Governors, Kalonzo fight for Ukambani leadership

Governors Alfred Mutua (Machakos) and Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni) at Mutua's office on Monday, January 10, 2022: Ukambani governors don't agree with Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka on who to support in the 2002 presidential race.[Erastus Mulwa, Standard]

The fate of political unity of the Akamba community ahead of the August elections now hangs in the balance after fresh divisions emerged among the region’s top leadership.

The three Ukambani governors, Alfred Mutua (Machakos) Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni) and Charity Ngilu (Kitui) will this morning host a meeting bringing together political leaders, professionals and the clergy to discuss the region’s politics and development interests.

Curiously, the meeting was announced through a press statement released on Monday after Dr Mutua hosted Prof Kibwana at his Machakos ‘White House’ office, where Ngilu reportedly participated virtually.

Today’s meeting comes barely two days before a similar meeting earlier planned and convened by Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka at his Yatta residence where he hopes to secure the blessings of the elders and other leaders to run for the presidency in the coming polls.

The ‘parallel meetings’ appear to have thrown many residents into confusion and despair, with some predicting a divided Kamba vote bloc.

Last year, a Wiper National Delegates Conference held at Kasarani in Nairobi and attended by a section of One Kenya Alliance principals as well as ODM leader, Raila Odinga endorsed Kalonzo to vie for the presidency in the forthcoming general election.

However, speculation has been rife in Ukambani as the ensuing uncertainty about OKA leadership and the delay in naming the alliance’s presidential flag bearer will most likely frustrate and diminish Kalonzo’s chances of ascending to the presidency. The OKA leaders include Kalonzo, ANC's Musalia Mudavadi, KANU chairman and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, as well as Ford Kenya's Senator Moses Wetangula.

The ongoing debate that the presidential contest has been reduced into a two-horse race between  Raila and Deputy President, William Ruto and which OKA has dismissed, has also been causing disquiet among Kalonzo’s supporters in his Ukambani backyard.

Governors Mutua and Kibwana-who have also declared they will be in the race for State House, have fought off accusations by Kalonzo’s lieutenants that they are out to spoil the party for the Wiper boss.

On Monday, Prof Kibwana maintained that today’s meeting focuses on taking stock of the region’s development and gaps while taking a common stand for the community ahead of the August polls.

“We will have to ask ourselves apart from power politics and the quest for positions, what should the community do in order to consolidate its stake and protect its overall political interest,”  said Kibwana.

Kibwana charged that the clamour for political unity in Ukambani should be geared towards the common good of the majority residents and not just a chorus aimed at benefiting specific individuals.

“We have to interrogate our stake in the Government as a community and ask ourselves what we have gained in the past ten years,” said Kibwana.