What next for Kalonzo as elections draw near?


Wiper Democratic Movement Leader Hon Kalonzo Musyoka addresses Mukuru Kwa Njenga residents whose houses were demolished recently. [Dennis Kavisu, Standard]

Majority of Ukambani residents are waiting with bated breath to see Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka's direction on the presidential race as the August 9 elections draw closer.

Despite facing opposition from governors Charity Ngilu (Kitui), Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni) and Alfred Mutua (Machakos), Kalonzo and his wiper party still hold sway in the region. Wiper supporters say they will follow the party leader's direction. However, with less than seven months to D-Day, there are concerns the Wiper boss has unnecessarily delayed in making his intentions known, leaving his supporters in limbo.

Against this backdrop, Kalonzo has called a leaders' meeting at his Yatta farm in Machakos County tomorrow where he is expected to among other things, declare his stand. In the recent past however, the Wiper leader, who is One Kenya Alliance principal has announced that he will be vying for the top seat amid reports that the alliance, through its technical team is working on modalities of choosing a joint presidential flag bearer.

If Kalonzo decides to run, it remains to be seen what his candidature will achieve. There are also murmurs in Ukambani that for the Wiper leader to remain relevant in upcoming elections, he should throw his weight behind either Raila Odinga's ODM or William Ruto's UDA camp. There are reports that emissaries are being sent from the Raila and Ruto camps to woo the Wiper leader.

These efforts are believed to be driven by a section of elected Wiper leaders concerned that Kalonzo’s mark-timing might weaken his stake in the presidential race.

“The problem with Kalonzo is that he likes pleasing everybody. That is a huge weakness in politics and it makes him waver in decisions. Time is running out and he needs to come out strongly and make his stand known otherwise he will end up confusing his supporters,” said a member of Wiper party.

However, Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua said there is no cause for alarm since the Wiper leader is clear on what he wants.

“In November last year, during its National Delegates Conference, Wiper unveiled the party leader as the party's presidential candidate. That is the party position,” Wambua told The Standard yesterday.

Asked if that would remain the party’s stance within the OKA arrangement, the senator said the coalition that brings together Kanu, ANC, Ford Kenya and Wiper is determined to choose its presidential candidate in a free and democratic manner. But even as some wait on Kalonzo to show the community direction, governors Kibwana, Mutua and Ngilu have ganged up in what is seen as a scheme to whittle down his hold on the region.

On Wednesday, the governors held a meeting in Machakos where they said the Kamba community will not follow Kalonzo blindly.

“As a community we need to be progressive and won’t be herded towards a certain direction because someone is there. We won’t join any camp through a particular person,” said Prof Kibwana.

Dr Mutua said the community will only support a presidential candidate who will address the challenges facing the region instead of discussing positions for a single individual.

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