OKA-Azimio talks rocked by Sh3b bribery claims
The prospects of Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka joining Azimio La Umoja Movement has been rocked by bribery claims with governors from Ukambani region claiming he is demanding billions of shillings for him to join Azimio.
With Kalonzo remaining noncommittal despite recent claims a deal was in the offing, governors Alfred Mutua (Machakos), Charity Ngilu (Kitui) and Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni) stirred the hornet’s nest at the weekend saying they were aware of secret financial demands issued before consideration to back Raila Odinga again for President in the coming elections.
“We are ready to work with whoever is willing to change the lives of Kenyans, but there are some people who have decided to sit on the fence and we know they are bargaining for money. We know they have asked for Sh3 billion to sell our Kamba community for their own interests,” said Mutua.
The county bosses spoke after they joined a team of professionals and businessmen supporting Raila for a meeting at Maanzoni hotel in Machakos on Saturday.
This came following reports of advanced talks between Kalonzo’s One Kenya Alliance (OKA) and Azimio although his allies have said he was not strongly interested in any deal with Raila’s camp. Other OKA leaders are Gideon Moi (Kanu), Martha Karua (Narc-Kenya) and Cyrus Jirongo (UDP).
Makueni MP Dan Maanzo, a close ally of Kalonzo, told People Daily the Wiper leader had not issued any monetary demands saying Raila must first acknowledge there was an existing agreement he was going to support Kalonzo.
“There is nothing like that. He is not that kind of a person who asks for money. We want Raila to come personally and tell our people why he cannot support him,” said the MP.
He dismissed the three governors as “clowns” who were pursuing selfish interests claiming they do not have any support on the ground. “Raila must stop trusting brokers and come to the ground and speak to the people,” Maanzo added.
Last Friday, Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo, who is also Wiper vice-chairman, said they were not in a hurry to join Azimio, an outfit he termed amorphous.
“We are not keen to be dragged into Azimio for now. We do not want to find ourselves in the same situation as Nasa,” said the senator.
On Saturday, however, Ngilu accused Kalonzo of holding the community hostage saying the time had come for him to release the Kamba people to support Raila’s presidency.
“Honestly if there is a person within our community who is still waiting for something so that he joins Azimio it’s not fair at all, and if he wants money let him come to the community and we shall fundraise and give him so that he can release our people because we need to go. Let him stop asking for money forthwith, even though we have poverty in our community, we still have some pride,” she said.
The Narc party leader said Kamba leaders should not bargain for themselves but should pursue opportunities in government, shared prosperity, representation in Cabinet and share of national resources.
Kibwana observed that the tough conditions held by the OKA chief before joining Azimio were dangerous for the posterity of the community.
“We are not against any leader or leaders joining the coalition but they should withdraw the many conditions. Because you can make many conditions and fail to be accepted in good faith. We don’t want to hear that you came late or early to Azimio. We want political maturity such that if you are in one place you remain there,” said Kibwana.
The OKA quartet, while on a tour of Likuyani constituency in Kakamega, revealed they were in talks with Azimio for a possible pre-coalition deal
“Negotiations are ongoing with Azimio people, negotiations are ongoing with Jubilee. We will negotiate because we are not cowards and nobody will force us to do anything,” said Jirongo, who was the host.
Political analyst and Chama Cha Uzalendo (CCU) party secretary-general Philipe Sadja said the infighting might affect Raila’s campaigns in the region and destroy the working relationships if not checked.
“The governors have been with Raila for long and the feeling that a Johnny-come-lately is holding some demands and asking for a token before he is admitted as if he has control for everything may affect voting patterns but not that much because people have already decided to support Azimio. The leaders should tone down their wrangles in spite of who is leading them or who is being consulted since they are all after a common goal of making Raila president,” said Sadja. The section of Ukambani professionals and business community received the governors nod to kick off the campaigns for Raila with the maiden activities set for Makueni where they will hold rallies at Makindu and Kikima in Mbooni constituency on Wednesday. The campaign trail will on a later date traverse Machakos and Kitui in what appears to be a calculated move to firm up their grip in Azimio formation.
Among the resolutions endorsed by the professionals and business community caucus supporting Azimio presidential candidate include: A commitment to engage Raila in tailoring communities’ economic blueprint and inclusion of the Kamba community in government through an MoU to be signed.
“We need to end the politics of negative competition and grandstanding among the leaders of the region and embrace teamwork and unity of purpose in the Kamba nation in national agenda and politics at national level,” read part of the resolutions.
The professionals affirmed the need to radically shift from the politics of seeking positions for individuals to new politics of seeking development.
The Kamba community has a population of five million people with 1.7 million registered voters and about 600,000 spread across the country and the globe.