Senators' fury at Kuria over tweet on Kawira's trial

Public Service, Performance and Delivery Management Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

His foul mouth largely prompted a transfer from the Trade Ministry and his latest remarks, seemingly questioning the impartiality of senators, could cost Moses Kuria his Cabinet job.

That depends on whether President William Ruto heeds a call by senators to fire Kuria over claims that he disparaged the lawmakers handling the impeachment trial of Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza.

On Tuesday, the Public Service, Performance and Delivery Management Cabinet Secretary fired a salvo on a host of senators on social media, about their handling of the impeachment proceedings.

“Stop it. You can see from the evidence that you are being misled,” Kuria wrote in a post that listed 13 senators as targets of possible claims of bias, although he did not expressly state his reasons for fingering them.

Among those he listed were Aaron Cheruiyot (Kericho), Jackson Mandago (Uasin Gishu), Hillary Sigei (Bomet), Alexander Mundigi (Embu) Samson Cherargei (Nandi) Seki Lenku ole Kanar (Kajiado) and Fatuma Dullo (Isiolo).

Others were Abdul Haji (Garissa) Kamau Murango (Kirinyaga) Wahome Wamatinga (Nyeri) Kathuri Murungi (Meru), Enoch Wambua (Kitui) and Moses Kajwang’ (Homa Bay).

‘Intimidating’ senators

His statements were, predictably, met with criticism. In a strongly-worded statement at midnight Tuesday, Senate Speaker Amason Kingi cautioned Kuria against “intimidating and casting aspersions” on the conduct of senators.

“I, therefore, caution... Moses Kuria... and other persons to desist from adversely commenting or making utterances, whether written or spoken, in relation to the conduct of the impeachment process, which may prejudice the just and fair disposal of the present matter. If this caution is not heeded, we will summon the CS, Moses Kuria,” Kingi said in Parliament.

But senators felt the caution was “lenient” and wanted sterner action against the CS, citing his behaviour as shameful. 

Cheruiyot, who faulted Kuria for attempting to intimidate the legislators through the tweet, said the CS was an embarrassment to the president.

“I want to register my disappointment in the increasingly unbecoming conduct of CS Moses Kuria, a man who is continually embarrassing the appointing authority and casting serious doubt on the choice ability of none other but His Excellency the President,” the Senate Majority Leader said.

“The earlier CS Moses Kuria is let off his duty, the better off for this administration... no wonder the people of Kiambu resoundingly rejected his bid to be their governor,” Cheruiyot added, saying he “now agreed” with a previous censure motion brought against the CS.

The censure motion in question had been tabled in June by Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna, who wanted Kuria declared unfit to hold office over his attacks on the media. Senators shot it down.

On Wednesday, the ODM secretary general held the same view he did five months ago. “Moses Kuria is an incorrigible national shame... how much embarrassment does the president have the capacity to endure? I can assure you that if nothing is done about Moses Kuria then more embarrassment is coming,” said Sifuna, who is also Senate’s deputy minority whip.

Deputy Speaker Murungi urged National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah to draft an impeachment motion against Kuria, as removing CSs from office is a National Assembly function.

“He is an embarrassment to the people who voted for the Kenya Kwanza government and should be relieved of his duties immediately. The president should take notice of the comments we are giving as a House,” the Meru senator said, terming Kuria “rogue”.

Kajwang’ had made similar remarks, saying Kuria’s statement risks belittling the Senate. He proposed that Kuria be summoned to substantiate his claims.

“His conduct falls within the threshold of impeachment... I want to urge members of the other House because they are the ones who have the responsibility of censuring and sending home cabinet secretaries, to take serious judicial notice of the conduct of this cabinet secretary and this House through the relevant committee can come up with resolutions that can then be used to move the other House to discuss his conduct and have him censured,” the Homa Bay Senator said.

Wamatinga, who Kuria also mentioned in his post, said the president “should not be held hostage by some of these rogue ministers he has appointed into the government”.

“Central Kenya has no shortage of people capable of running the docket that Kuria is running and he should be shown the door as early as today (yesterday),” the Nyeri senator added.

In closing the debate, Speaker Kingi urged senators to take action against the CS. “This cannot be a House of lamentations. This is a House of action... I implore upon you, honourable senators, to take full advantage of the Standing Orders to bring sanity to some of these CSs. You have powers under the law, more particularly under the Standing Orders, to deal with the behaviour that you are complaining about,” he said.