Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka has said he will be in the political formation that President Uhuru Kenyatta will support in the lead-up to 2022 elections.
Addressing a meeting at his Yatta farm yesterday, Kalonzo said he had made a personal decision to stick with Uhuru even after 2022.
“I have made a resolution that I and the Kamba community are not flip-flopping and where Uhuru will be even after 2022, we will be there,” said the former vice president.
He added: “We are now engaging everybody as a free gear. But our true direction is to support Uhuru. I have not spoken to Raila of late but I know his support for Uhuru till he finishes his term has not changed.”
Kalonzo has been Raila Odinga's running mate in 2013 and 2017 presidential elections, in which they lost to the rival joint ticket of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto.
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But the controversial swearing in of Raila after the last disputed presidential vote that Kalonzo and fellow National Super Alliance (Nasa) principals Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang'ula snubbed has soured political relations.
Lately, like during the Kibra parliamentary seat campaigns, Raila was accompanied by governors Alfred Mutua, Charity Ngilu and Kivutha Kibwana - who have challenged Kalonzo for Ukambani political supremacy.
The three did not attend Kalonzo's meeting yesterday.
Governors snubbed meeting
Kalonzo said that despite personal invites, the trio had snubbed the meeting. He said that Mutua told him his life was in danger and could not attend the gathering while Ngilu and Kibwana failed to send their apologies.
Raila and Kalonzo allies have been firing shots at each other since Kalonzo skipped Raila's mock swearing-in on January 30, 2018, which saw him branded a coward by Raila's allies.
Political analyst and University of Nairobi don Prof Herman Manyora has observed that Raila is trying to send a message to the former vice president by embracing the three Ukambani governors, who even helped him campaign for ODM candidate Imran Okoth in Kibra.
“By bringing on board Kibwana, Mutua and Ngilu, Raila is sending Kalonzo Musyoka a message. Remember there was a Kalonzo problem before,” he recently said in a local TV programme.
The trio have not been in good terms with Kalonzo, and have lately been seen to gang up against him, apparently to topple his leadership in Lower Eastern, commonly known as Ukambani region.
Ngilu, Mutua and Kibwana have been categorical that the Kamba need fresh leadership that is more focused on developing the region and negotiating strongly for national resources.
Kibwana and Mutua have expressed their willingness to succeed President Kenyatta, widening the rift in the Ukambani bloc.
Mutua, the Maendeleo Chap Chap party leader, has hit the campaign trail aiming to secure the support of all communities to succeed Uhuru.
Kalonzo has been facing political rebellion after the three governors announced that they will rally the community in a different political direction, although his allies believe he will be at the ballot.
However, Kalonzo’s ally and Kitui Senator Enock Wambua said his boss is keen on succeeding President Kenyatta come 2022, adding that Wiper will go into pre-election and post-election alliances.
“Make no mistake about it. Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka will be a presidential candidate in 2022. Wiper will go into pre-election and post-election alliances with other parties to form government with Kalonzo as the head of the said alliances,” said Mr Wambua.
He further ruled out any possibility of becoming Raila’s running mate again, saying that the political deal between Raila and Kalonzo relating to the 2022 presidential bid leaves no room for ambiguity.
In reference to the Nasa coalition's pre-election agreement deposited with the Registrar of Political Parties, Wambua argued that there has been no formal invalidation of the agreement.
“There is a properly-drawn document witnessed and placed under the custody of renowned international legal experts. To the extent that the deal has not been invalidated by the two parties, I firmly hold the view that Raila will support Kalonzo for the position of president in August 2022 polls,” said Wambua.
And in what appears to be further widening of the rift between Raila and Kalonzo, outspoken former Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama said he would steer coalition talks between Deputy President William Ruto and Kalonzo.
Makueni MP and a close Kalonzo ally Dan Maanzo opined that Raila’s political weight is to stay within Nasa, adding that the proposals by the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) that there should be a prime minister appointed by the president should be a clear warning that he is being played.
“Raila is the biggest loser in the BBI. The only remedy is to stay in Nasa if he still habours presidential ambition. If he leaves Nasa, Raila will be politically finished. He has no choice but to work within the original Nasa,” said Mr Maanzo.
Asked whether ODM had severed links with Wiper and Kalonzo, Orange party Secretary General Edwin Sifuna said the meeting of leaders drawn from other political parties was the beginning of new political movement that will drum-up support for the BBI and forge an alliance for the 2022 election.