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  • Written by:

    Dan Mwangi

    “Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

    When Donald J. Trump, the real estate mogul and reality television celebrity, announced that he would seek the Republican presidential nomination the world stood still to laugh at the apparently hysterical act. Everyone though it was a big joke, campaigning on anti latino anti “anyone who is not white” platform his remarks brought out the worst in everyone. So when he was elected the nation’s 45th president in the stunning culmination of a campaign that defied expectations and conventions at every turn and galvanized legions of aggrieved Americans in a loud repudiation of the status quo, the world was shocked. Everyone’s “mouth left aghast!”
    Such was the feeling for some when Moses Kuria announced that he will be on the ballot in 2022. There was a lot of backlash from Ruto’s allies in central Kenya. The Gatundu lawmaker made headwinds in the political arena with the statement that put Ruto’s 2022 bid in jeopardy. The Deputy President’s bid which has faced a lot of threats from numerous corners seems not to be done with challenges yet.
    Mr Kuria expressed optimism that he would win in a contest against DP William Ruto. The MP said he was confident he will trounce Ruto in the nomination, but will not mind offering him a deputy position. “If successful, I will offer Ruto a post in my government,” he said. Kuria listed his other preferred deputies as ODM leader Raila Odinga and Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana. His sentiments coming just days after reports that he was decamping from Jubilee Party to the Democratic Party.
    Ruto’s Mt Kenya allies have withdrawn from his inner circle as signs emerged that power brokers from the region were plotting against his presidential bid. The Gatundu South Member of Parliament, a man who not only knows jail, but also connects well with his electorate might just be the pick of the cartels. The Uhuru confidant who studied at Ituru Secondary School before joining the University of Nairobi where he pursued a degree in Law has been a figure of controversy because of incessant hate speech and incitement remarks. Like Donald Trump, Moses Kuria has perhaps managed to irate more people in Kenya than anyone else in history.
    The lawmaker who has both practiced law and worked in the banking industry has a very strong relationship with President Uhuru Kenyatta which started developing in his early days. After spending some time in the Kenyan job market he moved to Dubai for a more lucrative job. After several years of work at Dubai, Kuria returned to Kenya and joined former President Mwai kibaki’s PNU party. Apart from helping Kibaki win the presidency, he was instrumental in strategizing on Kibaki’s succession plan, which saw Uhuru trouncing Raila in 2013. In 2013 he became The National Alliance (TNA) officer in charge of strategy, a position he held until he was elected Gatundu South MP during a by-election in 2014.
    Online blogs estimate Moses Kuria’s net worth at kes700 million. The no holds barred politician is known to attend political TV talk show while obviously inebriated. He has used the F word on live TV; walked out mid interview when he felt the journalist was not asking ‘appropriate’ questions. And when it comes to making some of the most inflammatory statements, Kuria leads the pack. His net worth also means that he has the financial muscle to actually finance a presidential election as he has intimated.
    The MP made headlines when he asked charcoal and sand traders to pick machine guns from his office before going to Kitui after the county Governor Charity Ngilu imposed a ban on charcoal trade. The latter directive had led to the locals torching vehicles transporting charcoal. His demeanor does not cut the collected image of a shrewd businessman with eye for opportunities, less so in the fluid and highly competitive media industry. But that would be judging a book by its title. Mr Kuria is the investor behind FANAKA TV, which hit the news mid-May after appointing former Citizen TV presenter Terryanne Chebet as chief executive .
    Mr Kuria launched the TV channel in April 2017 as an entertainment station to provide jobs and other opportunities for young people mainly from his constituency. The founding CEO was former beauty queen and Miss Kenya 2015 Charity Mwangi, a resident of Gatundu South. Mr Kuria organized for Charity to even meet President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House just a month after FANAKA went on air, as part of plans to get the president’s buy-in into the idea.
    Mr Kuria later brought in former radio presenter Jimmy Gathu, who left recently after failing to take the entertainment model off the ground. But after a year of false starts, the station is now repositioning itself as a business content television station. And that task now lies squarely on the shoulders of Terryanne, who has lately been touring international TV stations for benchmarking.
    The station is looking at distributions on multi-platforms with a heavy presence on digital, as advertising on conventional TV shrinks. With media more and politicians getting into media business, Moses Kuria could just be taking that cue. A number of politicians own newspapers, radio and TV stations which they bank on during elections or to push their agenda. Or perhaps, it could just be his business side showing up and marks the beginning of a media business empire.
    Being an MP and close to the President, he can easily marshal advertising from counties and government departments as well as parastatals to sustain the TV station and leave him with some profit. The station is said to be recruiting fresh talent to run its programmes.

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