Listening to Governor Mwangi Wa Iria quote William Hazlitts eternal quote; “….The only vice that can’t be forgiven is hypocrisy. The repentance of a hypocrite is itself hypocrisy…” one get’s a glimpse of this man whose bravery, mettle, no nonsense and substance has left many awed and petrified of him and his persona. As he routinely repeats; “….You wear a mask and your face grows to fit it. Thats what hypocrisy is. And I abhor it….” Wa iria minces his words not. And as a Kikuyu idiom says; “…Kìrìra Nì Ùra Thoni..” [Wisdom has no shame], Wa Iria talks his mind in the most blunt of manner. Unafraid to stir waters or ruffle feathers. For as he says; “…Truth is the best defense to speech….”
Wa Iria has refused political contamination by abstaining from aligning himself with the several of the existing political formations. This has left him on the surest path to greatness as none can accuse or question his independence. Wa Iria realized that most of these formations are vague in ideology, meaning and objectives. This dare devil trait has led him to form Civic Renewal Party, which he says is the Party of the future. This is likened to what his fellow constituent, friend and political mentor Matiba did in the 90s. So the student has come of age and is ranging like a flooded river during a storm. Ready to take and subdue the future.
Wa Iria has refused to budge even in middle of harsh political environment. He has exhibited his cool in the middle of storms unimaginable. He has always strode through these storms like a colossus. With family, loyal foot soldiers and supporters as his only consolation. He has faced it all that one fears to face; three arrests, humiliation and indignation. Iria has seen it all. He has been accused, faced trial and triumphed! But he still soldiers on. Aware that the ultimate prize has a price tag whose cost is huge. He remains undeterred, unfaltered or unperturbed. For as he says; “…To quit is to invite more misery, to persevere is to be prepared for victory however long takes…..”
Wa Iria has been treated like a commoner in the face of a contest by his own Party. But amidst all this he made history by being the only Governor to be re-elected in the former Central Province. Wa iria is the kind of a leader his adversaries need to fear to damnation. He is a suave and smart politician whose utilization of the Tao of Paradox strategy is unparalled.
Wa Iria’s mettle and resolve are unbreakable. He has proven time and again that he is unafraid to go against the grain or to scale uncharted waters. He has challenged the status quo in ways unseen. Inviting persecution in its wake. He has invented a new algebra by demanding for that he considers right. He has demanded for resource benefits sharing as the rest cower, he has legislated for hawkers rights as the rest keep a distance, he rethought avocado farming as the rest were still in slumber, he has recalibrated the milk sector in his own county, his land policy prompted CJ Maraga to make Murang’a the pilot County amongst many other radical programmes. His programmes and policies have been cited as “..Hallmarks of unadulterated ingenuity and livelihoods change agents in a devolved governance setup…”
Though straight shooting, his flow of logic remains unmatched. Even when anger seems to capture him, his reasoning capacity, grasp and pragmatism still remains A+. This illegibility worries those to whom his anger is directed to even more. Few can be able to balance anger and logic. But he pulls it off so easily many are left with mouths agape. His spirit of forgiving is also unmatched just as it is confusing. Many are times he has fallen out with people but to the amazement of many, he ends up closing ranks. For he says; “….A fool never extends an olive branch. And I’m neither a fool nor intend to be one…..” Some think he is a paradox. Others think he is illegible.
He is a man who has not fired any of his Officers since 2013. He has never laid blame on his Officers to escape scrutiny or justice. He has never paraded his Officers accusing them of corruption falsely to gain political mileage or popularity. As he says; “…I comprehend fully that in corporate governance, who you fire is more important than who you hire BUT I also recognize the power there is in giving second chances and rehabilitation. I take full responsibility of the team I lead and the vehicle I steer. That’s what leadership is all about; helping learn, rectify and be better. That’s how you create a fail safe system as structures are run on trust you entrust upon your people….”
The Del Monte land Lease issue that is slowly capturing the imagination of the nation and the world has pundits saying it is his biggest test as a Governor. Wa Iria maintains the interests of Murang’a populace come first. And that will be the guiding letter and spirit if and when any decision is to be made. Many await this precedence to copy from the best! He also lists the water issue just as crucial.
The story of Wa Iria is long and varied. But what stands out is the fact he is a package. Of bravery, mettle, no nonsense and substance.
Simon Mwangi is a Communications Expert and comments on topical issues