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Storms gather in G7 as Kalonzo ally pays price for utterances

BUSINESS
By | February 17th 2012

By Martin Mutua

[Deputy News Editor]

Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka appears to have been edged out of the G7 Alliance that grouped him with Deputy Prime Minister, Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP, William Ruto.

Some of the 50 MPs allied to Eldoret North MP William Ruto and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta after the meeting on Thursday at a Nairobi hotel. Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka was glaringly absent. [Photo: Jenipher Wachie/Standard]

During a meeting Thursday presided over by Uhuru and Ruto, and attended by over 50 MPs, it was resolved that the time had now come for the two International Criminal Court suspects to soldier on without the VP.

It was significant that apart from Kiema Kilonzo and his Yatta counterpart Charles Kilonzo, neither VP nor any other MP from his Wiper Democratic Party attended the lunchtime meeting at the Sagret Hotel, Nairobi.

Sources at the meeting later told The Standard that Uhuru and Ruto deliberately kept Kalonzo and his group out by ensuring they were not invited to the meeting. Conspicuously present at the meeting was Mandera Central MP Abdikadir Mohamed who has not been party to the G7 Alliance meetings.

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He was the one who was paraded to the Press after the meeting, ostensibly to camouflage the political fireworks that had taken place inside the hotel room, to brief journalists on matters to do with Bills in Parliament, which the group is said to have resolved to support.

Marshaling the numbers

But, on the other hand, the Uhuru and Ruto camps threw out embattled Kangundo MP Johnstone Muthama from the position of co-ordinator of events for the G7 Alliance together with his deputy Ndaragwa MP, Jeremiah Kioni.

Muthama and Kioni have been conveners and co-ordinators of events and rallies for the group by marshaling the numbers, among other duties.

Kioni, on the other hand, has attracted Uhuru and Ruto’s ire for claiming that the two were shopping for an alternative candidate in the event that the two were tried at The Hague.

Interestingly, Muthama is the PNU Chief Whip, and Kioni is his deputy in Parliament. Their chances of retaining the two positions are dim. It is a matter of time before PNU seeks replacement for the two in Parliament, a source at the Sagret meeting told The Standard.

Sources also disclosed that a committee of three members – Assistant Minister, Cecily Mbarire, Isiolo South MP, Abdul Bahari, and Mosop MP, David Koech – were appointed to take over Muthama and Kioni’s duties for the G7 Alliance.

"These three will be responsible for calling our meetings and also organising and marshaling numbers for all our events, including prayer rallies we shall be holding from now on," added another MP, who preferred not to be named.

The difference between Kalonzo on one side, and Uhuru and Ruto on the other, was triggered by a rally last weekend in which the VP hosted his colleagues in the alliance in Machakos.

Those in the Uhuru camp are said to have been unhappy with Kalonzo over pronouncements that were made in the Kamba language to their faces, although they did not immediately understand what was said.

Impeccable sources had told The Standard the two were reviewing their partnership with the VP following the comments that appeared to suggest the VP’s allies are hoping he could benefit if Uhuru and Ruto were to stand trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague for crimes against humanity.

The comments by Muthama, a staunch Kalonzo ally, raised hackles in the Uhuru Ruto camps, leading to yesterday’s developments.

MPs backing the two ICC suspects believe the comments suggested that the VP stands to gain if Uhuru and Ruto were committed to stand trial at The Hague.

They are also unhappy with Kalonzo over remarks attributed to Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo, a member of VP’s Wiper Democratic party that they cannot run for president, as long as they still have cases at the ICC.

However, two Wiper MPs came to the defence of Mutula, saying they would battle any attempt to have the Justice minister fired or censured by the Uhuru-Ruto group.

Machakos Town MP Victor Munyaka and his Masinga counterpart Itwiku Mbai dared President Kibaki and the Vice-President to sack Mutula.

"Sacking Mutula will be done over our dead bodies," said the MPs.

Munyaka slammed some G7 Alliance leaders for allegedly pushing Musyoka to sack Mutula, terming their demands political blackmail.

"We have seen instances at prayers and political rallies where the stage is set to have Kalonzo disown Mutula publicly. This is not politically prudent," added Munyaka.

Presidential ambitions

He said Mutula had expressed his personal opinion on the fate of Ruto and Uhuru, especially on their presidential ambitions and holding of public offices.

Munyaka said that Kalonzo and his Wiper party have also come out in public and termed the remarks by Mutula as personal, and not those of the party.

"That’s why I find it ridiculous for some G7 leaders to continue insinuating that Kalonzo is unwilling to let go of Mutula. Mutula is not a member of the Alliance," said Munyaka.

Yesterday, Munyaka and Mbai who spoke to The Standard at Parliament Buildings alleged there was a plot to discredit Kalonzo in the G7 Alliance so as to shove him out of the Cabinet.

Cherangany MP Joshua Kuttuny and his Dujis counterpart Aden Dualle have alleged that Kalonzo has failed to take action on Mutula yet Raila and President Kibaki acted on Ruto and former Justice Minister Martha Karua.

The two MPs alleged that Mutula’s outbursts had the blessings of Kalonzo.

But yesterday, Munyaka and Mbai said Kalonzo must not be forced to carry Mutula’s political responsibility and should only carry his own cross.

Mbai said no alliance could survive on mistrust, suspicion and backstabbing.

Munyaka hit out at Water Minister Charity Ngilu and Mutito MP Kiema Kilonzo for allegedly engaging in a smear campaign against the VP and MPs allied to him.

"If the two think that they are spoiling for Kalonzo in Ukambani, they would be in for a shock," said Munyaka.

He said the attacks on Kalonzo by the two leaders from Kitui County were misplaced.

"Ngilu has even on many occasions refused to shake Kalonzo’s hand in public. I do not expect her to speak anything good about the VP," said Munyaka.

The two MPs said any move to censure Mutula would be defeated in Parliament.

Munyaka and Mbai said Mutula had simply interpreted the law based on his understanding, as the Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister.

Mutula has said Uhuru and Ruto must not be allowed to run for president until the ICC clears them of charges that they were key perpetrators of crimes against humanity during the 2008 post-election violence.

Additional reporting by Mutinda Mwanzia and Vitalis Kimutai

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