Raila: Kalonzo is fit for 2027 State House challenge

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka with Azimio Leaders Raila Odinga attend the burial of Mzee Willy Muasya at Kasaala, Ikutha, Kitui County. [Dennis Kavisu, Standard]

The Azimio coalition yesterday sent out the clearest indication yet that it is likely to field the Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka as its presidential candidate in its bid to dislodge President William Ruto from power.

Speaking yesterday in Kitui County, the Azimio principals among them ODM leader Raila Odinga, Eugene Wamalwa of DAP and George Wajackoya of Roots party of Kenya indicated that there was nothing wrong with handing Wiper leader, Kalonzo Musyoka the ticket.

And in what sounded like a reorganisation of the presidential ticket within the Azimio family in favor of Kalonzo, the leaders who spoke at Ikutha in Kitui County during the burial of Willy Muasya, a brother-in-law to Kalonzo also sent out another indication that the Wiper party leader might find favour with the coalition to fly its presidential flag in 2027.

When he stood to speak, Odinga excited the mourners with his pronouncement which supported Kalonzo’s candidature. The ODM leader said that the Kenya Kwanza leaders were waiting to see a separation between him and the former vice president, stating that the coalition would hold firmly together to bring an alternative leadership in the country.

“Myself and Kalonzo have worked together for long. When the time comes we shall agree. If Kalonzo is the candidate, where is the problem?” Odinga posed as the crowd cheered in approval.

The opposition supremo continued: “I have not said Kalonzo cannot be the candidate. He has supported me before and I can also support him, let Kenyans be patient, as Azimio we know what we are doing.”

On his part, Kalonzo reiterated his colleagues’ position about the Azimio coalition remaining united and alluded to the fact that the coalition would be relying on Odinga’s mobilising power to compete against President Ruto.

“Azimio team is intact, because we know if we are not together, Kenyans will suffer more. This journey has not come to an end and we thank God Raila is still strong,” Kalonzo said.

The stage for the Kalonzo candidature was set by Wamalwa who acknowledged the former Vice President’s support for Odinga in the last three presidential elections, saying that the ODM leader would have no difficult throwing his weight behind the former vice president.

Speaking in a mix of Kiswahili and English, Wamalwa stated that Azimio remains strongly united adding that the Wiper leader holds a special place in the Azimio family and when time is right, the coalition will reward him politically.

“Our brother Kalonzo holds a very special place in the Azimio family. He has supported Raila three times and we are telling him subira huvuta heri … mvumilivu hula mbivu (patience pays). Nyinyi mnanielewa (do you understand me?” Wamalwa said. He added that things were looking up for the coalition’s future.

The opposition leaders at the same time insisted that they would remain united ahead of 2027 presidential election, shrugging off recent claims that the coalition was on the verge of collapse as the major political parties in Azimio appeared ready to field presidential candidates.

The Wiper leader stated that the Azimio’s onslaught against the government will not relax, saying once the parliament resumes, Azimio MPs will be whipped to prioritise the reconstitution of the IEBC in preparation for 2027 elections. The leaders warned president Ruto against unilaterally constituting the IEBC, saying such a move will be rejected.

“We are telling Ruto, ‘don’t cross that line,” Wamalwa said.

On speculation that the opposition coalition was headed for a collapse as each party with the umbrella seemed to be recruiting and popularising on their own, the leaders explained that their strategy was to make the coalition stronger.

“Individual parties within Azimio are free to move across the country and recruit members. That is not to say the coalition is collapsing, parties in Azimio must be strengthened so that Azimio gets stronger,” Odinga said while relaying condolence messages from the former president Uhuru Kenyatta and Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua.

The opposition leader stated Ruto’s administration had reneged on its promise of addressing the welfare of low income Kenyans such as bodaboda, mama mbogas and juakali sector and instead had resorted to punishing them with unjustifiable taxes.

“Kenyans are not seeing the fruits of the taxes being collected from them which seems to go into a bottomless pit. We had said that the donkey was tired but now the donkey has collapsed,” he said.  

Echoing Odinga’s sentiments, Wamalwa noted that Kenyans were suffering due to bad policies by the Kenya Kwanza administration, and pointed out that Kenyans only hope lied in the Azimio coalition.

“Azimio remains united. Azimio remains more resolved and more focused to rid Kenya of Zakayo and his overburdening taxes. That is our sacred duty,” stated Wamalwa, referring to the president by a moniker he has earned due to his admiration’s penchant for taxes.

Lately, there have been speculation that the Azimio coalition would not hold together until the next elections, with feelings of betrayal especially when it started emerging that Odinga would still give the presidency another shot in 2027.

Those in Kalonzo’s circle among them Kitui senator Enoch Wambua and Makueni governor Mutula Kilonzo Jnr have openly said that supporters of the opposition coalition were now fatigued by Odinga’s candidature and would embrace “a new look” Azimio if the coalition was to win Kenyans’ hearts and support for 2027.

Yesterday, the two leaders firmly rooted for a Kalonzo’s candidature saying that a Kalonzo ticket would give Kenyans hope for the future. Mutula Jnr prevailed on the coalition to declare its candidate early enough.

“If Azimio is to give Kenyans hope for the future, we need to have a presidential ticket now and even if you search and keep searching, you will not get a better candidate than Kalonzo,” the governor said, sentiments which were quickly echoed by Senator Wambua. 

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