Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, who had emerged as the face of rebellion in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s backyard, was beaten into submission on a day more leaders came out to denounce rising political temperatures. Mr Kuria, who sparked a storm by alleging that President Uhuru Kenyatta had neglected Central Kenya in terms of development, yesterday said he had nothing but “utmost respect for the President” as he sought to put the debate to rest. The outspoken MP also cited alleged threats to his life by people he referred to as opportunists, and who he claimed were scheming to exploit the current crisis for their selfish reasons.
This capped a dramatic week that had seen a flurry of well-coordinated Press conferences apparently to denounce critics of the President. Kuria yesterday cut a lonely figure as he spoke at a Press briefing in Parliament Buildings after the flurry of separate briefings, for the third day, by various leaders, including a caucus of women leaders from across the political divide. The women included Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru and Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga, who defended Uhuru’s truce with Opposition leader Raila Odinga.
The women donned white T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan “embrace” in reference to the March 9 truce between Uhuru and Raila, which has stoked political acrimony. Allies of Deputy President William Ruto are perceived to resist the truce, alleging a plot wreck Jubilee. The timings and messaging in the numerous Press briefings throughout the week appeared well coordinated and funded, given the hasty printing of T-shirts, with cross-cutting organisers who signaled others to begin as soon as one ended.
Yesterday, Kuria said he had reported those that had issued death threats to him to the Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti. Kuria also sought to put the record straight, saying he fully supported the handshake between Uhuru and Raila, contrary to beliefs by some politicians. “There is misconception that has been created that I am opposed to the Building Bridges Initiative. I have been very consistent in supporting the initiative and even traversed many parts of the country,” he said.
The lawmaker warned that if the country continued to be held captive by fears and divisions of the past, then there would be no development. On New Year’s Eve, at Thika Stadium, the MP caused a storm after he sensationally claimed that the Mt Kenya region had been marginalized. Many of the President’s supporters did not take the remarks kindly. Legislators from Kiambu County were the first to slam the Gatundu South MP, terming his remarks tantamount to attacking Uhuru’s resolve to unite Kenyans. The area County MP Gathoni Wamuchomba led her colleagues in sharply criticising Kuria, observing that the MP’s comments were unfortunate and insisting that the President had initiated many projects in the region. Ms Wamuchomba called on Kuria to apologise to the President for his remarks.
Yesterday, Kuria, for the second time, apologised for his outburst, but emphasized that whatever he said was taken out of context by people who did not agree with him politically. He said despite him publicly apologising to the President, he had continued to receive a barrage of personalized attacks from individuals with personal and political scores to settle with him. Kuria added that he had no issue with the matter being used by election losers to revive their careers, but did not take it kindly when they used the issue to drive a wedge between him and the President.
“I have nothing but utmost respect for President Kenyatta, with whom I worked for a long time towards making Kenya a great nation,” he added. Earlier in the afternoon, reports of the embattled MP resigning did rounds on social media and blogs. One media house carried a story of his imminent resignation on its online platform. The MP admonished the media house for publishing fake news and threatened to seek legal redress.