Will Kalonzo Go At It Alone Or Decide To Join Raila Or DP Ruto?

Written by on 25 February 2022

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka continues to keep everyone guessing, leaving all of three questions unanswered to date; will he go it alone and run for president on a Wiper party ticket? Will he support Deputy President William Ruto or will he throw his weight behind Azimio la Umoja and Raila Odinga?

At 68, Kalonzo has widely been described as a potential kingmaker but he has often fired back that he can also be the king.

Kalonzo strongly detests the narrative of a two-horse-race; to the Ukambani political supremo, ‘two-horse’ is a familiar term that often means someone somewhere loses out.

For two elections in a row, Kalonzo backed one of two horses – Raila Odinga – by settling for the position of running mate, but this time he seems to be playing for among other things, swapping places with the horses.

On March 27, 2017, Kalonzo said during a political address that: “Now look at me, at 63 years of age, why would I delay the decision to become president? Why?”

But it is not the first time he has sworn by his age.

In 2017, he convinced his supporters that he had learnt his lesson after the 2013 election and eventually offered his support to Odinga once more, that time with a rider, that come 2022, Odinga would be off the table.

In June 2021, Kalonzo could not afford to repeat what he then saw as a mistake.

“I would be the most stupid fellow on earth to go and support, for the third time, a presidential candidate without a measure of reciprocity,” he said during an interview then.Reciprocity. What would that entail?

Kalonzo has found a new shelter in the One Kenya Alliance (OKA), working with KANU’s Gideon Moi, NARC-Kenya’s Martha Karua and Cyrus Jirongo of UDP. But they have been talking.

“We’re talking to everybody, but I can tell you, without any fear of contradiction, even those talks have not begun,” said Kalonzo.

At his Ukambani backyard, three governors have already endorsed ODM’s Raila Odinga for the top seat and have been pushing Kalonzo to embrace Azimio la Umoja.

Kalonzo is now caught in between managing the expectations of his supporters, those of One Kenya Alliance, and the political reality of the 2022 presidential election.

“Kila mtu anajua sasa that Dr. Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka is not somebody to ignore. You’re not going to take us to Azimio by force, you will not, No,” said Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr during a recent function.

When recently Kalonzo was sighted in a meeting with Odinga, suspicion was rife that something was in the works. But Kalonzo once again pressed the waiting game button.

“Nitawaambia nisupport safari hii…kama hutanisupport, twende kwa debe, si namna hiyo? Eeh, Kenya ni yetu sisi sote,” he said.

Kalonzo commands substantive influence in Ukambani region, which according to latest numbers from IEBC has over 1.6 million registered voters.

It is a sizeable vote that neither horse – Raila Odinga or Wiliam Ruto – can afford to ignore.

Calculating to keep the chase interesting, Kalonzo continues to keep his cards close to his chest, save for an occassional hint here and there.

Recent opinion polls show Kalonzo trailing both Ruto and Odinga. Should One Kenya Alliance choose to work with Azimio la Umoja, there are serious questions they must find answers for.

Odinga’s Azimio la Umoja brings together ODM and the Jubilee Party. President Uhuru Kenyatta of Jubilee has already endorsed Odinga for the top seat.

Jubilee is said to be keen on producing Odinga’s running mate, but Kalonzo appears keen to add the spin to the fan.

“In particular, we’re talking to President Uhuru Kenyatta, you may be thinking he’s going away but he’s busy strengthening Jubilee….I need his vote, as well as everubody else,” he said.

Should Kalonzo agree to work with Raila through Kenyatta, what position shall he get? What shall he tell his supporters after playing hard to get for several weeks?

“Wanasema Kalonzo na Gideon Moi mtake mistake lazima muingie Azimio, ni watu gani hawa? Kwanza hii Azimio yazimia. NiLisema tutazungumza, hakuna haraka….haraka ya nini?” He posed last week at the Coast.Less than five days later, another hint.

“I have been keen on what Azimio has been saying, and it seems like we’re singing the same language of national unity, what we want is honest and structured conversation,” he said on Thursday.

He is keeping the country guessing, but some of his OKA partners have made clear their intentions.

“The media will come up with amazing headlines; the indecisive kingmaker, why is it that wananiangalia tu mimi peke yangu? What are you in a hurry to do? This time round we will get this equestion right,” Kalonzo added.

And so the buffalo soldier sings along to the tune, he is no dreadlock rasta, but Kalonzo soldiers on, fighting for survival in the heart of Kenya’s politics.

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