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Deputy Presidency poisoned chalice, says Moses Kuria

ODM leader Raila Odinga when he visited Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria at the Karen Hospital and wished him well.  Later Kuria sought specialised medical treatment in Dubai. [John Muchucha, Standard]

Gatundu South Member of Parliament Moses Kuria says the position of the Deputy President is a poisoned chalice.

He says although constitutionally the president and his deputy are supposed to serve as a pair, in reality, the bearer of the office of the deputy president serves at the mercy of the president.

Kuria was responding to questions on Citizen Television by Jeff Koinange.

His remarks come amid heightened push for top presidential contenders to pick running mates from the Mt Kenya region.

Mr Kuria, however, said unless there are clear converging policies on what functions a deputy president should undertake, the position as it is, remains "bewitched."

“As a region, we need to take a deep breath and reflect on what the contenders are bringing to the table. We must be sure that the side we support is a winning side,” he said adding, “For now the position of the deputy president is bewitched and as a region, we need to have serious religious consultations.”

The vocal legislator said for one to be a running mate he has to be picked by someone.

“If you feel so bad about being not picked as a running mate, go for presidency yourself and pick someone, because in my view someone will today pick you as their deputy president and tomorrow you will be jobless,” he said.

Kuria said Mt Kenya region needs to learn the bitter lessons of what has happened between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto.

He said the region should have a second thought on fronting a candidate as a running mate.

“Currently, Mt Kenya people have negative attachments to power and presidency. To them, it has become a nightmare rather than a dream. Businesses have closed and families left disadvantaged despite having their son as a president. It is good to fight for what we want but if this is what will assist Mt Kenya and make the country a better place then shall it be,” he said.

Kuria who has been in Dubai for specialised treatment after he burned his feet said although efforts are in place to right many wrongs within the region, Mt Kenya leadership is to blame for it has not admitted that there are problems that must be addressed.

He said not only the region but the entire country has suffered a great loss from UhuRuto’s fallout.

“Sometime back it was an offence to mention one of them without the other. They had inspired some hope but as things are now, we are left more worried than before,” he said.

Handshake not to blame

Mr Kuria said the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga has nothing to do with the fallout.

He said instead, a breakdown in communication is what escalated the fallout.

Kuria said president Uhuru Kenyatta wanted to run the government in a certain way in his second term, which was not clearly communicated to his deputy resulting in a cold relationship between the two.

“The president single-handedly made the appointments of his second term cabinet without consulting anyone including his deputy. This was a clear indication that he was not ready to tag along with his deputy in his second term,” Kuria said.

“The fallout is not about the handshake but lack of communication. The handshake only catalysed what had already fallen apart. If I may ask between appointing cabinet ministers and handshake which was more at stake?” paused Kuria.

He alleged since Uhuru did not communicate the objectives of the handshake, some politicians took advantage to fight political battles further splitting the relationship.

“This is what even led to the failing of BBI although the document was well-meaning,” Kuria said.

Political Stand

Kuria said there is no constitutional requirement that compels him to support any candidate for the presidency.

He said his Chama Cha Kazi party will however field candidates in all other positions except for the position of president.

He said both Kenya Kwanza Alliance and Azimio la Umoja coalitions were formulated when he was in the hospital and thus for now he has not made up his mind on which side to support.

“By the time I left I belonged to the ‘Hustler Movement’, how it changed to Kenya Kwanza I have not received a memo and therefore I don't know how we transitioned. I don't understand what the two coalitions stand for. There is much more that goes in before a decision is made like we need time to see if what they have is compatible with our values. For now, our option is to fence seat and understand,” said Mr Kuria.

While insisting UDA which he had agreed to work with was just a political party like his, he said it would be unfair to jump into something he does not understand.

“Things have changed just as times change. In our agreement with UDA, we were categorical about alliances, now I see everywhere there is UDA, there is ANC and Ford-K. I want to believe that the said ANC and Ford-K are parties from Uganda and we wait for Ruto to engage parties from Kenya,” said Mr Kuria.

“We have all seen a lot of chest-thumping and bravado. For now, we need to move swiftly and reduce the level of tension and hate between Azimio and Kenya Kwanza. We must reduce the vagueness in their manifestos and question their ideologies,” he said.

Kuria said while Kenya Kwanza should be tasked to explain why they have resorted to fighting CBC, Raila Azimio should explain how they are going to implement the Sh6,000 monthly stipend plan.

Future Plans

Kuria maintained that he will be taking a break from active politics.

I have served the people of Gatundu South for nine years, I want to set an example that you can give an opportunity to others to serve. My focus now will be to build a strong party that will give hopes to the electorate,” he said.

“I want to focus on winning as many electoral seats as possible so that my party will have a good representation in Parliament to push for equality in resource allocation and stand up to power,” he added.

He said his party will work with whoever candidate will have the best option that supports their values.