The decision by NASA co-principal Kalonzo Musyoka to skip Raila Odinga's swearing-in has angered some influential groups in his Ukambani backyard.
Some senior politicians within Kalonzo’s Wiper party and representatives of the Ukambani national youth council yesterday expressed their disappointment at the development. The council declared "a shift of political allegiance" to Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua.
In an interview with The Standard yesterday, Wiper party national organising secretary Robert Mbui and the party’s minority whip in the Senate Mutula Kilonzo Jnr expressed shock over the failure by the former vice president to take part in Tuesday’s ceremony alongside Raila at Uhuru Park.
“Wiper has let its supporters down. I take responsibility on my part. While waiting at Hotel Intercontinental at 2pm Tuesday, I learnt (Moses) Wetang’ula, Kalonzo and Musalia were not attending.
"It was sudden and shocking,” said the Makueni senator, adding he was prepared to pay the price.
Kilonzo Jnr said Wiper supporters had the right to express their anger and disappointment at the turn of events.
He told The Standard he was caught off guard by his boss' decision and the abrupt isolation he received from his Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) colleagues at the hotel.
"ODM colleagues left the Intercontinental unceremoniously, forcing me to look for my party boss.
"I must confess that I was left numb and astounded. Needless to say, our coalition leader drove in before we could comprehend what was happeneing," he said.
Kilonzo Jnr reiterated the people who should explain what happened on Tuesday were the principals themselves.
"Ultimately, it is the principals who should explain why they kept their supporters in the dark."
He said he made the decision not to attend after taking considering all factors at play: "It was deceitful to pretend all was well. Nevertheless, the decision not to attend was mine."
Others spoke of how ODM took over the event, including preparations, and complained over some of the people involved in the swearing-in.
The content of the oath and the secrecy around it also convinced Musyoka and his group to keep off. The direct threats issued to him and his family with regard to foreign travel and international dealings also weighed him down.
And Mr Mbui, also the Kathiani MP, said, “What I found strange was that we had agreed to meet at Intercontinental Hotel at 9.30am but Wiper politicians changed base to Serena Hotel and failed to turn up for the Uhuru Park function.”
He said the Wiper party legislators felt they could not head to Uhuru Park without communication from party leader, Kalonzo.
At a press briefing held at a Machakos hotel yesterday afternoon, a caucus of Ukambani youth leaders said they were tired of Kalonzo’s "political betrayal" and had resolved to shift their support to Dr Mutua.
"We wish to declare that Kamba men and women are not watermelons. That is a Kalonzo Musyoka problem,” said Aggrey Nzomo who read out a statement to the Press.