You can’t beat Raila in 2022 election, Ngilu tells Kalonzo

Tuesday, October 19th, 2021 00:00 | By
Former Kitui governor Charity Ngilu
Former Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu. PHOTO/Courtesy

Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu yesterday told  Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka to swallow his pride and back former Prime Minister Raila Odinga for the presidency in next year’s election.

Ngilu claimed that Kalonzo does not have the political stamina to win the presidency.

“Kalonzo Musyoka is a good leader, and so are his One Kenya Alliance partners Musalia Mudavadi, Moses Wetangula and Gideon Moi. But they can’t beat Raila in terms of votes.

If we decide to go alone as the Kamba community, we will be disadvantaging ourselves needlessly,” she said.

The Narc leader’s endorsement of Raila is likely to reignite perennial rivalry between the governor and the former Vice-President. The two have been political rivals for decades.

“My prayer is that Kalonzo and his OKA team work with Raila because the government is being formed now and we risk losing out,” said Ngilu.

Ngilu, who is a fierce critic of Deputy President William Ruto, wants Raila and Kalonzo to stick together and come up with a working formula for next year’s election.

Speaking on an FM radio station, Ngilu accused Kalonzo’s advisers of misleading him.

The governor said Kilonzo’s supporters, who are insisting that he must run for the presidency, were only interested in advancing their political interests.

 “I ran for presidency (in 1997) and I did not win simply because our votes as a community are not enough to elevate one to presidency.

Kalonzo too ran in 2007 unsuccessfully but in 2013 and 2017, when he teamed up with Raila, they formed a formidable force that challenged the status quo,” he said.

Kalonzo has declared that he will go for nothing other than the presidency and rejected calls for him to back Raila who appears to be President Uhuru Kenyatta’s preferred successor.

“It will be unthinkable to support Odinga for the third time. I will be the most stupid person to once again support his bid without a measure of reciprocity,” Kalonzo stated.

Past elections

The former Vice-President did not rule out the possibility of working with the former premier in future, noting that he is ready to work with everyone in future if everything is put on the table.”

“I’m open to working with all but tell me why I should support Mr. Odinga for the third time,?” he posed.

“I don’t see any person convincing me to support him. I’d rather go back to Tseikuru (his rural home) than support him again. At the age of 67, this is my moment. I must run. If I don’t, when would I?” Kalonzo added.

This is not the first time Ngilu is endorsing presidential candidates who hail from outside the Ukambani region. In the 2002 election, she was part of the opposition coalition whose candidate was Mwai Kibaki, the eventual winner.

In 2007 election, she threw her weight behind Raila and in 2013, she backed the Jubilee Alliance of Uhuru and Ruto.

In 2017, Ngilu backed the National Super Alliance (Nasa) which lost to the ruling Jubilee. Kalonzo was Raila’s running mate in the alliance.

Machakos Governor Afred Mutua has also challenged Kalonzo to exit the national political scene to give way for young and visionary leaders to rescue the community from what he described as political bondage.

Mutua maintains that he is the best presidential candidate who can amass support in other regions.

“The time has expired for Kalonzo Musyoka, he cannot continue purporting to be a leader of Ukambani and I am calling upon my fellow leaders including governors Kivutha Kibwana, Ngilu, senators and MPs as well as religious leaders, professionals and business community to now have a strength to free our people from the yoke of mind control by Kalonzo,” Mutua said.

Criticism of Kalonzo in his backyard intensified following Wiper party’s loss in last week’s by election in Nguu/Masumba ward.

 An independent candidate backed by Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana won the seat, followed by a UDA candidate. Wiper’s candidate came third.

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