Kalonzo Musyoka attends Mashujaa Day fete presided over by President Ruto

From left; Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale, outgoing Energy CS Monica Juma and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka during Mashujaa Day celebrations at Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi on October 20, 2022 [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka on Thursday, October 20 attended the 59th Mashujaa Day celebrations at Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi.

Kalonzo, a key principal in the Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya coalition, was the most notable opposition figure at the function largely avoided by leaders affiliated to the political outfit.

Raila Odinga, the leader of Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya, is currently out of the country for a week-long tour of India.

During his arrival on Thursday mid-morning, President William Ruto greeted Musyoka, who was among those at the VIPs' section.

Musyoka was seated next to the outgoing Energy Cabinet Secretary (CS) Dr. Monica Juma, who has since been appointed as the National Security Advisor in President Ruto's government.

The Standard reached Kalonzo Musyoka's communications representative Dennis Kavisu for comment, but was yet to respond by the time of publishing this story.

During the campaigns, in the run-up to August 9, 2022 presidential election, Ruto unsuccessfully attempted to woo Musyoka to his side.

Musyoka is regarded as the Ukambani kingpin, who guarantees a large voting bloc if he sides with a formidable political outfit.

The Wiper Party leader, who was eyeing the deputy president's seat under Raila Odinga, was on the record saying that it would be a tall order for Odinga to defeat Ruto if he (Odinga) picked another person besides him for the running mate position.

Odinga, nonetheless, went ahead to pick Narc-Kenya Party leader and former Gichugu MP Martha Karua as his running mate, marking a period of mixed reactions by Musyoka.

Musyoka would, nonetheless, commit to working with Odinga, whom he termed a statesman "best suited to lead Kenya as the fifth president".

There has been speculation in some quarters that Musyoka could be open to working with President Ruto's administration, claims that he's yet to formally deny or confirm.

Meanwhile, he maintains that he's firmly in Azimio la Umoja and will continue keeping President Ruto's government in check.

When Ruto addressed the Bicameral Parliament on September 30, Musyoka was among those who criticised the president's speech.

"President Ruto's speech failed to address the pertinent issues of our economy and the national standard of living. It is now our duty to remind them of their campaign promises. The first campaign promise by the Ruto administration was lowering the cost of living. From Day One, all costs associated with basic living have gone up," Musyoka said on September 30.

During the same address made in Nairobi, Musyoka also criticised President Ruto's Cabinet line-up.

"The selection of the Cabinet Secretaries, some of whom have active criminal cases, is questionable. What are you asking our parliamentarians to do? If I was William Ruto, I would withdraw some of these nominations to avoid national shame, and even international shame," said Musyoka.

Meanwhile, Azimio's chief principal Raila Odinga is yet to make a public statement since the announcement of his week-long trip to India.

Odinga's last post on social media, was on October 16 when he said: "Baba has left the country for a week's visit to several nations starting with India; see you all when I'm back. Meanwhile, can William Ruto and Kenya Kwanza stop it with the lamentations?"