February 11, 2022 - 5 minutes read

As he demands a solid deal, Kalonzo could hold the cards

By John Ngirachu

Former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka was earlier this week given the greenlight by his Wiper party to negotiate pre-election deals. 

Not that he needed permission, as he has nevertheless been approached and is still in the One Kenya Alliance (OKA), but he has over time suggested that it will take more than permission to link up with another outfit. 

Mr Musyoka emerged third in the race for the presidency in 2007 and as the country was rocked by violence when Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner, the Wiper leader was appointed Vice President. 

He has since then assumed that the only option after that was to become President, but he has hardly found a home after being asked to take up another role by the duo of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto in the run-up to the 2017 poll. 

Mr Musyoka remained in the shadow of his presidential candidate, in subsequent polls, Raila Odinga, and was left grappling for relevance after the Handshake of 2018. He is the natural leader of OKA by virtue of his experience after the departure of Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula for William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza alliance. 

He has also apparently lost a significant part of his electorate in his backyard as Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu, Makueni Governor Prof Kivutha Kibwana and Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua have turned their support elsewhere. 

It is perhaps because of the disappointment with his erstwhile political allies that he has led OKA in demanding solid agreements before joining up with them. 

“We have always wanted to collapse a lot of these 80 or so political parties, a lot of them are going to coalesce into like One Kenya Alliance because right now we are four and counting. Others want to join what becomes of Azimio because right now it has not been registered,” said Mr Musyoka. 

The former Vice President has also suggested that he could go all the way in the race for the presidency and have his name on the ballot once again. 

If he does, he would join a number of candidates and politicians who see a run-off after either of the two leading candidates fails to reach the threshold for a win as a chance to get their seat at the table. 

In a country where an extension of the electioneering period means a further slowdown of the economy and delayed growth as investors wait to see who will take over the administration, a run-off would not be a good thing. 

Still, things will begin to fall in place once the nominations are done. Already, it is becoming apparent that the predicted exodus by Cabinet Secretaries keen to seek elective positions has not happened as only four have resigned on the deadline set in law. 

If Mr Odinga and his backers go ahead and formally register and then use the newly amended law to solidify an agreement with Mr Musyoka and OKA, it could add to his numbers and prevent a worrying extension of the electioneering period.

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