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Kalonzo to vie for presidency if Azimio fails to pick him

By Jacob Ng’etich | May 13th 2022 | 3 min read
Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir during a visit to Juba yesterday. [Dennis Kavisu, Standard]

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka has a card up his sleeve in the event he misses the running mate position in the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition.

Allies of the Wiper leader are confident that they have laid elaborate plans to have him run for president in the August 9 election.

To this end, they have already collected 2,000 signatures from 24 counties to allow him to vie for the presidency in line with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission guidelines.

Wiper MPs told The Standard that they will complete signature collection for Mr Musyoka’s candidature today and a National Management Council will endorse the move.

On Monday, Wiper Party National Executive Council unanimously approved the proposal to have Mr Musyoka run for presidency and bargain for a post-election agreement with the winner if he does not garner the requisite 50 plus one votes to propel him to State House.

During the NEC meeting at the party headquarters on Monday, it was agreed that the Wiper leader should not attend the Azimio running mate interviews and instead focus on his presidential bid.

However, on Tuesday, Mr Musyoka made a surprise appearance before the advisory panel. “I did not want to give anyone an excuse whatsoever to say that aligoma kuja (he refused to come),” he told journalists when he emerged from a two-hour session with the panel.

“We agreed that the signature collection should start immediately and be complete by Thursday; we are looking ahead. We cannot be begging all the time. We are ahead of the game,” said Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior.

Mr Kilonzo Jnr said on the running mate for Mr Musyoka, they will cross that bridge when they get there but they were ready to beat the Monday deadline set by IEBC.

The Makueni Senator, his Kitui counterpart Enoch Wambua and Makueni MP Dan Maanzo are among politicians pushing for the Wiper leader to go it alone.  

Constitutional lawyer Boby Mkangi said nothing bars Kalonzo from running for presidency.

“As long as he satisfies the constitutional requirements, which I believe he does, his being in Azimio or having endorsed someone else cannot tie him down,” said Mr Mkangi. 

If he is to be on the presidential ballot, Mr Musyoka must meet the May 16 deadline for picking a running mate.

Sources in the Wiper leader’s circle noted that he is under pressure to run for the presidency and deny Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga the crucial Ukambani voting bloc like in 2007, citing betrayal under NASA.

In the 2007 polls, Mr Musyoka came a distant third with 879,903 votes behind former President Mwai Kibaki with 4,584,721 and Raila at 4,352,993. After the disputed polls, Kibaki appointed Kalonzo Vice President.

In the 2013 and 2017 elections, the Wiper leader was Mr Odinga’s running mate, under Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) and NASA respectively.

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