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Three Ukambani governors hatch plot to upstage Kalonzo from community's negotiating table

By Jacob Ng'etich | November 25th 2018
Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu (left) and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka during his father Musyoka Mairu’s burial in Tseikuru, Kitui County. [Paul Mutua/Standard]

There is seemingly a cold war being orchestrated by the three Ukambani governors against Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka.

Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana and his Machakos counterpart Alfred Mutua on Tuesday met their Kitui colleague Charity Ngilu in her office in Kitui town in a quiet and well-guarded secret meeting, which they later claimed was meant to discuss the region’s development through the proposed South Eastern Kenya Economic Bloc (SEKEB).

According to sources however, the meeting was meant to craft a formula on how to upstage Kalonzo from the national negotiating table on behalf of the Kamba community.

Through their subtle barbs directed at Kalonzo, the three confirmed this fear.

Curiously, the governors, who later addressed the press after their closed-door meeting, said they were now ready to work with the Jubilee government for the benefit of the Kamba people.

They said the Kamba community should have the final say on who negotiates on their behalf with the national government, clearly taking a dim view of Kalonzo’s place within the Jubilee administration. “We must now focus on how to help the youth out of poverty and hopelessness. We have chosen to work with the president to realise our agenda. Our people however must decide on who should negotiate on their behalf,” Kibwana said.

Errand boy

This sentiment coming from Kibwana, himself the Wiper chairman, is seen as an affront to Kalonzo, considering that the Makueni governor was the first to fire salvos at the Wiper leader when he declared he during his father’s burial that he was ready to be President Uhuru Kenyatta’s errand boy.

Kibwana blamed Kalonzo for consulting either the community or the party leadership before making his decision, widely seen by critics as backtracking on his 2022 presidential bid.

To lend credence to rumours that the three are out to root out Kalonzo from the high table where he is lately enjoying government perks, Governor Mutua said the community needed to negotiate through the right people.

“Since independence, development is negotiated and Ukambani too must negotiate but through the right people,” he said.

Mutua has never been in good terms with Kalonzo ever since he ditched Wiper and came up with his own Maendeleo Chap Chap (MCC) party while Kibwana’s harsh criticism is said to be his way of preparing ground to exit Wiper and go back to Muungano.

On her part, Ngilu has lately enjoyed a relationship of convenience with Kalonzo but does not hesitate to blame Wiper MCAs when political heat increases in her county.

“This is the time to join efforts as leaders of Ukambani to negotiate on behalf of our people,” said Ngilu. Speculation is rife in Ukambani that the three governors plan to field gubernatorial and parliamentary candidates on their respective political parties in 2022 to compete against Wiper, in what local political pundits say is a scheme to emasculate Kalonzo and neutralise his hold on Ukambani.

Mutua and Kibwana who will not be defending their seats after the expiry of their two terms are said to be robustly shopping for their successors to run against Wiper candidates while Ngilu has indicated she will defend her seat on her Narc party.


Just like her two colleagues, Ngilu is also said to be grooming parliamentary candidates in Kitui County to battle it out with Wiper in 2022. Sources within Wiper also say Kibwana has made up his mind to relinquish his position in the party and decamp to his former Muungano outfit, which he aims to revamp to secure the governor’s seat in Makueni among other elective seats.

If their plan succeeds, the governors would have created a parallel centre of power in Ukambani, where Mutua has been trying to wrestle the community’s kingpinship from Kalonzo.

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