Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana has given every indication that he will throw his hat in the ring for the 2022 presidential elections.
Prof Kibwana who has already begun jostling for space in Ukambani regional politics said he wanted to retire from public service but his support base has told him to suspend his thoughts.
Lately, the governor, known for his simplicity and calm demeanour, has been releasing well-calculated doses of stinging criticism directed at his party leader Kalonzo Musyoka in a move seen as having the potential of breaking the Wiper party and curtailing Kalonzo’s chances at the presidency.
Last Monday, Kibwana (pictured) took on Kalonzo, urging him to welcome competition, embrace rivals and rein in his MPs.
Later on in Nziu on Jamhuri Day, Kibwana reiterated his resolve against Kalonzo saying nobody will coerce him into supporting the Wiper leader.
“I might be a small person but they should not provoke me... You know me from my youth and even during Moi’s regime when I was a small person and I would stand for what was right even when it meant facing death. Today, at 64, I am a bit senior and they should not expect me to change,” the governor said.
In an exclusive interview after the two pronouncements, Kibwana claimed he was not spoiling for a fight but also revealed his cards on 2022. “I wanted to retire but the people told me that I am the one who has been teaching them the importance of public participation. They have said that even that decision they will have to weigh in. I am waiting on them,” Kibwana told the Sunday Standard.
Though he started on a turbulent start – standoff with Members of County Assembly that necessitated a Presidential Commission of Inquiry – he pulled through his first term.
Self-effacing and easy to mingle with, the unassuming former Muungano leader is quite the schemer beneath. The first Makueni County Assembly knows this better after he sent all the MCAs packing when they became a bother to his administration.
And now serving his second and last term as governor, and propelled by positive ratings, the man appears to be on a roll. He can choose to completely retire, go back to the academia or civil society, work with the national government bureaucracy or pursue higher political ambitions.
“I will be guided by the people in making this decision. It may be too early at this point to say which way but I am certain that I will go by the wishes of my people,” Kibwana said.
His Monday statement was quite a shocker in Wiper circles which took it as the most serious affront to their top leadership.
The Wiper brigade has dared Kibwana to relinquish his potion as Wiper chairman.
Kitui Central MP Makali Muli cautioned him to tread carefully.