Gideon leading talks for Kalonzo's Azimio return

Wiper Leader Hon Kalonzo Musyoka when he hosted President Uhuru Kenyatta and KANU Chairman Gideon Moi for dinner at his Karen residence. [Dennise Kavisu, Standard]

It may just be a matter of time before Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka goes back to Azimio la Umoja One Kenya party.

It has emerged that a multipronged approach is being deployed to convince Kalonzo to work with Raila to secure the coalition party a win in the August 9 polls.

Several attempts are being made through religious leaders, professional associations and allies of Kalonzo, to convince him to work with Raila.

Nick Salat, the Kanu secretary general said that Baringo Senator Gideon Moi is leading the talks to bring Kalonzo back to the Azimio fold.

Salat said Gideon initiated talks with Kalonzo on May 16, immediately the Wiper leader cut links with Raila.

“Gideon has been in talks with Kalonzo to try and convince him to return to Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Alliance,” said Salat.

Salat said the outcomes of the talks will be clearer, in the next few days, when presidential aspirants are expected to submit their names to Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission's (IEBC) by June 6.

This means that Kalonzo has slightly over a week to make up his mind whether he will return to Azimio.

Kalonzo announced he had severed links with Azimio La Umoja One Kenya coalition on the day Raila unveiled Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua as his running mate.

With just a day to the IEBC deadline for submitting running mates, Kalonzo unveiled Andrew Sunkuli.

Gideon attended the event at the SKM Centre but Salat said that Gideon's presence does not mean he supports the Wiper leader's exit from Raila’s coalition.

“My chairman, to my understanding, did not go to Kalonzo's function to support him in his bid to go alone in the presidential race but to woo him back to add more value to the Azimio coalition," said Salat.

"Gideon has always played the role of a mediator, including in similar cases involving Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang'ula in the past."

Salat dismissed plans by Kalonzo to vie for the presidency, saying it may complicate first round win for the coalition and also put Wiper party leaders career on the line.

"Those of us who have seen the way things are going with the rising popularity of Raila as per the latest opinion polls which places him at 39 per cent against Deputy President William Ruto's at 35 percent, the runoff might not happen," Salat said. "It will not be wise for him to go it alone. No one wants to be called a spoiler and I am sure Kalonzo does not want that tag."

Salat said Kalonzo should not ignore the Chief Cabinet Secretary position and 20 percent stake in government that he was offered by Raila.  ‘‘Those promises show that Raila means well for him considering there is no region that has such a promise. It is allowed in politics you can differ but not to break coalitions,’’ said Salat.

In Machakos, Wiper grassroots leaders and the clergy called on Kalonzo to reconsider his stance.

(Reporting by James Wanzala, Mike Kihaki and Victor Nzuma)