Ukambani top leaders gang up against Wiper leader
At 32, former Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka made his first stint in Parliament in 1985.
Since then, the Wiper Democratic Movement (WDM) Party Leader stood out as the Kamba community’s political kingpin.
But Kalonzo is now a troubled man after key regional leaders appear to be have ganged up against him with some declaring their intention to challenge him in the presidential contest of 2022.
Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana, who has announced his presidential ambitions, together with Kalonzo’s estranged ally and former Senator Johnstone Muthama, are leading a front gravitating towards Deputy President William Ruto.
The second group is a grassroot battalion engineered by Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu, a sworn political enemy of Kalonzo.
The last and the fiercest battle front is led by Maendeleo Chap Chap party leader and the Governor of Machakos, Dr Alfred Mutua, which is pegged on need for generational succession challenging the old guard to pass the leadership button to younger politicians.
Ngilu, who currently faces ouster from Kalonzo-allied ward representatives has vowed to stage a bloodless coup to root out Wiper from Ukambani.
In what could be a demonstration of Kalonzo’s dwindling fortunes, Muthama, his strongest ally and key Wiper financier resigned on Wednesday from the umbrella party.
The party’s leadership had accused Muthama of rallying support for Ruto’s presidential bid. In his resignation statement, Muthama said he was not turning back.
“It’s shocking for me to be accused of association with other political parties yet it is in public domain that the party leader has been making rounds, making secret meetings while desperately seeking other political parties to form unsubstantiated coalitions and handouts,” he said.
Muthama pointed out that he fell out with Wiper when he withdrew his financial support for the party.
Governors Mutua, Kibwana, Ngilu and Muthama have ganged up against Kalonzo, triggering debate that the tide could be fast turning against the former VP.
Mutua has accused Kalonzo of being “too old” and overstaying his welcome on the Ukambani political table.
The Machakos county chief argues that he has built a national appeal and can easily deliver the presidency.
“I am at that age when leaders take over national leadership all over the world. I am in the age of the likes of JF Kennedy, Barack Obama and Margaret Thatcher when they took over power.
Great leaders like Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great and Napoleon Bonaparte took over the mantle of leadership at my age, in their 40s and early 50s and not in their 60s, 70s or 80s,” Mutua told People Daily.
On her part, Ngilu claims that Kalonzo is only out to frustrate leaders who seem to anchor their politics on development.
Kalonzo has been on the receiving end from different political quarters for allegedly doing too little for Kamba community in terms of development during his over two decades tenure in government.
The Kibwana-Muthama camp enjoys backing of MPs supporting Ruto in the region. They include Nimrod Mbai (Kitui East), Victor Munyaka (Machakos Town), Vincent Musyoka (Mwala) and Kangundo’s Fabian Muli.
Governor Kibwana, who is lately closely working with Muthama announced his presidential candidature after a meeting with Ruto.
Makueni MP Daniel Maanzo has dismissed the Muthama-Kibwana axis saying they would deliver very little to the Ruto ticket.
“I can assure you that Kibwana will not run for presidency, he has no capacity. He is just a distractor of Kalonzo,” Maanzo told the People Daily.
While Maanzo dismisses Kibwana’s candidature, the respected law professor says that he is contesting the seat due to public pressure.
“I have listened to the voice of Wanjiku asking me to run for presidency in the coming election. I am available, ready and willing to be Wanjiku’s president.
I will go all the way to the ballot with Wanjiku in 2022. We must ensure devolution works for our communities” said Kibwana while declaring his bid on June 26.
Kibwana, now a fierce critic of Kalonzo was a Wiper Party chairman before quiting the position citing lack of democracy in the party.
Muthama accuses Kalonzo of nepotism in nomination of his sister in-law Jane Muasya to Nairobi County Assembly and his son Kennedy to Musyoka to EALA at the expense of thousands of “poor” supporters who have supported him for decades.