Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka is a man under siege following the recent happenings in his party. The former Vice President seem to have lost grip in his Ukambani fortress even after he was chosen as Raila Odinga’s running mate in the NASA coalition ahead of the August 8 polls.
From being abandoned by his main lieutenants to being accused of dictatorship and nepotism, Kalonzo has never been in such a political storm before. The nasty split in the umbrella party could not have come at a worse time as the main players in the Opposition prepare to launch a nationwide campaign to win as many votes as possible and beat President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The hemorrhage which has seen Kalonzo abandoned by Wiper chairman David Musila and the party strongman and main financier Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama is also likely to affect the NASA running mate’s bargaining power in the coalition.
Cracks in the party began to show immediately Kalonzo was named Raila’s running mate in an elaborate ceremony at Uhuru Park, Nairobi on Thursday April 27. Musalia Mudavadi of ANC was named the Premier Cabinet Secretary while Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetangula and Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto were named his deputies.
As section of Wiper leadership led by National Assembly Minority Whip Francis Nyenze on the morning of Friday April 28 claimed Kalonzo had been shortchanged.
“We knew there was a MOU in 2013 that was trashed, we are sure this will happen again, Kalonzo was given a raw deal,” Nyenze told the press then.
The agreement he was referring to was that since Kalonzo played second fiddle to Raila in 2013 in which the ODM leader lost to Uhuru, Raila was to back the Wiper leader in the 2017 election. However, Kalonzo finally managed to reign in on Nyenze and prevailed upon him to accept the deal and support him.
The Kitui West MP towed the line. But before the dust could settle, in came a furious Kitui Senator David Musila who rocked the Wiper boat badly. Musila was among leaders who have accused Kalonzo of endorsing certain leaders for different positions prior to the Wiper nominations.
Soon after the Senator lost the primaries, he resigned from Wiper as party chairman in a huff and declared he will vie as an independent candidate. Musila lost to Governor Julius Malombe during the gubernatorial race and he accused Kalonzo of mischief and being behind his defeat. But the decision by Machakos Senator Muthama to quit Wiper was the clearest sign that Kalonzo is in murky waters, so mire that if he pulls himself out, it will be a genius move.
Muthama accused Kalonzo of running Wiper like a dictator by imposing candidates such as Wavinya Ndeti (Machakos) and Malombe to the people. Kalonzo was accused of favoring Wavinya who won the Wiper nominations for the Machakos gubernatorial race. Even after she beat Machakos Deputy Governor Bernard Kiala in the primaries, a repeat was ordered by the Political Parties Tribunal after the loser alleged irregularities. She trounced Kiala for the second time. However, on Saturday 14th, a court ruling cancelled Ndeti’s win in the nomination citing rigging in the election process among other reasons.
Muthama on Monday, May 8, announced that he will not be defending his seat in the coming August 8 polls following the fall-out with the party leadership. He however said he would remain in NASA and campaign for Raila. Senator Muthama’s exit however came amidst a back drop of accusations from Kalonzo who had earlier claimed the Machakos leader was shortchanging him during the negotiations to come up with the NASA presidential line up.
Kalonzo has also been in the eye of the storm after wiper nominating his son Kennedy Musyoka as a member of the East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA), a decision which has caused allegations of nepotism from the jubilee party. In addition, a section of wiper party members felt the post deserved to be given to long time Wiper supporters. Observers say, Kalonzo may have lost his bargaining power in NASA ahead of the high octane presidential election.