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Moses Kuria's morbid humour heralds his travails in the politics of 'unga'

Trade CS Moses Kuria. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

“There are many ways of dying,” Trade Minister Moses Kuria—MK to his handful supporters— deadpanned. His morbid humour was a sudden climbdown. A week earlier, he was issuing threats to Movoko squatters to leave government land or face his graders and earthmovers, and which elicited immediate rebuff from Machakos Governor, Wavinya Ndeti. She dared him in her characteristic stride: ya ndwele sipite!

It means MK should mind his own business and not dwell on a past that he didn’t understand, such as squatter politics in Machakos. It appears Wavinya’s rebuke was taken seriously, for MK did not revisit the matter or send in his graders as he claimed he would.

But since MK cannot keep his mouth shut for long, he was onto something else. He said he’d import GM maize to feed starving Kenyans. That’s when he tried morbid humour, which backfired spectacularly, to dispel safety concerns about the grains.

And if no one has noticed, MK has had a sartorial transformation, adorning three-piece suits that make him look, well, awkward. But then, MK is awkward. Having failed to humour Kenyans, he sharpened his tool and retreated online—a cowardly move, if ever there was one.

He declared that he did not mind losing some votes—he’s always thinking of votes, this MK man, even though his votes were pretty low numbers. It’s embarrassing to keep reminding us about votes, for MK garnered some 24,000 votes in the recent Kiambu governor’s contest, where over 800,000 votes were at stake. That’s three per cent of the vote.

Anyway, the recognition that he’d lose some votes from the 24k in hand did not stop MK from going online to disparage some folks that he called “rich idlers and Twitterati with a bowl of pizza and fish fingers.”

This is called declaration of war, and MK was taking no hostage. As a self-declared “hustler,” it is assumed MK had no “bowl of pizza” as he tweeted. What type of pizza fits in a bowl, by the way? If pizza is triangular and the bowl is circular, you probably get a trapezium if you superimpose one over another.

And were the fish fingers in question sourced from China, or was the fillet from River Sagana—the sort that chills by airing through the dusty trails dangling off the sidemirrors of matatus? This is vital as MK is convinced these “rich idlers” on Tweeter are denying the “hustlers” that it is their turn to eat.

But since MK is MK, and he likes to imagine he has the final word on just about anything he says or does, there was a ring of inevitability that Kenyans would eat GM maize, wapende wasipende, although it wasn’t clear if he’d force-feed the “rich idlers” online as well.

When one is a government minister in charge of a ‘powerful’ docket, one is bound to forget that a Cabinet position is donated authority, which could be taken away as easily as it was given. This recognition has come by way of a threat to impeach MK.

Why, a ship docked in Mombasa faster than MK could sign a gazette notice approving GM maize importation and even before farmers in the nation’s breadbasket could harvest their grains. The latter was important for the nation to assess shortfalls in our grain reserves.

Put another, MK is ‘jumping’ before the drumbeats are sounded, but that’s what makes him who he is. He might have new three-piece suits on, but putting old MK in new skins will not change him one bit. Perhaps his peers could, if they put him in his place.