Inside Politics

Raila, Uhuru in frantic talks to rope in Kalonzo

Thursday, May 19th, 2022 00:21 | By
President Uhuru Kenyatta, Kalonzo Musyoka and Raila Odinga during the launch of the coalition at Jacaranda Grounds in March. PHOTO/Philip kamakya

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Azimio-One Kenya Alliance flag bearer Raila Odinga were yesterday engaged in frantic efforts to mend severed relations with Wiper Party Leader Kalonzo Musyoka and get him back to the fold after he bolted from the coalition party on Monday.

Kalonzo, who had demanded to be named as Raila’s running mate ahead of the August election, announced he was withdrawing from the coalition party and seeking the top seat. He even picked Andrew Sunkuli as his running mate shortly after storming out of KICC just before Raila unveiled Martha Karua as his preferred choice.

Yesterday, Kalonzo’s allies downplayed the renewed efforts to win him back to Azimio, insisting that he was in the presidential race. However, sources intimated to the People Daily that the President, Raila and Kalonzo met at the Mombasa State House where Kalonzo reportedly tabled fresh demands to be met before he could change his mind. Among the conditions, sources said, was that the seat Raila offered him - that of Chief Cabinet Secretary - would be entrenched in the coalition agreement.

On Monday, Raila said he would nominate Kalonzo for the seat although the offer is not captured in the agreement the coalition deposited with the Registrar of Political Parties.

In addition, Kalonzo is also said to have demanded for a bigger share of the government “cake” should Azimio form the next government. In a tweet, Nzioka Waita, one of the aspirants for the Machakos governor seat, indicated that Kalonzo had been promised 20 per cent of Cabinet and Government appointments, 1,500km of roads, new dams and water infrastructure and three level six hospitals among other goods meant for the lower Easter region, which has more than 1.6 million voters.

“These promises are not Kalonzo’s property to walk away with on our behalf,” Waita said, indicating that it was in the region’s interest for the former Vice-President to remain in the coalition.

Yesterday, sources within Azimio reiterated that the offer of Chief Cabinet Minister still stood and “nothing would be changed”. The only condition would be for Kalonzo to abandon his presidential ambition and return to the fold.

Their sentiments came as sources within the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) said commissioners and technocrats held a day-long meeting yesterday to discuss Kalonzo’s exit from Azimio coalition and what his decision to rejoin the presidential race meant.


IEBC commissioners and technocrats are said to have gone through all the laws governing elections to determine whether Kalonzo was legally allowed to leave Azimio  and vie for the presidency despite having signed a binding agreement with Raila.

Sources disclosed that the electoral agency is today scheduled to issue a comprehensive statement over the Kalonzo dilemma. After the deliberations, the IEBC also ruled Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) would nominate another aspirant for the Mathira parliamentary seat to replace Rigathi Gachagua, who was nominated as William Ruto’s running mate under the Kenya Kwanza Alliance. Deputy President Ruto unveiled Gachagua on Sunday.

“The Kalonzo issue is quite complicated and the reason IEBC will issue a statement  after today’s deliberations,” said the source who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Agreement amendment

Within Wiper, a Kalonzo ally yesterday said the former VP wants the coalition agreement re-opened and amended. First, Kalonzo demands that the position of Chief Cabinet Secretary be anchored in the deal and its roles clearly spelt out in the document.

“Our party leaders want the document opened up and the position of minister assigned to the Wiper Party as in the case of Kenya Kwanza in which key partners such as Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula have designated and documented roles if their coalition,” said the Wiper MP. He revealed that Kalonzo also wanted a binding commitment deposited with the Registrar of Political Parties on the Wiper share in a possible Azimio government, particularly allocation of Cabinet portfolios.

“The Azimio-One Kenya Alliance is silent on the position allocated to Kalonzo by Raila and how it will be created. There should be no room for mischief. Members of the Kamba community deserve their fare share of reward for their sacrifices,” said the MP who requested anonymity.

However, his Makueni counterpart, Dan Maanzo and Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua, two of Kalonzo’s close allies considered to be hardliners, insisted that the Wiper train had already left the Azimio station but it could be reversed if the right conditions are met.

“Yes, if the document deposited with the Registrar of Political Parties is amended to include our demands, then we can reconsider our position,” said Maanzo. “But as things stand, we are going all the way to the ballot.” Maanzo, while ruling out the possibility of Wiper joining Kenya Kwanza, accused Raila’s team of playing their cards very close to their chests.

“There is nothing that we have not touched on in our discussions,” Maanzo said. “We have tried as much as possible to be frank with them but it appears they are not interested in us working with them”. Wambua, who is in Dubai on an official engagement, said Wiper was ready to embark on countrywide campaigns to popularise Kalonzo’s presidential bid.

“Time has run out for the so-called talks. Take it from me that we shall be on the ballot,” Wambua said in a telephone interview.

Contacted, Azimio La Umoja secretariat CEO Raphael Tuju was non committal on whether talks with Kalonzo were still on or not. “We are always in talks depending on the issue at hand. Our doors are open to everybody because we don’t want to leave anybody out,” said Tuju.

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