To understand Kalonzo's woes, just read 'Betrayal in the City'

Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka. [Samson Wire, Standard]

What a week it was for political formations choosing presidential running mates! Well, “choosing” may not be the right word.

First, it was Mathira Member of Parliament Rigathi Gachagua. Some protests began appearing in the media with a loud and clear message; “No Gachagua, No Ruto.”

Hours later, it was announced Gachagua had been “chosen” as Ruto’s running-mate. Second, the big drama around Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka continues to dominate news, way past the naming of Iron Lady, Martha Karua, as Raila Odinga’s running mate.

To set the record straight, I argued a few weeks ago in this column that the best that political parties and interested running mate candidates would have done is to allow the two leading presidential aspirants, William Ruto and Raila Odinga, a free hand in choosing their running-mates.

This would allow whoever is elected president time to implement the promised manifestos without worrying about what mischief the deputy would be up to.

I am not sure the running mates were not imposed on the presidential candidates, much as they are familiar to their would-be bosses.

Interestingly, the common denominator was the Mountain region. Either you appease the Mountain or the presidency slips away.

Both leading presidential candidates bowed to the common denominator for favourable arithmetic outcomes. Talk of Moses going to the mountain if the mountain does go to Moses.

In a very befitting professorial gesture, Kithure Kindiki threw in the towel with dignity. He not only wished his UDA party leader and his running mate well, he went further to promise his unwavering support during the campaigns.

Prof Kindiki did not throw tantrums, call people names or take the opportunity to rally his tribe against his party. It was a very decent political behaviour, I must say. I, however, doubt he was amused by the turn of events.

To understand the exit of Mr Musyoka from Azimio, one will have to read Francis Imbuga’s classic literally work ‘Betrayal in the City’. 

The drama begins with mourning and ends in suffering. There are clear parallels between the way the drama unfolds and the way Musyoka has run his script in Azimio. He gave “unconditional” support “one more time” to Baba but insisted “there can only be one choice.”

Musyoka unsuccessfully dangled the approximately 1.7 million Kamba votes as his bargaining power.

Logically, the Azimio strategists must have figured out that it is highly unlikely that his going it solo to the ballot as presidential candidate will take away all the 1.7 million votes.

The commitment of governors Charity Ngilu and Kivutha Kibwana to Azimio will significantly take a chunk of the vote from Kalonzo.

The pluses and minuses can be managed, it seems. The emerging presidential formations promise fireworks, as the electioneering starts proper. One consolation is that the character distinction between the two camps is unmistakable.

It is political reformists verses political careerists. There is plenty for the voter to ponder about and a rich menu to choose from. With all due respect to the “also runs”, the two-horse race provides Kenyans with a serious test on what kind of country we want to have post the August 9 election.

Both candidates have completely different worldviews. I think this is very good for voters so that we can have clear options to choose from. We have enough time to scrutinise the promised manifestos and decide which side to vote for.

Dr Mokua is Executive Director, Loyola Centre for Media and Communication