Raila endorsement sparks criticism from Ukambani
The endorsement of Opposition chief Raila Odinga by an influential Jubilee official to run for presidency in 2022 has stirred debate in Ukambani over the political future of Wiper Democratic Movement (WDM) leader Kalonzo Musyoka.
Having contested as Raila’s running mate twice, Kalonzo has been hoping for Raila’s backing in the next election.
He even claimed a fortnight ago that he had a secret political pact with the Orange Democratic Movement boss to back him.
But Raila has received unequivocal backing from the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) boss Francis Atwoli, and Jubilee Party vice-chairman David Murathe.
Murathe’s support for a Raila presidency is what has sparked criticism from Kalonzo’s Ukambani backyard.
Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua while acknowledging that Raila is a revered Kenyan who has made enormous contribution to building the nation, he said time has come for the old guard, including Kalonzo. to pass leadership mantle to young leaders.
“By 2022, Kenya will have over 20 million voters. Majority of whom will be young.
It is these voters who will decide their president and not a few people seated somewhere in a boardroom. Kenya is a democratic nation,” Said Mutua.
Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr on the other hand observed that a Raila candidature will push Kalonzo to the drawing board as it was an expected outcome.
“The Murathe statement simply means Hon. Kalonzo has been given a choice or is being prepared for hard bargains, which is normal and expected .
Again Kalonzo has every right to table his demands,” said Mutula in a phone interview with People Daily.
Makueni MP Daniel Maanzo on his part insisted that the former Vice President’s name will be on the presidential ballot.
Maanzo maintained that there was an agreement requiring Raila to throw his weight behind Kalonzo’s presidency come 2022.
In an interview with a local television, Raila said NASA coalition, which sponsored his candidature in 2017 ‘died after election’.
“Kalonzo will be on the ballot to run against the ODM chief in case he doesn’t honour the agreement” said Maanzo.
Maanzo, a key Kalonzo’s ally dismissed the Murathe- Atwoli sentiments saying they were only out to make Raila and his key men happy after it emerged that the ‘Hand Shake was ailing’.
“The endorsements mean nothing at all. It only intends to make Raila happy so that President Uhuru Kenyatta can get ample time to govern,” said Maanzo.
However, Mutula Jnr maintained that the developments should not be construed as disagreements.
“No one should treat this as betrayal or disagreements. In any event, elections are 24 months away.
A lot may change,” said Mutula. Although Wiper is in a process of signing a coalition agreement with Jubilee, the Makueni Senator said the two parties have not discussed any ‘political future.’
A political scientist and Chama Cha Mashinani secretary general Phillipe Sadja, argued that while there was a dire need for transition in Ukambani, a good strategy ought to be in place to bypass him (Kalonzo) politically saying that ‘ he as the king maker, can’t be ignored’
Kalonzo will be facing his toughest political test after Governors Mutua (Machakos) Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni) and Charity Ngilu (Kitui) launched an onslaught against him.
Mutua , a presidential candidate, has been calling on elder politicians from Ukambani in presidential contest to relinquish their bid for the interest of the young generational succession.
Sadja is of the idea that Kalonzo should align himself with Raila or face political extinction.
“Murathe is a close confidant of the President. Whatever he said can’t be ignored.
It only means the Head of State can support Raila for the top seat. It is not news at all. He just spoke on something being cooked behind the curtains.
If that’s the case, Kalonzo should play along with Raila or his interests will be squashed,” said Sadja.