Moses Kuria's hospital bed becomes magnet for politicians

ODM leader Raila Odinga (left) with Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria at Karen Hospital. [John Muchucha, Standard]

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, in hospital for the past two weeks, is attracting more attention for his role in the 2022 succession matrix than for his role as a patient.

Kuria has been at Karen Hospital, Nairobi, receiving treatment for burns sustained on his leg, but the MP has by no means been off his feet.

He has been very active in receiving visitors from Deputy President William Ruto to ODM leader Raila Odinga. One Kenya Alliance (OKA) principals Musalia Mudavadi (ANC), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper) and Senator Gideon Moi (Kanu) have also visited him.

Others are Water Principal Secretary Joseph Irungu, Athi Water Works Authority board member Betty Maina, Cyrus Jirongo, Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui, Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua, Ben Washiali (Mumias East) and National Youth Service Chairman Njuki Mwaniki.

But even as the list grows long, the visit by Raila on Tuesday, which is reported to have lasted three hours, came on the back of visits by Gideon, Kalonzo and Mudavadi. The elephant in the room was Kuria’s value to a presidential bid.

“Time was so short we could not even discuss 10 per cent of what we wanted,” said Kuria on Raila’s visit.

Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua and Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria at Karen Hospital. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Some of those who have shown up to give their best wishes to Kuria are politicians who very few would have pictured in a room together with the MP.

There are some things you cannot begrudge Kuria. He is massively popular in Gatundu South and was elected unopposed to succeed Joseph Ngugi who unfortunately passed on in office.

The MP’s popularity has grown beyond the reaches of the constituency to the greater Mt Kenya region which he alongside other leaders from the region hope to represent in the race to succeed Uhuru. Kuria has announced that he will not defend his seat and that instead, he will focus on building his party – Chama Cha Kazi.

This in itself suggests a greater ambition and could explain the revolving door of presidential hopefuls hoping to get his support for their bids.

Kuria is part of a number of leaders from Mt Kenya who include Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua, The Service Party leader Mwangi Kiunjuri, former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth who are rallying the region around them.

According to pundits, the visits by top politicians is a class act to capitalise on the situation Kuria finds himself in.

“It’s all about looking good and empathetic. It’s also an opportunity for most of these politicians to show they stand with Mt Kenya,” says political analyst Barrack Muluka.

Muluka also argues that it is highly unlikely that presidential hopefuls would be selecting a running mate from the mountain at a time so many parties come from a region without a strong and solid leader who can pull the masses.

Political analyst Barrack Muluka. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Kuria said that his being in hospital was a sort of ice breaker and because of it, he has had conversations with the presidential contenders.

“This hospital has enabled me be to be the real me. I like talking to people, irrespective of political persuasion. I have always tried to battle barriers that prevent me from talking (to politicians of different inclinations),” said Kuria.

Karua has been named as the spokesperson for the group but it is Kuria who is forging ahead in the pack of equals.

But the MP is increasingly becoming a person of interest in the group especially since when he was admitted to hospital. Wiper leader Musyoka, during a meeting with Mt Kenya Foundation at Safari Park Hotel on Thursday, said they went to meet Kuria in hospital because it was part of the plan to unite the country.

A supporter of Deputy President William Ruto, the MP appears to be positioning himself as a likely character to be courted for the position of running mate by the different presidential aspirants.