Inside Kalonzo Musyoka's charm offensive in Mt Kenya ahead of 2027 poll

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka is warming up to an all-out strategy to endear himself to Mt Kenya region.

For the last week, the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya co-principal has held closed-door meetings with a section of leaders from Mt Kenya region to elaborate his plan to popularise his presidential candidature in 2027.

Among the leaders Kalonzo met last week include Kikuyu Council of Elders (KCE) members led by their chairperson Wachira Kiago and 2022 Jubilee parliamentary candidates from Murang’a County who included Antony Chege (Maragua), Peter Ngugi (Kandara) and George Kibuku (Kangema)

To kick off his charm offensive, Kalonzo spoke to the Agikuyu community through a popular vernacular television show ‘Kiririmbi’ on Inooro TV where he reiterated his intention to seek the presidency in 2027, saying his most difficult decision was to support Raila in the 2022 General Election.

While fighting off claims that Azimio leader Raila Odinga’s African Union Chairmanship bid and his obvious cooperation with President William Ruto who is fronting his candidature would lead to a Nadco government, Kalonzo maintained that he would continue fighting for the rights of Kenyans.

“I do not want to be in the government. I am ready to continue being in the opposition to fight for Kenyans, who will be there for Kenyans when the cost of living is unbearable,” he said.

Kalonzo later met the political class and the elders, where he fronted an idea of readmitting the Akamba community to the larger Gema (Gikuyu Embu Meru Association), saying the last letter should mean ‘Akamba’ and not Association’.

The presence of the Kikuyu Council of Elders at his Karen home was 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.

Kiago, in an interview with The Standard, said the Wiper leader discussed with them in detail the importance of the two communities coming together to champion and agitate their rights as a common bloc, a move he said was welcomed by the elders present at the meeting.

“He reminded that the two communities used to be one bloc that was later dispersed due to bad politics and we saw the need to come together to preach peace and unity. We laid an elaborate strategy to roll out the plan that will see members of the two regions converge at a central place for the ceremony,” Kiago told The Standard on phone.

He explained that they agreed that the representatives of the Kikuyu Council of Elders, mainly from Kiambu, Murang’a, Kirinyaga, Nyeri, Laikipia, Nyandarua and Nakuru counties and Embu Council of Elders who include Nyangi Ndiriri and the Njuri Ncheke elders from Meru and Tharaka Nithi counties and the Kamba Council of Elders will lead the unity and peace pacts between the two regions.

“It is not the political class who will lead in the process of restoring our sisters and brothers back to the association but the elders. We agreed that in the subsequent meeting, which we are planning and will happen soonest, the elders will take the centre stage,” he said.

While noting there were no differences between the Akamba community and the Agikuyu community, Kiago said the Kikuyu culture regards the Akamba people as part of their community.

On Wednesday, Kalonzo also met the political delegation at his Karen office where he asked them to support the Akamba readmission in the Gema association while seeking a political partnership.

According to Chege, Kalonzo tasked them with the responsibility of identifying his political pillars at the constituency level, whom he would later meet for a ‘strategic meeting’ before hitting the ground for a meet-the-people tour.

“He underscored the importance of the political and social unity between the two communities, saying the unity could see the two communities fielding one presidential candidate with certainties of winning in the first round,” Chege told The Standard.

According to the politician, Kalonzo reassured them that part of the gains of the two communities’ integration would be mentoring young leaders like in other regions.

“He has mentored young leaders into responsible and able leaders and this is why he has held the leadership mantle for the Akamba community. President Ruto has also mentored leaders from his community but this was not the case for former President Uhuru Kenyatta,” said Chege.

With Kalonzo’s planned meeting coming in the wake of Raila’s campaigns to succeed AUC chairperson Moussa Faki, political analysts claim he (Kalonzo) wants to chart his own political destiny for the Mt Kenya region that has always voted against Raila.

Prof Gitile Naituli, a governance expert, interpreted Kalonzo’s move to mean that he is keen on moving away from Raila’s shadows to avoid inheriting his (Raila’s) misfortunes.

“The anti-Raila campaign in Mt Kenya region extended to hate politics and amounted to indoctrination and that has been very unfair, because the politics ought to be issue-based. This is what Kalonzo is curing,” he noted. 

Kalonzo’s forays to Mt Kenya region, without the presence of his co-principle Martha Karua, also raises eyebrows on the cohesion of the Azimio coalition unity and whether the two are still reading from the same script, with analysts saying it is a pointer that the two may be wanting to be masters of their own political destiny.

While Karua is teaming with Jubilee Secretary-General Jeremiah Kioni, Kalonzo seems to be depending on Usawa Kwa Wote party leader and former Murang’a Governor Mwangi Wa Iria to penetrate the vote-rich region ahead of 2027 elections.