Kalonzo Musyoka leaves Azimio la Umoja, to run for president, picks Andrew Sunkuli as running mate

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka (right) and running mate Andrew Sunkuli. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Wiper leader  Kalonzo Musyoka has left Azimio La Umoja after failing to bag the alliance’s presidential running mate slot.

“Although the imminent persons had done their work, the final decision has actually been taken by the candidate himself (Raila Odinga), which I respect. I wish him and his running mate, my sister Martha Karua the best. I know my country well. That decision will be met by overwhelming opposition. Therefore, we have agreed to go our separate ways and compare notes as we move,” said Kalonzo at the SKM Command centre in Karen, Nairobi today.

He will now run for president on a Wiper ticket, he announced.

Kalonzo said he felt there were some issues that needed revisiting, and that he had learned about Raila’s pick for the running mate position (Martha Karua), to which he did not agree.

"If there is no faith, you can't do business... For how long do people expect Kalonzo Musyoka to be the one sacrificing? and even if we sacrifice, they mess up. We need to revisit the political parties amendment act, and in my opinion, OKA continues as originally established, so does Azimio,” he said. 

Kalonzo also named Andrew Leteipa Sunkuli from Narok County as his running mate, as he seeks to vie for the presidency. Leteipa is the brother of former Cabinet Minister Julius Sunkuli. 

Sunkuli shot to the political limelight when he and his brother Devolution Principal Secretary Charles Sunkuli were endorsed to vie for Narok governorship by separate groups of elders.

In the 2013 General Election, Julius and Andrew contested for the Narok Senate seat, but they both lost to Stephen Ntutu, despite concerted efforts by elders to bring them to a consensus for one of them to go for the seat.

On Sunday, Makueni MP Dan Maanzo said the party was heading to the High Court to nullify the Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya Alliance agreement in order to pave way for its leader Kalonzo Musyoka to vie for the presidency.

According to the MP, Wiper National Executive Committee (NEC) met on Saturday evening and unanimously agreed that Kalonzo should exit from the coalition.

"The agreement of Azimio-OKA has legal issues and we are approaching the High court tomorrow morning so that the court can guide the political parties correctly and we will be able to prove to the courts that the current agreement is illegal and unconstitutional," said Maanzo.

And today, Wiper National organising secretary Robert Mbui announced that Kalozno would make a very important announcement.

Last week Kalonzo claimed there was a plot in place to deny him the running mate slot in the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition.

He insisted he was the only suitable politician to deputise the coalition's flag bearer Raila Odinga and warned denying him a chance would have political ramifications on Raila's presidential bid.

Reports suggested allies of the Wiper leader were confident that they had laid elaborate plans to have him run for president in the August 9 election, should he not be picked as Raila’s running mate.

They said they have collected signatures from counties to allow him to vie, in line with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) guidelines.

Wiper MPs told The Standard that a National Management Council would endorse upon signature collection completion.

On Monday, May 9, Wiper Party National Executive Council unanimously approved the proposal to have Kalonzo run for presidency and bargain for a post-election agreement with the winner if he did not garner the requisite 50 plus one votes to propel him to State House.

During the NEC meeting at the party headquarters, 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, May 10, Kalonzo 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.

On March 12 at KICC grounds deal signed by Azimio la Umoja One Kenya parties locked the partners in the coalition until three months after the elections.

Signatories to the deal, including Kalonzo’s Wiper party, is not allowed to leave the coalition six months to the elections or three months after without going against the law.

The deed of agreement signed on March 12 and obtained by The Standard says parties may give a 90-day notice to withdraw from the coalition, which now takes them beyond the election date.

A week ago on May 9, Mr Musyoka talked of reviewing his political stance if Raila Odinga didn’t name him as a presidential running mate.

In an interview with Athiani FM, Mr Musyoka said Deputy President William Ruto would be the biggest beneficiary of a situation where Raila turned him [Kalonzo] down on the running mate ticket.

The former Vice President said he was keenly waiting for Raila’s decision so that he could take stock of it and chart the way forward. He also dismissed the interviews for Azimio running mate as the “handiwork of the devil” designed to complicate Azimio’s path to power.

He wondered why he would be exposed to a panel to vet his suitability when he had previously flown the flag without being vetted.

“What has changed? It can only mean that some people want to cloud issues around all these, and for what purpose, and to what end, they will have to tell us,” he said.

However, he attended the interviews the next day explaining that skipping them would have given his detractors the excuse they needed to edge him out of the running mate race.

He added he had not struck any deal with Deputy President William Ruto whom he accused of corruption. [Ruto is the presidential candidate for Kenya Kwanza. Yesterday he named Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua as his running mate.

“If I am not picked, it’s obvious that all the votes due to me may troop to Ruto’s direction, is that what they want? It's rather obvious,” he said.

“Either the devils are walking among them, or they do not want him (Raila) to become President. In fact, the moment they don’t pick me, it will confirm to me that some people do not want Raila to ever become a president in his life,” he said.

In the interview, Kalonzo left a small window for talking to Ruto, saying he could rule out anything when push comes to shove.