Ukambani leaders clash over planned BBI meeting
Friday, February 21st, 2020
By Mutuku Mwangangi
A political showdown is looming in Ukambani after Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana maintained that he will not allow a rally by the Wiper Party to drum up support for the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) to be held in his county.
The Kalonzo Musyoka-led party has announced that it will hold a public education rally on BBI at Unoa grounds in Wote, the headquarters of Makueni county.
Makueni senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr on Tuesday declared that no one will stop the meeting scheduled for March 6, urging residents to turn up in numbers.
Mutula spoke during a burial of a Machakos businessman John Kang’aatu, an event was attended by Kalonzo and Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua.
But Kibwana yesterday held that the rally will not take place. “There are people who are planning to come here and disturb us. I have told Kalonzo, Mutula and (Dan) Maanzo to keep off my county,” said Kibwana.
Maanzo, a close ally of Kalonzo, is the MP for Makueni and is set to be the host of the BBI rally.
Kibwana yesterday vowed that people of Makueni will tell Kalonzo to his face that he had no development record and that they were busy organising the 7th Devolution Conference to be held in the county next month.
Kibwana and Kitui’s Charity Ngilu have in the past hosted BBI meetings. The most recent was in Kitui, which was turned into a ground for supremacy fights between Ngilu and Kalonzo.
The Makueni Governor has accused Kalonzo of being “cold and slow in decision making”.
“If they want to go to Ruto, let them go,” said the governor in reference to recent comments by former Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama of a possible alliance between Kalonzo and Deputy President William Ruto.
Kibwana and Kalonzo fell out in 2018 over what the governor calls “irreconcilable differences”.
Kalonzo had also fallen out with Ngilu and Mutua but the Machakos governor on Tuesday indicated that they had buried the hatchet.
“They will not bring political nonsense here in Makueni. And if they want to kick me out of Wiper to orchestrate a by-election, let them make true their threat. We are not scared,” Kibwana told People Daily.
Kibwana’s utterances have attracted different reactions from his political foes with former Makueni County Assembly Majority leader Francis Muso saying the governor’s move would cost him politically.
“Makueni is not a property of Kibwana, let him dare make his threats true and disrupt our meeting which will go on as planned,” said Muso, who is the Wiper chairman in Makueni county.
Kalonzo has so far reached out to Maanzo to ensure the rally takes off as planned.
The Wiper leader and Mutua parted ways in 2014 when the governor, who was elected on a Wiper party ticket walked out citing lack of internal democracy, and formed his own political vehicle, Maendeleo Chap Chap Party (MCC-P) with whose ticket he was re-elected in 2017.
Mutua’s exit left Kalonzo with only one Wiper elected governor, Julius Malombe of Kitui who was elbowed out by Ngilu of Narc in the 2017 General Election.
Kibwana would in 2017 ditch his Muungano party for Wiper rising to the position of national chairman. But Kalonzo’s unity with Kibwana would be short-lived. The governor resigned as the Wiper chairman citing “irreconcilable differences”.
In January 2019, Mutua, Ngilu and Kibwana announced formation of people’s empowerment movement whose aim was to eradicate poverty in the Lower Eastern counties. The three governors would announce that they were the “undisputed leaders” of Ukambani. The declaration opened the ring for a supremacy battle between them and the former VP.
Mutua has, however, called for unity amongst Ukambani leaders.
Kalonzo has been playing the diplomatic card, saying he has forgiven everyone who wronged him.