Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka yesterday declared his interest to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta outside the Azimio la Umoja alliance.
Mr Musyoka, who unveiled his running mate Mr Andrew Sunkuli, said he had been betrayed by Azimio la Umoja presidential candidate Mr Raila Odinga for not picking him as a running mate.
“For how long do people expect Kalonzo to sacrifice for others? I have done so before. We have agreed that we will go separately. As we speak, my name is with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC),” said Mr Musyoka.
Mr Musyoka said Mr Odinga had tried to convince him to take another position after settling on Narc-Kenya leader Ms Martha Karua as his running mate.
“I have talked about the politics of deceit. After his tour of Mombasa, he came to my home and tried to convince me. I told him to let me sleep over it. Last evening he tried again and I was not ready. I will shock them in this election,” said Mr Musyoka.
Yesterday, Wiper’s National Executive Council unanimously endorsed Mr Musyoka to run for president if he was not picked as Mr Odinga’s running mate.
Just before Mr Odinga unveiled Ms Karua at 1:30pm, Mr Musyoka, flanked by Kanu chairman Mr Gideon Moi, declared his candidature and named Mr Sunkuli as his running mate.
While declaring his running mate at the KICC, Mr Odinga said Mr Musyoka would be Chief Minister if Azimio won in the August poll.
Last year, Mr Musyoka was given the political pass by his Kamba community to go for president and carry the aspirations of the lower Eastern region at his home in Yatta Machakos County.
During the meeting, he told his community that he had repeatedly said he would be on the presidential ballot and that he would not step down for anyone after being Mr Odinga’s running mate in the 2013 and 2017 presidential elections.
Mr Musyoka is taking the political path he took in 2007 when he broke away from the original Orange party and ran for president on an ODM-Kenya ticket, denying Raila victory.
Former President Mwai Kibaki (now deceased) won in the hotly contested 2007 presidential election by slightly over 200,000 votes, which suggested that had Mr Odinga and Mr Musyoka partnered, they would have won.
In the polls, Mr Musyoka came a distant third with 879,903 votes behind Kibaki with 4,584,721 and Mr Odinga at 4,352,993. After the disputed polls, Kibaki appointed Mr Musyoka Vice President.
In the 2013 and 2017 elections, the Wiper leader was Mr Odinga’s running mate, under Coalition for Reforms and Democracy and National Super Alliance respectively.
Prior to the fallout with Mr Odinga yesterday, Mr Musyoka had insisted that he was the obvious pick for the ODM leader’s running mate. He said he would take nothing less.
Now the Wiper leader hopes to convince about a 1.5 million voters from lower Eastern and more from the Kamba community in the diaspora counties, as well as other supporters to vote for him.
According to IEBC data, in 2017, Kitui had 474,512 voters, Machakos 620,254 and Makueni 423,310. These numbers are, however, projected to be higher.