The battle for the control of Mt Kenya votes as President Uhuru Kenyatta is set to leave office in 2022 has started in earnest following the registration of a party associated with Murang'a Governor Mwangi Wa Iria.
The Civic Renewal Party (CRP) received its certificate of registration from the Registrar of Political Parties Ann Nderitu Monday.
The registrar's office said the party is now fully registered after meeting all the set requirements.
CRP's symbol is a cow and a milk can and its colours are gold, green and black.
Party officials said they have so far registered 300,000 members across the country.
Ms Nderitu said the party acquired its certificates after getting the minimum requirement of having 1,000 members in each of 24 counties and having offices around the country.
She told the Nation that the party started the process of registration last year, further noting that four other parties have acquired provisional certificates as they wait to conclude the final registration process.
"We have officially registered two political parties which have successfully concluded the minimum requirements of having 1,000 members in at least 24 counties and having a functional national governing council that conforms to Article 100 of the Constitution of Kenya.
"We have vetted its (CRP's) constitution and we are satisfied that the party meets the requirements which includes having a governing council that is responsive to Article 100 of the constitution and having founding members," Ms Nderitu told the Nation.
Mr Wa Iria is said to be intending to use the party as a political vehicle to venture into national politics and at the same time as a bargaining tool in the Mt Kenya region.
The party is the only one in the region to be registered and among the two formed after the 2017 General Election.
The other one is the United Green Movement affiliated to former Ndhiwa MP Agostino Netto.
CRP's Secretary Ephantus Githae, who is Governor Wa Iria's aide, said they plan to complement the work of the Jubilee administration by meeting members of county assemblies across the country to discuss policy formulation and assisting them to legislate laws that are beneficial to Kenyans and by conducting sensitisation meetings with locals on the importance of public participation, especially on the budget making process.
Mr Githae said the party's national governing council will be meeting in Naivasha by next month to hit the ground running in preparation for the 2022 elections.
"We successfully registered the party that we believe will focus on the ordinary citizens by assisting them [to understand] the importance of public participation and focusing on the assemblies to [help them] formulate laws that connect well with the ordinary citizens. We will not in any way be caught up in petty politics as is currently [happening]," he told the Nation.
He said the party has officials from various regions in Kenya, adding that it has a national outlook.
He added that grassroots registration is ongoing.
"The difference between this party and those that have been there is that it has not been formed for power searching only but to advocate for the push of revenue sharing and distribution of national resources," Mr Githae said.
The party has in the recent past presented itself as the common man's attorney by prosecuting what it terms as "drastic policies" especially the transport standoff between the Nairobi County government and the matatu saccos.
Political pundits have interpreted the formation of the party as a move by Governor Wa Iria to entrench himself in national politics and his exit strategy from governorship as he is serving his final term.
Bernard Mwangi, a political analyst, says the formation of the party could serve as a well calculated move by Governor Wa Iria for easier penetration to national politics as well as his bargaining tool as he exits the governor position in 2022.
Mr Mwangi says the governor's position as the vice chairman of Council of Governors and his political party, if utilised well, could determine whether he will be a major shareholder in the next government.
"In his first term, Wa Iria never associated himself with national politics and even the Council of Governors but with his political outfit, which is becoming popular in Murang'a, and his election to COG it means a lot," Mr Mwangi said.
Nation has established that the party has scheduled meetings with MCAs in Mt Kenya region with a view to working together in the 2022 General Election.