanata said the group formed the kitty as part of “giving back to society.” “They felt the need to lead from the front and ensure issues affecting the region are addressed. They took upon themselves to be involved in all matters touching on the people,” Mr Nkanata said. The group’s role is to complement efforts by elected leaders in the fight against the killer brews. “That is why we had to involve elected leaders who can influence the legislation process. Some issues affecting the region need to be addressed through policies and legislations,” said Mutuma. Government blessings With alcohol abuse reaching an all-time high and the once thriving agricultural sector on its deathbed, the leaders decided a turnaround needed their personal touch. The influential group is said to be the force behind the recent formation of a task force by President Uhuru Kenyatta to look into the ailing coffee sector.

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