The gift of the gab has always been Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria’s asset but also his greatest liability.
It made the former banker MP but also landed him in jail. He has been expelled from school and even ordered to pay Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua Sh6.5 million in a libel case because of his words.
He competes with Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri in spitting Kikuyu epithets that can even confuse a grandmother who has spoken the language for eight decades.
And this week, the Democratic Party turned its guns on him when he designed a presidential campaign poster in DP colours and emblem and shared it on Tuesday.
Democratic Party’s reaction was instantaneous. “Democratic Party of Kenya (DP) has not endorsed Hon Moses Kuria as its 2022 presidential candidate and neither has Kuria engaged the party about the same. Democratic Party has an elaborate process of how to nominate its presidential candidate with a requirement that any presidential candidate MUST be a DP life member, of which Kuria is not,” said Secretary-General Wambugu Nyamu.
Mr Kuria responded on his Facebook page: “I have never declared which party I will vie on. I am interviewing various parties to assess which one is close to my vision and agenda for this nation. DP is on that shortlist. Let them relax. The process will take some time and they will be notified of the outcome.”
During a medical camp to commemorate the death of former Nyeri Governor Nderitu Gachagua last month, governors and MP told him off.
“I am not vying in your house. Keep off,” Kuria answered.
His billboards welcoming delegates to Kirinyaga for the Devolution Conference this month were also torn by what he called “political enemies”.
The MP was just recovering from a political lynching by Mt Kenya MPs when said that the President had neglected the region.
“As we enter 2019, you (voters) must think … our responsibility is not just to vote and after voting, we (the government that we form) take development to other regions. We want the President to also commission water projects, roads and electricity when he comes here. We were with him in Kisumu where he commissioned a road project, but when he visits (Kiambu) he only issues certificates to recovering alcoholics,” he had said in Thika.
The firestorm his statement generated split Jubilee down the middle. The President replied by labelling those questioning his move to spearhead development in all parts of the country as washenzi (stupid).
He answered the President back again and reserved the stinker in the last sentence.
“The President is 100 per cent right. We need development in every corner of this country. … Mt Kenya region also deserves development just like any other region…Right now, it’s not happening,” he wrote on his Facebook Page.
Kuria’s statements were seen as a betrayal of a man with whom he has had a very close relationship.
In fact, he was key in plotting for massive registration of voters in Mr Kenyatta’s strongholds.
Now, Mr Kuria wants to use that knowledge to make a stab at the presidency. “I will run as a progressive candidate who offers practical solutions. Not theories and dreams. Kazi na pesa,” he said early this year in an interview with this writer.
But critics accuse him of running half a race with the expectation of being appointed the Deputy President or Cabinet secretary in the next government.
Born 50 years ago in Gatundu South, he was an altar boy at Gatundu Catholic Church.
He was expelled from Ituru Secondary School and sat his final-year exams from home. Mr Kuria holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Nairobi (UoN).
“I wanted to study law but my mother, fearing she could lose her son to the State if he joined the law class, convinced me to change my course,” recalled Kuria in a previous interview.
He was the treasurer of Sonu, the students’ association at UoN. After graduation, he worked as an auditor at Githongo & Co and Total Kenya.
The father of two has also worked for Standard Chartered Bank and Al Rajhi, an Islamic bank in Saudi Arabia, and then returned home to join Kibaki’s campaign in 2007.
To then Cord leader Raila Odinga’s loyalists, he became a tribal chauvinist, a loose cannon and an irritant.
To President Kenyatta’s Jubilee sympathisers, he was the defender of the Agikuyu and a retaliatory asset to counter whatever was hurled at the President.
In 2014, he bagged the Gatundu South seat in a by-election after the death of then-MP Joseph Ngugi Nyumu.
He also landed in police cells as part of the Pangani Six politicians accused of incitement.
However, he is an articulate debater who has figures at his fingertips. Will his personality make him President?