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Mystery role of Kalonzo in Uhuru’s China trip

By Moses Nyamori | Published Tue, September 4th 2018 at 10:29, Updated September 4th 2018 at 12:20 GMT +3

Former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka at a past function. (File, Standard)

Former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka is part of the high ranking delegation in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s trip to China, raising questions over his role in the summit.

Monday, Kalonzo was reportedly alongside Cabinet Secretaries pitching for Kenya in the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit in what seems to be an extension of the rapprochement between Uhuru and Opposition leader Raila Odinga.

A highly placed source in the China delegation told The Standard that Kalonzo was booked in the same hotel with President Uhuru, pointing to his significant role in the two-day meeting that kicked off Monday.

The source said all his logistics and accommodation were reportedly handled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in what confirmed that the Wiper Party leader was attending the summit with the fully blessings of State House.

Efforts to get clarification from the ministry, however, bore no fruits as our calls were not returned.

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“Kalonzo is part of the President’s official delegation to this summit. He is currently in a meeting attended by Uhuru and Cabinet Secretaries who accompanied him to this summit,” said the source.

Kalonzo is honorary chairman of the World Eminent Chinese Businessmen Association and it is unclear whether it is through this role that he is in the president's delegation.

Wiper Executive Director Jared Siso confirmed that Kalonzo flew out of the country on Saturday and would be back on Thursday but declined to comment on his foreign engagement in China.

“I can tell you that our party leader is out of the country and is expected back on Thursday. That is all I say,” said Dr. Siso.

He later stated that President Uhuru has the latitude to pick whoever he wishes to accompany him in his official engagements, asserting Kalonzo's diplomatic front.

“Kalonzo has served this country as a vice-president and is known for his diplomacy, so it is in order if indeed he is in the official team. President Uhuru also has the latitude to decide on people to accompany him in his official trips,” said Dr Siso.

Details of Uhuru-Raila deal have remained scanty but the latest development, including Raila's recent trip to South Sudan to broker a deal between the warring political camps in the country, have pointed to behind-the-scenes implementation of the pact.

Of the four NASA co-principals, Kalonzo has publicly declared his support for the March 9 handshake and even offered to mediate between Raila and Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetangúla, who has fallen out with Raila over the deal.

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