After being away for months, Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria jets back to the country this morning. Before leaving Dubai for Kenya, the Chama Cha Kazi (CCK) leader, who turns 51 today, had a chat with Saturday Standard's Nzau Musau on his treatment, healing and politics.
For the months he lived in a hospital room in the United Arab Emirates, Kuria came to one conclusion; that the most precious possession one can have is good health.
For all our toils, noise and pride, we are utterly poor without good health. When he took his first steps earlier this week, it was with a sigh of relief despite the muscle aches borne of five months of immobility.
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And now armed with new values from his Damascus moment, he comes back home a changed man but also to a changed political terrain. He's raring to pick up himself from where he left.
"In our normal lives, we tend to act as if the world is ending tomorrow. We also grow to deceive ourselves that we run the universe. If you are hospitalised for as long as I have, you will learn to know that God's timing is the best and that to be healthy is the most precious possession one can have," he says.
He's much more alive to the fact that healing is a journey, especially after the false start five months ago. He says for ODM leader Raila Odinga to lose ANC's Musalia Mudavadi and Ford Kenya's Moses Wetangula was an avoidable mistake.
If he makes the same mistake with Wiper's Kalonzo Musyoka, his goose will be cooked. Kuria claims he has been approached by one of the two leading coalitions with a running mate offer, but he's not keen on it.
Below is the full interview:
Q: It’s been many months for you confined in bed in a faraway land. How did it feel to walk again?
It feels great. Obviously because of five months of immobility, lots of muscle got lost causing discomfort, but it's a great, great feeling to walk again and I thank God.
Q: The stem cell surgery. What was the experience..... had you gone through any surgery before?
I had been through several injuries related to this accident but nothing before. The stem cell surgery was unprecedented. It was the first of its kind in Dubai and among the first few in the world. It took a lot of courage to be a pioneer but I trusted my medical team's judgement and finally it paid off.
Q: It’s easy to be forgotten, confined in a foreign hospital bed for so long. Where did you draw support? We saw quite number of people visiting you but in between these visits, how was it?
The advantage of being in Dubai is that there is already high traffic of visitors to and from Kenya. I was fortunate to receive many visitors from among friends and family. I also received visitors from the leadership class including Deputy President William Ruto and several MPs and Senators. I also received regular briefs about the situation back home.
Q: What did the doctors tell you as they let you off? What assurances did they offer you, and what assurances can you offer to your supporters?
Being on my feet is one thing. The journey to full recovery will take lots of post hospitalisation care and therapy. The critical thing is to continue with exercise and following the doctors instructions to the letter. I am fine but it's not advisable to enlist for the Kenya Trials Marathon.
Q: The whole thing (accident, hospitalisation in Nairobi and Dubai) must have left deep imprints in you, what key things stand out for you as either lessons, caution or advise to others?
My principal lessons are patience and humility. I now know better. You don't have to go through what I have gone through to appreciate this. You only need to listen to me, and learn from my experience.
Q: The President and ODM leader Raila Odinga were in Dubai this week. Did you meet them, and what did they tell you or what did you tell them?
I only met the President at the Gulf Cooperation Council- Kenya Business Forum. I am a member of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KNCCI) and its President Richard Ngatia had invited me.
We met and chatted briefly with the President after the event and he was very concerned about my treatment and recovery. Contrary to rumours out there, we did not discuss any politics and our meeting was in the open in front of many people. I understand that Raila was also around and although I did not meet him, I bumped into his son Raila Junior who is my personal friend and I sent him with greetings for Baba.
Q: You had last spoken to the President in November 2018, that’s a long time for once bosom buddies…
We may not have spoken with the President as often as we used to but our relationship remains respectful. We have different mandates and we have chosen to focus on our respective mandates. Where we differ is purely on principle and its never personal.
Q: You had promised to come back “strong as a butchers dog”. How does it feel to come back home?
It feels great. I would be lying to you If I told you I don't miss my constituents in Gatundu South and nationally. I look forward to be reunited with them.
Q:So much has happened in your absence. Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang'ula bolted from OKA, closed ranks with William Ruto, CS’s resigned, Parliament sanctioned coalition parties, you are coming to a totally changed terrain….
This was expected. The 50 per cent plus one vote rule is one of the most progressive achievements of the 2010 Constitution. It necessitates everyone to make decisions and form alliances. The end result is a more stable democratic order. I am surprised CSs like Mutahi Kagwe, Simon Chelugui and Peter Munya who were "on loan" from the political class did not resign. It shows that politics is no longer for the thin-skinned.
Q: You had said Raila could not climb an anthill let alone a mountain without support of OKA, do you still hold this view?
I maintain the same. Losing Mudavadi and Wetangula was a big loss for Raila. It means he has made Western votes one of the areas he has to do some heavy lifting whereas it could have been a walk over. On the brighter side, Eugene Wamalwa and his DAP brigade has moved quickly to reduce the damage for Baba but losing the two was avoidable. As for Kalonzo, even Raila knows there is no way Charity Ngilu, Alfred Mutua and Kivutha Kibwana can replace Kalonzo Musyoka. If Raila doesn't sign Kalonzo to Azimio, he should prepare for Ruto's coronation not even swearing in.
Q: It was hoped the real game would start in February, it’s now February. We didn’t see Chama Cha Kazi (CCK) bag any of the departing CS’s, PS’s or, CAS’s. What is CCK’s plan?
I have been out of the country. You can expect a very substantial number of very potential candidates joining the party. And its not about the apparent profile of the candidates. The most likely candidates to win are not of the known profiles. CCK will shock many. We know how to win seats and we will win many, many seats.
Q: There was speculation earlier this week that you are headed the Azimio way, is this true? And UDA?
I have received emissaries from one of the two leading coalitions offering me the running mate position. I am not having sleepless nights about it. The tribulations of the current Deputy President have made me and many others be afraid of that office. My current single minded focus is to help Chama Cha Kazi win as many Governor, Senator, Women Rep, National Assembly and MCA seats as possible. If we have to join a coalition, we will think of that before March 26. We still have a month to make up our minds.
Q: Your comrades in Central, like ex-CS Kiunjuri are re-evaluating their plans. He’s now running for Laikipia East, and having to confront your nemesis Cate Waruguru. Are you still not running?
Running a party is a full time job. My hands are full. What Central needs right now is a party to protect our interests and make us feel safe irrespective of which coalition wins the presidency. I feel that's my religious duty.
Q: What is your assessment of DP Ruto’s chances vis a vis Raila’s?
I think they will be in a statistical dead-heat by May if OKA joins Azimio. After that it will be down to how they handle the Mt Kenya vote and especially their respective choices of running mates. Kenyans are looking for a ticket that will excite the key voting blocks of youth and women and also seasoned and steadfast people who are not sycophants of the two leading candidates. It can not be the usual cast based purely on loyalty. So far it can go either way.
Q: You are turning 51 today, happy birthday! Some people say Moses is coming of age or has come of age, what do you say to this??
I thank God for 51 lively years. I feel like it's half time for me. In the second half you can expect a much more composed Moses Kuria. Mimi sasa ni mzee wa boma.