Changing tack: Is Ukambani region joining forces with Kenya Kwanza?

Kitui Senator Enock Wambua,  Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka , Makueni Governor Mutula Kilonzo and Makueni Senator Dan Maanzo at a past meeting. [Samson Wire, Standard]

Wiper leaders from Ukambani have hinted at the possibility of working with President-elect William Ruto’s government for the region to, they claim, reap development.

Speaking while attending different burials in Machakos, Makueni and Kitui over the weekend, various leaders expressed their willingness to work with the government of the day.

Machakos Governor, Wavinya Ndeti, said she was going to engage Ruto immediately after Tuesday’s swearing and deliberate how they can work together inside the Kenya Kwanza government for her people to receive development.

“We now have a new president who will be sworn in tomorrow. We will work with the incoming President and we ask our people to be peaceful as we work with him because the national government has the biggest share of 85 per cent and counties get a mere 15 per cent of the national resources,” she said.

The crowd cheered as she kept posing the question for the people to endorse her willingness to engage the government.

During the burial of the late James Mutinda at Kaloleni village in Mwala sub-county Machakos county, other wiper leaders led by Kitui Senator, Enock Wambua, said they were ready to work from the opposition side and asked the government not to sideline regions that were mapped as Azimio zones.

“Water in Ukambani should be given priority. The 85 per cent left to National Government belongs to all the people of Kenya even those who had voted against Kenya Kwanza. We ask for equitable distribution or we raise our voices in protest,” said Wambua.

UDA’s nominated MP Jackson Kosgei, who was also present, asked the Kamba community to reconsider their political future saying both communities had worked together well in the past.

“Politics have dynamics. We, the Kalenjin and the Kamba community share a lot. As we go forward, our people have asked us to request you to walk together with you. We requested Kalonzo Musyoka to work with us, but he didn’t trust us, but we still have room. We are asking you for the third time we need to work with you,” said Kosgei.

In Makueni county, Governor Mutula Kilonzo Junior while addressing mourners in a burial at Nzeveni Primary School, Mbooni West, said he knew that the Azimio case in the Supreme Court was bound to fail and it was time to work well with Ruto for the region’s development interests.

“I had earlier informed Senator Dan Maanzo that we will fail if we file that case in court. We didn’t have enough agents. I want to tell my people that we will not stay in political cold for more years. We are now fed up. We have to plan ahead for our people to secure development,” said Kilonzo junior, also a key Kalonzo ally.

Makueni Governor Mutula Kilonzo Junior. [Stephen Nzioka, Standard]

He added that Azimio MPs and Senators were going to face tough times in both Houses of Parliament since the Azimio side had no numbers to oppose anything.

“The Kenya Kwanza will be doing anything; at any time, they want. Like what happened in the Senate during the voting for the new speakers,” added Kilonzo Junior while asking Senator Dan Maanzo to support efforts to reconsider any of their firm political stands.

Musyoka, has, however, also separately pledged that they will stay outside the government for the next five years and keep Ruto’s government under watch.

While in Matuu, Machakos county, and also at Kali Isasi in Mwingi Central, Kitui county, Kalonzo appeared undecided on the next trajectory of his umbrella party.

On one hand, Kalonzo, said he was going to keep on the opposition side to ensure the Kenya Kwanza government delivered its promises including the Yatta dam.  

“We are going to serve in the opposition the best way we can. We are ready and five years is a short time,” said Kalonzo at Matuu.

However, while still disputing rumours circulating on social media that he had reached out to Ruto, Musyoka said when the time comes to work with him, he will do so openly.

He said he will meet Ruto openly at the right time, but after consulting Wiper and Azimio leadership.

“Ruto came to see me when I lost my father in 2018. Now, they put up those photos online saying we have met. I am an open man and before I meet Ruto, then I will negotiate first with other Wiper leaders and also the Azimio One Kenya Alliance,” said Kalonzo while disputing the rumours.

He also spoke at Mwingi Central during the burial ceremony of area MP Gideon Mutemi Mulyungi’s grandmother.

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka. [Silas Otieno, Standard]

Makueni senator Dan Maanzo said Kenya’s political architecture has no opposition, only majority, and minority sides.

Political analyst, Urbanus Mutinda felt that Kalonzo and other Wiper Senators have little to deliver directly to the people as opposed to the Governors and that the Kamba community needs to be in the government of the day.

“The three Ukambani Governors have a role to play since they are carrying the burden of expectations by the people. Governors need to deliver development as opposed to the Senators who only offer oversight,” said Wambua.

However, he said, the Governors should respect the Kamba leaders, who worked with Ruto during the hard campaign times.

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