Stumbling blocks on Kalonzo Musyoka, Martha Karua road to key Azimio slot

OKA Principals Kalonzo Musyoka and Martha Karua consult during their rally at Kerugoya stadium in Kirinyaga on January 30, 2022. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

William Ruto has set a very high bar for deputy presidents to be obstinate, hard-headed, persevering and unmovable no matter what. Although Dr Ruto would never want a deputy like himself, the constitutional privileges that he enjoys are admirable.

Let’s diagnose Martha Karua and Kalonzo Musyoka’s possibilities in Raila Odinga’s Azimio la Umoja. I am methodically leaving others out because these two, unless they understand the politics of the time, though ahead of the rest, are likely to lose the morsels that are closer to their mouths.

Niccolo Machiavelli in The Prince advises Lorenzo de’ Medici, the Italian statesman, thus: “He will be successful who directs his actions according to the spirit of the time and that he whose actions do not accord with the time will not be successful”.

The golden rule in politics is that unless one moves with time, they build their political career on sand. One reason Raila has survived in politics for decades is his ability to adjust accordingly, at the right time. He is not only predictably unpredictable, but he has learnt the art of leading his political friends and foes down the wrong path.

Kalonzo and Karua are benefactors of timing and could as well be politically slain if they don't understand the times. Let me dispense with Karua first and fast because I have offered her all counsel to the best of my knowledge on this space. Recently, I intimated that time and chances accord Karua two-vote blocks; Mount Kenya and women. She must direct all her actions with this in her mind.

In an article on December 3, 2021, entitled “Martha Karua could one day become Kenya's first female president”, I advised her to fix three things quickly to align herself to her political destiny. These were “shifting her political vision, revising her political approach and dissolving the iron lady in her.” I indicated that “the last is non-negotiable.” So, what’s the way forward?

Political heavens

The Azimio political engine must be taking its time to study the iron lady. She must prove to them that she is no longer unpredictable, that she won't resign when things get worse—that she will withstand the turmoil and tumults without resorting to defending her person to the nation's detriment.

Summarily, Karua must prove to the Mount Kenya people that she can stand the political heat once she is deputy president. The one political heavens love, they rebuke!

To Kalonzo, the man holding Azimio in mud-walled custody, I say this; he who is cunning in politics endures, but feigned honesty in this dirty game loses. Notably, Kalonzo’s time of visitation to play deceitfully is gone. Instead, he has resorted to politics of the heart by giving Azimio a series of provisos if they need him in the camp.

Jackson Mandago, the outgoing governor of Uasin Gishu, hypothesises two kinds of politics; politics of the heart and the lungs. He came to conclusion after being a diehard of the UhuRuto-led Jubilee between 2013 and 2017. He was shocked to see breaking news that Uhuru and Raila had 'shook hands'. He then realised that politics of the heart (honest and loyal deals) was a mirage.

The heart is fragile, clean and holds things permanently, while the lungs are dirty air cleaners—thus, a politician should be able to take in dirt, clean it, expel the murky stuff and move on. Likewise, Kalonzo should forget past deals, broken promises and move on because politics of the heart will hurt his legacy, if any, and his political career.

Finally, considering the time and season, Raila and Azimio have slim options on Kalonzo. I think the Alfred Mutua-led Mwanzo Mpya caucus that has negotiated for a four-stooled Azimio should awake Kalonzo. Mutua's inclusion into the running mate list should sit Kalonzo for 2022 politics 101. Selah!

Dr Ndonye Is a lecturer in Communication and Media.