The Star (Kenya)

How Mu­tua’s pres­i­den­tial bid poses tough test for Kalonzo

- JULIUS OTIENO @Juliu­so­tieno_04 Po­lit­i­cal re­porter

Machakos Governor Al­fred Mu­tua’s en­try into the grow­ing list of 2022 pres­i­den­tial as­pi­rants could pose a tough test for Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka.

Kalonzo has been the undis­puted po­lit­i­cal king­pin of the Ukam­bani re­gion and has en­joyed mas­sive sup­port of the com­mu­nity al­most to a man for decades.

He has been bank­ing on his grip on the vote-rich re­gion to strike al­liances that have kept him po­lit­i­cally afloat for decades, de­spite los­ing in the last two pres­i­den­tial races – as run­ning mate to Raila Odinga. How­ever, the for­mer and last Kenya’s Vice Pres­i­dent’s firm grip and in­flu­ence in the re­gion is now fac­ing a lit­mus test af­ter Governor Mu­tua an­nounced his pres­i­den­tial bid on Septem­ber 6.

“Kalonzo Musyoka is not just in a fix po­lit­i­cally but has been boxed into a cor­ner by Mu­tua and other gov­er­nors and politi­cians from the re­gion,” po­lit­i­cal ob­server Javas Bigambo said.

Bigambo said Kalonzo’s fate as the re­gion’s king­pin could be sealed if Mu­tua opts to work with the two gov­er­nors — Char­ity Ngilu (Ki­tui) and Kivutha Kib­wana (Makueni) to box him out. Kib­wana has also de­clared his in­ten­tion to run for Pres­i­dent.

“If at all governor Mu­tua would want to work with the other gov­er­nors from the re­gion, then the ques­tion would be, who is Kalonzo Musyoka ready to work with is?” he posed.

Kalonzo has fallen out with the all the three Ukam­bani gov­er­nors.

The Wiper boss has also fallen out with his long-term friend and fi­nancier for­mer Machakos Se­na­tor John­son Muthama, who has aban­doned him for Deputy Pres­i­dent Wil­liam Ruto.

“So far, we have seen all the other gov­er­nors os­cil­lat­ing away from him, which then is a wake up call to Kalonzo to see first how to con­sol­i­date the Kamba bloc and vote be­fore he moves out to seek sup­port from other re­gions,” Bigambo said.

The an­a­lyst added that Mu­tua will give Kalonzo a run for his money in the re­gion be­cause of his new style of pol­i­tics that ap­peals to the ma­jor­ity — the youth.

“He has adopted an Amer­i­can and Bri­tish style of pol­i­tics and de­liv­ery that seems to be miles ahead of Kalonzo’s flat ap­proach to his pub­lic com­mu­ni­ca­tions,” he ob­served.

Mu­tua is serv­ing his sec­ond and fi­nal term, for which he was re­elected on his Maen­deleo Chap Chap Party. This is af­ter he fell out with Kalonzo, on whose party he had won the 2013 governor race.

“It is time for Kenya to usher in a new dis­pen­sa­tion… a new pe­riod of bet­ter lead­er­ship and life. We need a new way of think­ing, of do­ing things and a new type of lead­ers,” Mu­tua said dur­ing his pres­i­den­tial bid launch in Mlo­longo in a thinly veiled at­tack on Kalonzo.

Kalonzo has also said he will not be any­body’s run­ning mate in 2022. “I will not just be a can­di­date but a for­mi­da­ble can­di­date,” he said in July.

Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Martin An­dati ob­serves that while Mu­tua’s pres­i­den­tial can­di­da­ture may not shake Kalonzo’s grip on the re­gion, it might jeop­ar­dise the lat­ter’s ne­go­ti­a­tions for po­lit­i­cal al­liances.

“Kalonzo is still the Ukam­bani king­pin. Mu­tua may not have such a big in­flu­ence apart from maybe desta­bil­is­ing him so that he can­not go out there to ne­go­ti­ate. If they fight each other in the com­mu­nity, that di­min­ishes Kalonzo’s chances of be­com­ing Pres­i­dent,” he said.

But Kalonzo’s al­lies have poured cold wa­ter on Mu­tua’s in­flu­ence, terming him a non-starter.

Makueni Se­na­tor Mu­tula Kilonzo Jr opined that while Mu­tua may en­joy sup­port in Machakos by virtue of his of­fice, it takes more to have a na­tional ap­peal.

“I per­son­ally think he is stalk­ing his claim for re­gional lead­er­ship in ad­vance and noth­ing more,” Kilonzo, who is the Wiper vice chair­man, said.

Makueni MP Daniel Maanzo and his Ma­voko coun­ter­part Pa­trick Makau also down­played the governor’s bid.

“Mu­tua can­not com­pli­cate any­thing for Kalonzo. He will not get more than 4,000 votes from Ukam­bani. Any­body who is a se­ri­ous pres­i­den­tial can­di­date can­not launch a bid so early,” Maanzo said.

The Wiper MP said Mu­tua is not in the cadre of se­ri­ous pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates, which ac­cord­ing to him, has only three politi­cians – ODM leader Raila Odinga, Deputy Pres­i­dent Wil­liam Ruto and Kalonzo.

“There is no sin­gle party, un­less it is in a coali­tion, that can rule this coun­try. By 2022, even if he still in­sists on run­ning on his party, he would be in­con­se­quen­tial as Mukaru Nganga and other pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates we have seen in the past,” Maanzo said.

“It is not about Rift Val­ley, Cen­tral or Ukam­bani. 2022 race must have coali­tions. if you are lucky to get into a good coali­tion, then it means you have a chance. In Kenya we know the big five (com­mu­ni­ties). So, it is upon you and me to know if Mu­tua is in the big 10 not even five,” Makau said.

 ??  ??
 ?? / CO­RA­ZON WAFULA ?? Machakos Governor Al­fred Mu­tua dur­ing the launch of his pres­i­den­tial bid at Athi River on Septem­ber 6
/ CO­RA­ZON WAFULA Machakos Governor Al­fred Mu­tua dur­ing the launch of his pres­i­den­tial bid at Athi River on Septem­ber 6
 ??  ?? More news on our web­site. Scan this quick re­sponse code us­ing your
More news on our web­site. Scan this quick re­sponse code us­ing your
 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kenya