Close confidants of President Uhuru Kenyatta stopped Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria from quitting yesterday before he could deliver a resignation letter to National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi.
Kuria, according to multiple sources close to him, had decided to resign following the backlash against his remarks that President Kenyatta was taking development to opposition areas, excluding Central.
Yesterday the Star learnt that former Jubilee vice-chairman David Murathe and Deputy Chief of Staff Njee Muturi intervened.
Kuria was with Murathe on Tuesday night until 3am to discuss resignation and Murathe reportedly talked him out of it. The MP had made the comments on New Year’s Eve and they went viral.
The sources said that Kuria’s resignation would embarrass the President who had himself been Gatundu South MP and the President cannot appear to be forcing out an MP from his backyard.
On Wednesday, talk of resignation was rife as leaders from Mt Kenya region called press conferences to denounce Kuria and reaffirm their support for President Kenyatta.
Yesterday morning Kuria informed Muturi that he was going to deliver a letter to his office. He did not specify the contents and instead read a statement making no mention of resignation.
He then delivered the press statement to the Speaker.
Asked whether he was to deliver a resignation letter, Kuria neither confirmed nor denied it.
"How do you know the letter I was going to deliver was to resign? It could have been a bill or anything," Kuria told the Star yesterday.
Muturi confirmed that he had received a press statement from Kuria.
"I have not received any letter. What I have is a press statement that Kuria read and I do not know what I’m supposed to do with it," Muturi said.
While denying that he was quitting yesterday, Kuria said that his life was in danger from attacks by people with “personal and political scores” to settle.
In a press briefing at Parliament Buildings, the MP said that he has reported his fears to the DCI.
Kuria declared his support for the Building Bridges Initiative and apologised to the President for his comments about the need for more development in Central.
“Following my speech at Thika Stadium on New Year’s Eve, there has been heated debate in the country and rising political temperatures, which are coming at a very early phase of the New Year. On January 4, I addressed a press conference in Gatundu South and clarified that my speech was directed at the Kiambu leadership and not President Uhuru,” the MP said.
“I have nothing but the utmost respect for President Uhuru with whom I have worked with for a long time towards making Kenya a great nation. In that press conference, I offered my unqualified apology to the President for any hurt and misconception that my words could have created. I hereby reiterate that apology to the President and my fellow Kenyans,” Kuria added.
He said that despite his apology, he is being subjected to personalised attacks from “people with personal and political scores to settle with me”.
An ominous and wrong conception had been created that he was opposed to the President and the Building Bridges Initiative, Kuria said.
He said that he has written to ODM leader Raila Odinga to launch projects in his constituency in the spirit of Opposition leader’s handshake with Uhuru on March 9 last year.
On December 31, Kuria claimed that Uhuru has neglected Central Kenya in development projects.
The MP's rant went viral, and some leaders said he appeared to be drunk and should go into rehab.
On Monday, President Uhuru Kenyatta dismissed those complaining about development in Central Kenya calling them washenzi.
Speaking during the commissioning of Mama Ngina Drive in Mombasa county, Uhuru said his aim is to take development across the country.
"Nitaendelea kuzunguka kila corner ya Kenya na kazi ya maendeleo...kutoka Mombasa hadi Kisumu, Moyale hadi Namanga ..hii siasa ya kusema ya kwamba mtu ametoka mahala fulani ati maendeleo itaelekezwa mahala fulani jamani tuwahe,” he said.
This loosely translates to “I will continue to traverse every corner of Kenya, bringing growth and development, from Kisumu, Moyale, up to Namanga. This politics of saying someone comes from such and such a place so development should be made in that region should stop).”
Meanwhile, women leaders across the political divide lashed out at leaders engaging in early campaigns, warning that they will polarise the country.
Led by Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru and Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga, they said they will visit the 47 counties to preach peace. They said voters should reject leaders hell-bent on plunging the country into divisive 2022 succession politics.
Under the umbrella group Embrace — Women Building Bridges for Kenya, they supported efforts by the President and Raila to unite the country.
“We stand with them in rejecting early campaigns that are polarising this county and opening wounds when elections are more than three years away,” Waiguru said.
“We embrace inclusivity and reject politics that pits tribe against tribe, region against region and party against party. We call on Kenyans to embrace the new Kenya and reject those who want to steal our dreams as a nation.”
Leaders allied to Deputy President William Ruto have been accused of engaging in early campaigns through their tangatanga movement.
National Assembly Majority Whip Benjamin Washiali, a close Ruto ally, defended early campaigns, however, saying that as leaders they must direct voters how to vote in 2022.
“You cannot stop me from telling our people what to do in 2022 but DP Ruto is not campaigning but just moving across the country to inspect Jubilee projects,” Washiali said yesterday at Parliament Buildings.
Wanga said the new outfit bringing together women governors, senators, MPs, women representatives and MCAs from both Jubilee and Opposition parties. She said they would hold a national Embrace convention in Nairobi and share views with the Building Bridges Initiative
Washiali also downplayed perceived rifts in the ruling Jubilee Party saying there is no MoU compelling the President to support Ruto in 2022. He said the party will conduct nominations to decide who will fly its flag.
“Immediately we formed one party called Jubilee, any MoU that existed ceased to be. It is now members of the party who will decide who will be their flagbearer for the 2022 General Election, he said.
See also: Uhuru's men quashed Kuria's resignation