Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka says he will not shelve his presidential ambitions for Deputy President William Ruto or opposition chief Raila Odinga.
Kalonzo, who is confident he will be on the ballot on August 9, spoke in Yatta, Machakos County yesterday, where he was anointed by clergy from the Lower Eastern region to run for the presidency.
His declaration torpedoed reports that he was poised to join Raila’s Azimio la Umoja movement.
In the last two elections, Raila and Kalonzo ran on a joint ticket. Yesterday, bishops from different churches in the region urged Kalonzo to go out and seek votes across the country. They also urged the Kamba community to rally behind the Wiper leader.
They asked Kalonzo to start by bringing to his fold key leaders from Ukambani who had defected from his camp such as former Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama and Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana.
“We are giving you a command to go for the top seat. There is no more joking. Go and reach out to the people of Kenya. Even the One Kenya Alliance (OKA) should listen and obey you,” said Bishop Nicholas Ikui of ATG church.
The speakers described Kalonzo as a man of peace who will unite the country and grow the economy. And when he rose up to address the congregating at his Yatta farm, Kalonzo did not mince words. “I’m running for president,” he said.
“The time to end the culture of corruption and political deceit has come. I am running for president, fellow Kenyans because I am one of you. I am running for president because I have seen what corruption and mismanagement can bring to a nation,” he continued.
Describing himself as the most qualified to take over from President Uhuru Kenyatta due to his experience in government and as a peacemaker, Kalonzo said he will unite Kenyans.
The Wiper leader dismissed Raila and Ruto as protagonists who, if not checked, would tear the country apart.
“The post-election violence that killed so many Kenyans was instigated by political players who are still active today. I urge Kenyans to give me an opportunity to put this country together,” Kalonzo said.
The former Vice-President said his forays across the country would start today (Sunday) with tours in Meru County.
Kalonzo said he had worked for peace not only in Kenya but also in Southern Sudan, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“I want to bite the bullet on behalf of this nation. The 5th president will be anointed by God,” he said and dismissed the notion that this year’s contest was a two-horse race.
Kalonzo, who is currently facing political heat from governors Kibwana (Makueni), Alfred Mutua (Machakos) and Charity Ngilu of Kitui, regretted helping the three leaders to clinch power only to betray him.
“We want to sweep all seats in Ukambani but we will never repeat the mistake we did in the past giving support to people not loyal to the party,” he said.
However, he said he was ready to mend fences with Kibwana ahead of August 9.
Kalonzo is facing a new headache on governors’ races in Ukambani, where Wiper wants to apply negotiated democracy by using clergy and professionals.
“Don’t involve me in your fights. I want to suggest with the assistance of professionals and clergy that we use dialogue before going into nominations. This is because we want to sweep all seats in this region,” said Kalonzo.
In three Ukambani counties, various Kalonzo allies locked in battle for the governor positions, especially in Machakos and Makueni, where the county chiefs have served two terms.
In Makueni, Prof Philip Kaloki (former Kibwezi MP) is battling for governorship with Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr and Woman Rep Rose Museo. Prof Kaloki and Mutula Jnr have been in bitter fights with the latter claiming to have been loyal to the party leader compared to the former MP. In addition, Mutula Jnr has been rejecting facing Kaloki in the primaries.
In Machakos County, Wavinya Ndeti is facing Patrick Makau (Mavoko MP), and Florence Mwangangi who is Machakos County Assembly speaker. In Kitui, Governor Ngilu is seeking re-election against Julius Malombe (former governor) and David Musila (former senator) and Kiema Kilonzo.
Ngilu and Malombe come from the same location in Kitui Central while Musila hails from Mwingi West.
And even as he insisted his march to State House was unstoppable, Kalonzo said the One Kenya Alliance was intact. He allayed fears that ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi was moving away from the alliance after missing their Naivasha retreat.
The Wiper leader said he was open to dialogue with other like minded leaders, but insisted all cards must be placed on the table. The presence of businessman Jimi Wanjigi at the event fuelled speculation that the tycoon backed Kalonzo’s presidential ambition.
Kalonzo told Wanjigi, who belongs to ODM, to join OKA. Wanjigi has challenged Raila for the ODM presidential ticket.
Wanjigi said he had experience in “forming governments” and blamed Raila for joining the government through the handshake without his NASA colleagues.
“Raila is my friend. I know him for many years but the person I see on TV nowadays is not him. Something has come over him,” he said, praising Kalonzo as a true leader who can transform the country.