DP Gachagua snubs CS Kuria soccer tournament adding to speculations

Rigathi Gachagua in Embu

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua during a past event.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The poor turnout of Mt Kenya leaders at the inaugural Moses Kuria peace soccer tournament has lifted the lid on simmering tension in the region.

This was after it emerged that Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, despite being the chief guest, pulled a fast on the Cabinet Secretary for Public Service Mose Kuria just hours before the start of the event.

More telling was the absence of all eleven governors and the majority of MPs from the 66 constituencies.

Inside sources familiar with the political intrigues unfolding in the region confided with the Sunday Nation that on Friday, the DP had confirmed his trip to Laikipia County, bringing with him a host of politicians and top government officials to attend the burial of the late diplomat and former State House Comptroller Lawrence Lenayapa.

On Saturday morning, the DP reportedly informed Mr Kuria that he would not be attending the tournament at Kinoru Stadium in Meru County. 

“I bring greetings from the DP who could not attend,” the CS informed the tournament attendees after a football match between Kieni and Imenti North teams.

Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria.

Public Service Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Without elaborating, he went on to convey the apologies of former Agriculture CS Peter Munya, who is also the PNU leader.

However, Mr Kuria was accompanied by Rahim Dawood (Imenti North), Embu MP Njoke Njeri and Mbeere South MP Benard Muriuki, while Kieni MP Njoroge Wainaina sent his apologies as he was out of the country

According to Mr Kuria, the tournament is aimed at mentoring young people, promoting talent through local teams and campaigning against drug abuse.

“It started as a dream and it has become a reality. The games will be played up to group 16, then quarter and finals will be on June 2 at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru county,” said Mr Kuria.

He continued: “These tournaments are aimed to help fight drug abuse and illicit brew which is now a national emergency in the region. It is not political and pleaded with the leaders to put politics aside.”

The CS has vowed to continue the initiative, even if it means walking alone until the youth of the region are empowered.

“It doesn’t matter how many will fight with me. President William Ruto has secured jobs abroad, others through the affordable housing project and industrial parks but games also play a key role in reforming and molding a society,” he said, urging the region to be patient with the Kenya Kwanza government.

“There is hope and we are on the right track,” he said. The MPs present also lauded Mr Kuria’s initiative, saying it is a personal venture and his ministry is not involved.

Sources told the Sunday Nation that most of the MPs who were expected to attend the event were also mobilised by a top Kenya Kwanza politician not to attend.

Political play

According to our sources, the attendance of many MPs at the event organised by Mr Kuria would give the CS a political advantage in the region compared to Deputy President, thus undermining the efforts made by Mr Gachagua in the fight against alcoholism in the region.

Those in the DP camp opine that while the theme of the tournament is okay, they believe its main agenda is for Mr Kuria to test his political muscle with the DP and he is likely to take all the focus during the event as it is being organised by his foundation hence all the MPs are likely to heap praise on him.

Mr Kuria has been making statements of late that have left political pundits scratching their heads as to what he is up to.

Last week, the CS made demands on the National Dialogue Committee, which was set up for a political truce between President William Ruto and opposition leader Raila Odinga.
In his demands, Mr Kuria told the NADCO team led by Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and National Assembly X account.

He cancelled his much-publicised press conference in which he had promised to give his views on the report.

Majority Leader Kimani Ichung'wah that they should clearly and specifically state how they will deal with the issue of the two-thirds gender rule, the guarantee of minimum returns and the one man one shilling formula in the distribution of resources.

“I ask the leaders to take back this report and tackle the three issues. No amount of sabotage will deter me,” CS Kuria posted on his X account.