Genuine fear or 2022 realignment politics? Intrigues behind governor’s claims

Friday, December 27th, 2019 11:00 | By
ODM leader Raila Odinga (centre) with Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua and his Kitui counterpart Charity Ngilu during campaigns for the ODM candidate ahead of the November 7 parliamentary by-election. Photo/PD/FILE

Emeka-Mayaka Gekara

Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua’s sensational claim on the threat in which he has dragged Deputy President William Ruto and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s names is likely to be attributed to the ongoing political realignment ahead of 2022 General Election. 

The timing—a week after former Machakos senator Johnstone Muthama’s declaration that a handshake between Ruto and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka is in the offing—raises political antennae.

Yesterday, Mutua accused Ruto, National Assembly Leader of Majority Aden Duale and his Senate counterpart Kipchumba Murkomen of threatening him at a State House meeting on the eve of Jamhuri Day.

It is worth noting that the alleged threat at the dinner came after Mutua, who shortly before arrival at State House had issued a statement rubbishing the Ruto-Kalonzo alliance, accused Muthama and the Wiper leader of being used to “auction the Kambas in every election.” 

Mutua was among two governors who attended the December 11 dinner hosted by President Uhuru Kenyatta for Barbados premier Mia Amor Mottley. The other was Kirinyaga’s Anne Waiguru. 

The governor, who has declared he will contest the 2022 presidential election, has been sizing himself up to wrest Ukambani region from Kalonzo. 

Lately, the governor, a fierce critic of Kalonzo’s, seems to have reached a pact with Raila, who dumped Kalonzo, a co-principal in the Nasa formation, and struck a deal with Uhuru after the 2017 elections. 

Kibra campaigns

Mutua’s new-found alliance with Raila played out during campaigns for  the November Kibra by-election in which Mutua alongside the other two Ukambani governors—Charity Ngilu (Kitui) and Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni)—teamed up to campaign for ODM candidate Imran Okoth, who eventually won the poll.

During the campaign, Mutua led the crowds in a song which depicted Ruto as a beneficiary of graft and demanded a lifestyle audit. The three Ukambani governors abandoned Kalonzo for Raila, a move that could enable the ODM leader remain influential in region even minus the Wiper leader.

According to Prof. Ken Onkware, a philosophy don at Masinde Muliro University, Ukambani politics cannot be ruled out of Mutua’s claims.

“It is a serious and security matter he raised, but one would be naïve to rule out the obvious supremacy battle between Mutua and Kalonzo. By making those allegations, Mutua could be timed to paint a possible Kalonzo-Ruto alliance in bad light in Ukambani,” he said.

“If the threats are credible, then Mutua is being beaten into submission. He is being forced to remain on Kalonzo’s side because if they continue differing, he will be a sort of kingpin playing in the same league with Kalonzo.”

The don argues that Raila’s move to abandon Kalonzo coupled with the dissent by the three Ukambani governors has injured the former Vice President’s fortunes in Ukambani, which he said could have catalysed a possible alliance with Ruto to give the Wiper leader a political lifeline.

There have also been suggestions that Mutua could be positioning himself as Raila’s possible running mate should the former PM decide to contest the presidency in 2022.

The governor is among county chiefs who have won the favour of the President, who has made several trips to Machakos to launch national projects, including the Affordable Housing Scheme launched just last week, Huduma Namba, the medical equipment leasing scheme and the Last Mile power programme.

Speaking to the People Daily yesterday, Mutua attributed the alleged threat to his stand on corruption and 2022 presidential ambitions.

“I have been outspoken on integrity and corruption. I have spoken about churches being used to launder money. I have spoken about poverty in Kenya and the history of some of our leaders,” he said. 

“My declaration that I will run for presidency has made some individuals uncomfortable because it represents a clear and present danger to their ambitions,” he added.

Seeking attention

According to Mutua, his opponents are uncomfortable with his relationship with the President and his dalliance with Raila.

“They were even uncomfortable with me before my new bond with Raila. They are the same ones who sponsored my opponent Wavinya Ndeti,” he said. 

But Murkomen and Duale dismissed Mutua’s death claims as attention-seeking stunts (see separate story above).

Mutua accused the two of being economical with the truth.

“They are not denying that they threatened me. Instead, they are attacking my character because they know what I am saying is the truth,” he told People Daily.

Last week, Muthama accused Raila of abandoning Kalonzo after the last election. 

Speaking with a local FM station, Muthama accused  Odinga of being thankless to Musyoka and the Kamba community despite having stood with him for 10 years in the past two presidential elections.

 “To bring governors Alfred Mutua, Charity Ngilu and Kivutha Kibwana on board was a scheme to frustrate  Musyoka, and stop him from pursuing an MoU they signed for Raila to back him in 2022,”  Muthama said.

He accused the President using some individuals to paint the Deputy President as corrupt with the aim of shunning him in 2022.

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