Kiraitu Murungi is a well-known figure in the political scenes. He has had his own fair share of woes in the country, even before joining politics.
During the regime of the late former President Daniel Arap Moi, he was exiled from the country.
He was also not on very good terms with the government upon his return as he was one of the people who fought for multi-party democracy.
Kiraitu is one of Kenya’s longest-serving politicians. He served as Member of Parliament from 1992 to 2013 and is currently serving as the governor of Meru county.
The governor is among the politicians in Kenya who have had an encounter with Covid-19 and lived to tell the tale. He was among the first people to take the AstraZeneca vaccine but this did not protect him from suffering the effects of Covid-19. He has explained his encounter from how weak the effects left him to how he thought he was going to die. The seasoned politician prayed that God would preserve him until he reached 2022 and was 70-years-old. He says he owes his life to God and this experience has changed his view of life. He promised to pursue things that bring him joy and not put much stock in what people say.
“From now on, I would follow the desires of my heart. I would ignore all the noise, the psychological burdens of friendship and idiocies of politics,” he was quoted by The Star.
“I promised myself to pursue my dreams without seeking approval from anybody.
I thank Corona for helping me to find myself and to liberate me from ‘others’,”; he concluded.
The politician was born on 1st January 1952 in Meru to Daniel M’Mwarania and Anjelika Kiajia.
He attended Kionyo Primary School before joining Chuka High School and finally completing his high school education at Alliance.
In 1977, he left The University of Nairobi with a Bachelor of Law degree. He then proceeded to do a Master of Law in the same University.
During the reign of Daniel Arap Moi, he was exiled and lived in the UK for two years. While there, he attained another Master of Law degree from the Harvard School of Law.
For ten years, Murungi practiced law. He was a partner in a law firm alongside Gibson Kamau Kuria and Aaron Ringera. One of his well-known cases was when he represented political prisoners during the Moi regime. He defended them against the government.
After he came back from exile, Murungi joined the fight for multi-party democracy.
In 1991, he became a member of the then-new party Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (FORD). This was after Kenya had gone back to multi-party.
In 1992, the first multi-party elections were conducted. He was elected to Parliament under the FORD party ticket and became the Member of Parliament for South Imenti constituency, Meru.
In 1997, he retained the seat after the general elections.
He also worked as Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs and as shadow Attorney General.
In 2002, under the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC), he won the Imenti South parliamentary ticket.
In 2005, he was appointed Minister of Energy.
In 2007, he once again won the parliamentary seat, this time under the Party of National Unity (PNU).
He joined the Alliance Party of Kenya (APK) before the 2013 general elections and successfully vied for the Meru senatorial seat.
In 2017, he beat Peter Munya and won the gubernatorial seat under the Jubilee Coalition. Thus, he became the second governor of the county under the new Constitution.
The Meru governor was at one point accused of covering the Anglo Leasing scandal. On 8th February 2006, BBC world service aired a conversation between him and John Githongo, former permanent secretary of Governance and Ethics. He appeared to be coercing the latter to drop his investigations concerning the scandal. He initially refused to resign from his position as cabinet secretary following these corruption allegations by maintaining that he was innocent. However, days later, former President Mwai Kibaki announced Murungi’s resignation.
In November, the same year, the president reinstated him as Minister of Energy.