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Questions that haunt Kalonzo, his party

By | March 1st 2009

By Athman Amran

Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka’s chances of being elected president in 2012 may, among other things, depend on the interpretation of his decision to enter a coalition with President Kibaki.

The agreement was signed amid post-election violence and a time there was national and international condemnation of the 2007 disputed presidential polls.

While nominated MP Mohamed Affey (ODM-K) believes Kalonzo saved the country from further bloodshed, Tourism Minister Najib Balala feels the alliance was premeditated. Balala says Kalonzo’s move was orchestrated the moment he parted ways with Prime Minister Raila Odinga before the 2007 General Election.

"It was an ego issue. Politics is also about opportunities and Kalonzo saw an opportunity for himself. If there was honesty in politics this country could be very far in development," Balala says.

He argues Kalonzo might be faced with a different scenario in 2012. "There is no telling which party might ally with which party or which party might face divisions," Balala adds.

Those in ODM view Kalonzo as a traitor but Affey dismisses this tag.

Presidential ambitions

"He wanted to be President, but when he lost and realised the country was burning he made the choice of ensuring stability by joining the weaker Party of National Unity of President Kibaki," Affey says.

He says by 2012, Kenyans would have realised who was a peacemaker when the country was on the precipice. Kibwezi MP Philip Kaloki argues that the tag is misplaced.

"As the Vice-President in a Grand Coalition Government, Kenyans have had an opportunity to know him better and compare him with other leaders," Kaloki argues.

While the focus is on President Kibaki and Raila whenever scandals pop up, Kalonzo has been relatively safe. The VP’s position, some MPs argue, has also enabled him to traverse the country and be closer to the people.

Kaloki believes Kenyans no longer hold a negative perception of the VP.

"The Vice-President seems to be getting acceptance in other regions like Central Province, the Rift Valley and even at the Coast Province," he says.

Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo says it is too early to assess the VPs chances.

"Considering the aspect of alliances and possible political regroupings towards 2012, things can change a lot. It would only be possible to predict when it would be about three months to the 2012 General Election," he says.

Nominated MP Shakila Abdalla believes Kalonzo will be judged based on his leadership qualities.

"Kenyans cannot forget that Kalonzo began the process which led to the Grand Coalition Government, which in turn ensured peace and stability," Shakila argues.

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