Azimio breakaway looms as Jubilee, Narc-K meet in Limuru

Azimio leaders Martha Karua (left), Raila Odinga and Uhuru Kenyatta. [File, Standard]

A section Azimio coalition led by Jubilee and Narc-Kenya has invited 13 parties for a weekend meeting to plot their destiny following their leader Raila Odinga's cooperation with President William Ruto.

The unfolding events could see a faction of former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s party withdraw from the Azimio coalition should the over 1,000 delegates from the 13 parties including Deputy Azimio party leader Martha Karua’sa Narc Kenya party resolve to bolt out.

The Azimio coalition is governed by two organs the Coalition Council and the National Coalition Executive Council (NCEC) with the former being the top organ of the coalition.

While Uhuru is the NCEC chairperson, Karua is a member and the Deputy party leader of the coalition and the withdrawal of the two important members could be the biggest blow the opposition ever suffered since its formation.

Other members of the Council include former Kitui governor and Narc Leader Charity Ngilu and Jubilee Nominated MP Sabina Chege who shifted her allegiance from Raila and Uhuru to President William Ruto.

Uhuru, Karua and Jubilee Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni are all from Mt Mt Kenya and a move by their political parties would therefore leave former governors governor Mwangi Wa Iria (Muranga) and Peter Munya (PNU) as the Mt Kenya leaders in the Azimio. Munya however has not been active in the opposition lately.

Kioni, in an interview with The Standard, said the resolution to hold Limuru III meetings was reached after 13 parties that had expressed interest in working with the Jubilee party agreed to review and audit the new developments in the Azimio coalition.

“Although the Azimio coalition is intact, the Jubilee party and the other political parties reached a consensus that we shall have the meeting to discuss the economic and political way forward as   Mt Kenya region,” said Kioni.

Asked whether they could discuss Raila’s bid to contest for the African Union Commission (AUC) chairmanship Kioni said: ‘We may not dwell so much on his decision as we view it personal and a family decision but we will deliberate on how the move will affect Mt Kenya region and plan ourselves on how we shall manage ourselves for the two hours he said he will take come back home whenever there is an issue,” he said sarcastically.

Speaking on Wednesday in Homabay, Raila said that in the event he gets the AUC top job, he will still be there for Kenyans.

“I am not going away. Addis Ababa is only two hours away from Nairobi. I am available, whenever I am called I will answer. I am ready to work with you people,” he said in what now Kioni said their April meeting will have them manage themselves the time Raila will not be in the country.

According to Kioni, the deliberations will border on the political realignments that are going on in the country including the issue of ‘the people moving around looking for Presidency, and to discuss on how to defend Mt Kenya region which Kioni claimed to have been the hardest hit ‘by the economic downtown of the country.

“We are the worst affected and the most affected economically by the taxes introduced by the Kenya Kwanza government. When we said we don’t want avocado fruits to be taxed, Senate Majority leader Aaron Cheruiyot said it is our of time to pay, which is a misconception that we don’t pay taxes,” Kioni said.

 Kioni dismissed Azimio lawyer Willis Otieno analogy that ‘when a snake swallows a frog, everything in the frog's stomach belongs to the snake’ meaning that now that Raila has formed a cooperation with the President all those under him were under Ruto.

Kioni claimed some types of frogs were too poisonous and if swallowed could ‘kill’ the snake.

“There are some type of frogs called tadpoles and which are poisonous and could kill cows when swallowed, so not all frogs can be swallowed and they may pose danger to the snake,” he made the remarks that may be loosely translated to mean that despite Raila having decided to work with Ruto not all allies of Raila would follow him.

 It is instructive to note that Kioni and Karua did not join Wiper leader Kalonzo in his meeting at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Foundation when Raila was in Germany and did not accompany their party leader to   Homabay on Wednesday.

Instead, Kioni and Karua spent their day in Muranga to defend a group of senior citizens who had been charged with being members of the proscribed Mungiki sect.

Uhuru, whom reports indicate had not blessed Raila’s candidacy to AUC is yet to give his public opinion on the move but has adopted the wait-and-see approach over the issue.

 there are reports that Kalonzo may form an alliance with Eugene Wamalwa, Wa Iria and Geroge Wajackoha in readiness to succeed Raila in the Azimio succession matrix. Whatever decisions are taken by Azimio leaders in the next few days will make or break the coalition that at one time, not so long ago was majority in parliament but is now just a shadow of its former self.

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