PROFILE

Moses Kuria: The foremost rebel in Uhuru's backyard

Gatundu South MP hopes to ride high following his candidate's win in Juja by-election.

In Summary

• Kuria has since the second-term of President Uhuru Kenyatta openly criticised the head of state, defied his calls to go slow on politics and opposed the BBI process.

• The highlight of it was on May 19, when the candidate he fronted, George Koimburi, on the little-known People’s Empowerment Party beat Jubilee in Juja MP by-election.

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria
THIS IS THE POINT: Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria

At some point during his primary school, Moses Kuria was an alter boy, and even thought of becoming a priest.

The Gatundu South MP, however, grew to become a politician, and now certainly the chief rebel leader in Central Kenya.

Kuria has since the second-term of President Uhuru Kenyatta openly criticised the head of state, defied his calls to go slow on politics and focus on development and rejected the proposed constitutional change process through the Building Bridges Initiative.

The highlight of it was on May 19, when the candidate he fronted, George Koimburi, on the little-known People’s Empowerment Party beat Jubilee’s Susan Njeri in the Juja by-election.

The gap was massive12 ,159 against her 5,746 votes.

Kuria, now allied to the hustler movement, is the President’s MP, and Juja is at the heart of Uhuru’s supposed stronghold. The deceased MP Francis Waititu ‘Wakapee” was the group farm manager heading five farms owned by the Kenyatta family before becoming a legislator. Njeri, who lost to Koimburi, is Waititu’s widow.

Infuriated Jubilee vice chairman David Murathe, who is also from Central, threatened to expel Kuria from the ruling partyon which he was elected onfor campaigning against their candidate.

WHERE IT STARTED

Kuria early attempts to market DP William Ruto in the region indirectly led to the formation of Kieleweke after Uhuru allies dismissed their incessant presidential election campaigns.

In a past interview with the Star, Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu said: “My statement was directed at Kuria, who was moving around promising the DP that Central Kenya will vote for him to a man. One, why were we starting succession campaigns just after another election? Two, why was he speaking for my vote?”

After a year of meetings to popularise DP Ruto in Central in 2018, Kuria launched attacks on Uhuru on New Year’s Eve in Thika, accusing him of taking development elsewhere at the expense of Mt Kenya, despite the region's overwhelming support for him in elections.

This drew heat from Uhuru’s supporters, among them Kiambu Woman Rep Gathoni Wamuchomba, who accused him of disrespecting the President.

Kuria apologised to Uhuru but insisted that his words were taken out of context. He said his relationship with the President was solid. However, recent developments suggest otherwise. 

He defends himself, saying he is doing nothing different from the President's. Kuria is quick to highlight that Uhuru supported an ODM candidate in Msambweni by-election and the President's allies supported Imran Okoth of ODM in Kibra. 

Ngunjiri has accused Kuria of seeking to lead a revolution against Uhuru "that he imagines will happen in Mt Kenya".

"This attitude of raw political opportunism amongst our elected leaders in Mt Kenya is why we are where we are as a region," Ngunjiri lamented in a social media post.

Kuria, 50, was elected unopposed in August 2014 on the TNA ticket following the controversial withdrawal from the by-election of New Democrats Party candidate Kiarie Kamere.

With that, the outspoken politician started his controversial stint as MP. He has taken the opposition head on, hurled unprintable insults at rivals and has been arrested and charged several times with incitement and hate speech.

In 2016, he was among the self-styled 'Pangani Six' politicians, who were arrested and detained over hate speech ahead of the 2017 polls. He was acquitted in February 2017.

But Kuria has always been blunt even before joining Parliament. The UoN Bachelor of Commerce graduate was an activist in the Party of National Unity of former President Mwai Kibaki. He is a huge admirer of Kibaki’s economics and politics. He joined PNU in 2007 as director of programmes and spokesperson.

Ahead of the 2013 polls, he joined Uhuru’s TNA as director of strategy, a post he held until he was elected MP. 

Away from politics, Kuria was a successful auditor and banker officer for about 20 years. He worked locally for about six years, before venturing abroad, working in Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Uganda, Botswana, Saudi Arabia and UAE until 2007.