Johnstone Muthama courts Kalonzo side citing UDA raw deal


Former Machakos Senator and President William Ruto Ally Johnson Muthama at Kalawa, Mbooni, Makueni on May 14, 2024, for the burial of Agnes Mutete Konzolo, wife to former Mbooni MP Konzolo Munyao. [Stephen Nzioka, Standard]

The founder chairperson of the ruling United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Johnstone Muthama has complained that his region was given a raw deal by President William Ruto's government and is now banking his hopes on Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka.

In a dramatic turn of event, Muthama who had in the 2022 General Election campaigned against Kalonzo on Saturday said the aspirations of Ukambani were in opposition leader, who he said must be backed by all his people.

Muthama severed ties with Kalonzo in 2017 over the Wiper party nominations where he accused him of imposing candidates on voters in the controversial nominations. At one time in 2021, he likened Kalonzo to a hyena that split into two trying to decide which homestead to go.

The former Machakos Senator claimed President Ruto shortchanged the Akamba community by giving them ‘insignificant jobs’, saying it was time for the region to rally behind Kalonzo for them to discuss the political way forward of their region.

Muthama, who is a commissioner to the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC), claimed the Akamba community has no representative at the high table where the national cake is shared.

He was speaking during the burial of Agnes Konzolo Munyao, the wife of former Mbooni MP Konzolo Munyao in Makueni County, that was also attended by Kalonzo.

“I was part of those who formed the UDA party and we brought in the current government but today we have no Kamba people seated at the table where national resources are getting shared. We are only errand boys,” Muthama said.

The outspoken politician, who has maintained a low profile for some time, said the Kamba community had been sidelined in past governments even after being party to some past ruling governments.

“It is not easy to win the presidency but the secret is one; we need to hold a mega Kamba unity meeting so that we can have a common front as a community. The clergy need to pray for us to be able to sit together, we collect all our over 2 million votes in one basket and think of where to cast them,” he said.

He said despite his community producing senior government officials in past governments, due to conspiracy against them, they have not been able to ascend to presidency.

“This community produced the first Major General but he was removed because of having come from this region and the same fate happened against the first chief justice. Paul Ngei who was arrested and detained alongside Mzee Jomo Kenyatta was the best placed leader to succeed him but conspiracy against him blocked him,” Muthama told the mourners.

Kalonzo endorsed Muthama’s proposal and requested the Rev Timothy Ndambuki, Archbishop of the Africa Brotherhood Church (ABC), to lead preparations ahead of the meeting. He likened the proposed meeting to Emali declaration held on March 28, 2017, that brought together him (Kalonzo), Charity Ngilu and Kivutha Kibwana.

“We must meet before July to discuss why our community is despised. Muthama will be the convenor assisted by the three Ukambani governors so that our community may speak in one voice. Irrespective of our party affiliation, we must meet and discuss our unity,” he said.

The Musyoka-Muthama possible reunion comes at a time when some allies of President Ruto from the region have expressed disquiet. When the Head of State visited Makueni in March, UDA organising secretary and Mwala MP Vincent Musyoka lamented that marketing Kenya Kwanza administration programs in the region were an uphill task.

“I find it difficult to associate with this government where former Machakos Town MP Victor Munyaka and businessman James Mbaluka are in the cold. Kindly, get them something to do,” Mr Musyoka told President Ruto.

The president, however, didn’t take his words lightly and bashed him, noting he was more focused on meeting the needs of Kenyans rather than those of the region’s political elite.

The Kamba unity talks come at a time when Kalonzo has been spearheading the readmission of Akamba in the Gikuyu Embu Meru Association in a strategy aimed at endearing himself in the 2027 presidential bid

In May this year, he met the Kikuyu Council of Elders at his Karen home to roll out a strategy that would restore the socio-political integration between the Akamba community and the Agikuyu community in a move that would later see the two regions fielding a single presidential candidate in 2027 as well as partnering in social events.

Kalonzo and the elders agreed that the representatives of the Kikuyu Council of Elders, mainly from Kiambu, Murang'a, Kirinyaga, Nyeri, Laikipia, Nyandarua, Nakuru, Embu as well as Nyangi Ndiriri, Njuri Ncheke and the Kamba Council of Elders will lead the unity and peace pacts between the two communities.