Raila had refused to sign Azimio agreement, says Kalonzo, blames Ngilu

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka shakes with Raila Odinga (right) at Jacaranda Grounds, Nairobi. March 12, 2022. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka yesterday gave a glimpse into the intrigues leading up to his endorsement of ODM leader Raila Odinga as the Azimio-OKA coalition presidential aspirant.

Addressing a crowd at his home town of Tseikuru during a groundbreaking ceremony for a chapel at a Technical Training Institute, Kalonzo regretted that some leaders around Mr Odinga were opposed to him and other One Kenya Alliance (OKA) principals signing a political pact with the ODM leader.

The Wiper leader said the delay to sign the coalition agreement on Saturday morning, as earlier anticipated, was caused by Odinga’s refusal to adopt OKA as part of the Azimio coalition. Kalonzo particularly took issue with Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu whom he claimed had stood in the way and incited the ODM leader not to sign the Azimio-OKA agreement.

“I have read in the media that there was delay because I was unwilling or something. The truth is, Raila (Mr Odinga) had refused to sign, that was the problem. He had been incited by Kaluki (Ms Ngilu) so that I do not get anything,” Mr Musyoka said.

He stated that Mr Odinga did not want anything to do with OKA, but only wanted the leaders to join the earlier crafted Azimio movement.

“They did not want Raila to sign Azimio-OKA coalition agreement. Their interest was only in Azimio,” Kalonzo added.

Reached for comment the press secretary at the Raila Odinga Campaign Secretariat Dennis Onsarigo said he was not part of the negotiations that preceded the KICC and Jacaranda events and so he had no comment

Kalonzo who appeared pained by what he refers to as Ngilu’s involvement in the coalition negotiations noted that it was even mischievous for the ODM leader to tag along the Kitui governor to the signing table, at which stage he was forced to quickly summon Kanu chairman and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi.

“The last-minute Raila came with Ngilu and I called Gideon. That is the whole truth,” Kalonzo said, adding that Ngilu has stood in his way of getting to the top seat on several occasions.

Efforts to reach the Kitui governor did not bear fruit. Her Personal Assistant Dorcas Wandia asked us to speak to her Communications Director Dennis Omwange whose phone was off. The governor herself did not respond to a Whatsup message we sent her.

Although admitting that he had shelved his presidential ambitions in this year’s presidential election, Mr Musyoka said Mr Odinga had a moral obligation to endorse him, having supported him in the past two presidential elections.

“Technically, if Raila had a good heart, he would have ‘said Kalonzo tosha.’ But Ngilu incited him all the way through, telling him not to let go. She even forgot she is the Kitui governor and moved to Raila’s camp,” a rather bitter Kalonzo charged.

Mr Musyoka appealed to the clergy to pray for the nation as it heads to the polls.

Earlier, the three Ukambani governors; Ms Ngilu (Kitui), Prof Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni) and Dr Alfred Mutua (Machakos) had piled pressure on Kalonzo to join the Azimio team but as an equal partner without giving any demands.

They claimed his power to negotiate for the Kamba community had waned over the years. The latest tiff between Mr Musyoka and Ms Ngilu rekindles their age-old political rivalry and might affect Mr Odinga’s campaigns in Ukambani.