Moses Masika Wetangula is renowned politician who serves as the speaker of the National Assembly. He is also the party leader of FORD-Kenya party which was recently marred by skirmishes, even though he survived and maintained a tight grip of the party’s mantle.
The bespectacled lawyer is eloquent and always airs his sentiments in parliament with a heavily accented but polished English. Politically, he owes his success to being calculative and has weathered tough storms that previously threatened to throw him into oblivion. This article will take a comprehensive dig on the life of Moses Wetangula.
Wetangula was born in 1956 and is currently 66 years old.
At only 8 years old, Wetangula is said to have shunned the opportunity to study at Namilama Primary School which was only a kilometer from his home. Instead, he chose to enrol at Nalondo Primary School, which was 5 kilometers away because it was sponsored by the Roman Catholic church. Perhaps this is the reason he is referred to as ‘Papa wa Roma’ in political circles.
After primary school education, he proceeded to Busakala Secondary School, Teremi High School and Friends School Kamusinga (form 5-6). He then pursued an undergraduate law degree at University of Nairobi. He held various leadership roles in the institutions he attended and took pride in active debating.
Wetangula was brought up in a quiet village called Mukhweya in Kabuchai Constituency, Bungoma County.He grew up in a humble family of 15 that was made up of four sets of twins and seven singles.
He is the brother to Nairobi gubernatorial aspirant and Westlands MP Timothy Wanyonyi.
Wetangula is married to Phyllis Wetangula and Anne Ngugi Wetangula. In 2016, he was embroiled in a domestic wrangle with the latter, a matter that saw both of them record statement at Lang’ata Police Station. The duo appeared to air dirty linen in public as they accused each other of assault.
Law and Political Career
Wetangula began serving as a lawyer in early ’80s, then working as a magistrate in Yatta, Nakuru, Kisii and Rongo. He however resigned after he got bored and ventured into private practice.
“I got bored of the routine of going to court every morning, taking pleas of drunken characters and traffick offenders. When I was in South Nyanza the bulk of work I was doing were customary divorce cases,” he intimated to Citizen TV.
After the aborted 1982 coup, Wetangula represented alleged coup plotters who had intended to dethrone then Kenyan President Daniel Moi. He was paid Ksh 30000 as legal fees.
Wetangula then manouvered his way into a camaraderie with powerful KANU government officials. Perhaps knowing the side of bread that is well-buttered, Wetangula chose to support KANU at a time when the clamour for multi-party democracy had become unstoppable. As a reward, he was nominated to parliament between 1993-1997.
In 2003, Wetangula was elected the MP for Sirisia Constituency. He also served as an assistant minister for foreign affairs. He recaptured the MP seat in 2007 general elections, and got appointed as a minister for foreign affairs. Wetangula served as the Bungoma County senator after emerging victorious in 2013 and 2017 polls. In the 2022 elections, he reclaimed his senate seat but resigned in order to contest for the Speaker of National Assembly.
The 2022 polls also confirmed Wetangula as the undisputed Bungoma kingpin after his allies dethroned rebel politicians who had decamped to DAP- Kenya party. These include: former Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati and MPs Eseli Simiyu (Tongaren) and Wafula Wamunyinyi (Kanduyi). On 8th September, 2022, Wetangula was elected as the Speaker of the National Assembly after beating his closest rival Kenneth Marende.
Held Up In Mali During a Coup
In March 2012, Wetangula was held up in Mali when rebel troops toppled the government of then President Amadou Toumani. Amid heavy crossfire and with a notice that no planes were allowed in Mali’s air space, Wetangula’s life was sailing close to the wind as he remained stranded in his hotel room.
He took to social media, breaking silence on how heavy gunfire was being witnessed in Bamako. Wetangula survived the death scare after a chartered KQ plane evacuated him 4 days later. Perhaps learning of how delicate life can be, it is an incident that he always tells while quoting the famous 3 final wishes by Alexander The Great.
“Having gunshots ringing in the air like hail stones around you is not the easiest of things,” he narrated after landing at JKIA.
The firebrand politician has been named in various scandals including the 2010 Tokyo Embassy saga where the country is said to have lost over 1 billion shillings. While serving as the foreign affairs minister, Wetangula’s integrity was put on the balance over dubious transactions which involved buying property at overvalued prices and selling at undervalued prices. The scandal is said to have been orchestrated in various countries such as Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan and Belgium.
In Tokyo, the ministry is said to have turned down an offer of land from the Japanese government, but instead opting to build premises in another place.
As the matter continued raising eyebrows, Wetangula was grilled in a heated parliamentary session that saw him resign albeit distancing himself from the allegations. He was later own abdicated.
Fake Gold Scam
In 2019, Moses Wetangula was largely mentioned in a multi-million fake gold scandal that saw the Saudi Royal lose a colossal amount of money said to be over 400 million shillings.
In a leaked phone conversation, a man with a voice similar to Moses Wetangula was heard communicating with another man with Arabic accent. Through the conversation, ‘Wetangula’ was heard mentioning other powerful government officials including the president, ODM leader Raila Odinga and Interior CS Fred Matiang’i. However, Raila Odinga, whose role was alleged to link up with President Kenyatta for ‘clearance’ of the gold distanced himself from the matter, saying that he was a whistle-blower. Odinga also abdicated Matiang’i of any involvement in the matter, revealing that his (Matiang’i’s) voice had been doctored through a fake phone call.
The infuriated Arabian man was lamenting at the delay in delivery of gold despite having paid for it. The matter saw Wetangula summoned by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations even as he termed the matter a ‘non-issue.’