‘If you don’t support Kalonzo in 2027, we’re not with you’ – Wavinya tells Raila

Written by on 15 February 2023

Machakos County Governor Wavinya Ndeti has called on Raila Odinga to support Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka for presidency in the 2027 general election.

Speaking in Kathiiani, Wavinya said Kalonzo has supported Raila enough and it is high time he returns the favour.

“”We have supported some people here for years and they have the audacity to look down on us. I am telling Kalonzo to tell Raila Odinga to follow him.

“This time support you (Raila) support Kalonzo Musyoka and I am telling you without fear or favour, if you cannot support him, we are not with you,” she said.

She added: “We have supported some people here for years and they have the audacity to look down on us.”

Wavinya’s remarks came days after key Ukambani leaders skipped Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya coalition rally at Mavoko, Machakos County on February 10.

Raila loses allies

Raila appears to have alienated his closest political associates after embarking on a series of weekly rallies to demand, among others, that President William Ruto step down.

Jubilee national vice-chairman Adan Keynan, one of Raila’s close allies, has for instance said he has no time to run around the streets and throw stones.

He was making an oblique reference to the weekly People’s Baraza that Azimio has been holding to put pressure on the government to reduce the cost of living and embrace a more inclusive method of picking electoral commissioners.

“We consulted and agreed that we must unite in the original Jubilee in which you were the last person to exit,” Keynan told a gathering in Nakuru attended by President Ruto.

He told the President to count on the Jubilee’s support in Parliament.

Other members of Jubilee in the rally were Sirisia MP John Waluke, Irene Njoki (Bahati), Nakuru West MP Samuel Arama, former Taveta MP Naomi Shaban and former Kitutu Chache North MP Jimmy Angwenyi.

Keynan, also the Eldas MP, is among key allies who have become lukewarm towards Raila in what appears the result of an onslaught by President Ruto, whose game plan appears to be to isolate Raila.

Raila is on record saying that he does not recognise Ruto as President.

Ruto, on the other hand, has been reaching out across the aisle to work with MPs allied with Azimio. Last week, he hosted nine from Nyanza and its Diaspora at State House Nairobi, a move that prompted Azimio to initiate disciplinary action against them.

The President has also reached out to Jubilee MPs who have indicated a willingness to decamp from Azimio to the ruling Kenya Kwanza.

Jubilee is led by retired President Uhuru Kenyatta. Ruto, who served as Kenyatta’s deputy, was a member until he defected ahead of last year’s election.

Besides politicians from Nyanza who met the President at State House on February 7, members of Jubilee had declared that they were willing to work with the Kenya Kwanza government.

And in what could further hurt Raila’s fortunes in Western Kenya, Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi and National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula have stepped up a campaign to win over elected Azimio leaders from the region to work with Kenya Kwanza.

Already some of Raila’s allies in Western have sent strong indications that they will work with Ruto.

Last week, Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong’o said it was better to have “fewer but committed” leaders in Azimio. He was referring to the number of Opposition leaders who had met the President or expressed interest in working with the government.

Key Azimio MPs have already indicated that they would not attend Raila’s rallies at which he has been raising questions about last year’s presidential election results.

“Kenya is facing very many challenges, ranging from hunger to drought, which needs urgent attention and not political demonstrations,” said Sirisia MP John Waluke, who appears to be switching allegiances.

He said being the chairman of western Kenya MPs, his focus was on peace and unity. Waluke said his constituency has many problems that he should concentrate on and that he had no time for rallies.

Other key Raila allies, such as trade unionist Francis Atwoli, former Kisii governor James Ongwae and MPs from northern Kenya and pastoralist communities, have sent signals that they are willing to work with Ruto.

This could further isolate the ODM leader who has finished the last four elections as the first runner-up.

Another key ally who has taken a low profile since the election is former Mombasa governor and Azimio’s Coast point man, Hassan Joho. He has largely been missing from Raila’s rallies. However, he has not made overt political statements.

Not so with disgruntled ODM chairman John Mbadi. He has expressed solidarity with the nine lawmakers from Nyanza and its Diaspora who visited President Ruto to “discuss development”.

Raila has dismissed the MPs flocking Ruto’s camp as “traitors”. His allies have also hit out at those showing mixed signals, accusing them of betraying the will of the people who voted them in.

Makueni MP Dan Maanzo yesterday accused the President of polarising the country through “poaching” of Azimio MPs.

“The country must have an opposition, and a vibrant one at that, and so buying MPs will only weaken democracy,” the Wiper MP, who is a close ally of Azimio principal Kalonzo Musyoka, told People Daily.

According to him, Ruto is seeking to attain the two-thirds majority required to amend the Constitution. “As a country, we should be worried about what he is doing. We will come to regret it when it’s too late.”

The President has defended himself saying he doesn’t require permission to meet leaders from across the aisle. He also said MPs from any party and region were free to work with him.

“I am the President of this country and I will work with anybody without minding which tribe, race or political party they belong to,” he said.

“Those who still think that they will continue holding us hostage with their personality cults, I want to tell them that their time is over. There will be no boundaries put by anybody.”

Reacting to the recent meetings between Opposition MPs and the President, ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna and National Assembly Minority leader Opiyo Wandayi have warned that the party will take disciplinary action against rebel MPs.

Already, steps to de-whip them have started. If concluded according to party plans, then those de-whipped will automatically lose their parliamentary seats.

Raila MPs

ODM lawmakers from Nyanza who met Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua at State House included Gideon Ochanda (Bondo), Mark Nyamita (Uriri), Caroli Omondi (Suba South), Felix Odiwuor alias Jalang’o, (Langata), Paul Abuor (Rongo), John Owino (Awendo), Elisha Odhiambo (Gem), Shakeel Shabir (Kisumu East, Independent) and Kisumu Senator Tom Ojienda.

Siaya Governor James Orengo and his Kisumu counterpart reacted with fury to the State House visit.

“It is sad that our people left us when we needed them most and joined the enemy,” said Orengo. “You don’t need to run away when your house is leaking or burning to seek refuge in a neighbour’s house.”

Wandayi said: “It’s wrong for our own soldiers to jump ship without consulting their bosses; that is a breach of the party doctrines and hence must be dealt with.”

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