Crisis in Azimio as Kalonzo's Presidential Bid Nears Approval

  • President Uhuru Kenyatta (left), Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka (centre) and ODM leader Raila Odinga (left) at Jubilee NDC at KICC on Saturday, February 26, 2022
    President Uhuru Kenyatta (left), Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka (centre) and ODM leader Raila Odinga (left) at Jubilee NDC at KICC on Saturday, February 26, 2022
  • A blame game has erupted in the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party after Raila Odinga's presidential secretariat accused a section of lawmakers of misadvising Wiper leader, Kalonzo Musyoka.

    Makau Mutua, the Raila Odinga presidential secretariat spokesman, accused Senators, Mutula Kilonzo Jr (Makueni), Enoch Wambua of Kitui, and MP Dan Maanzo of Makueni of deliberately misleading Kalonzo in the Azimio deal.

    In his argument, Mutua stated that what Raila had offered Kalonzo in the deal was good enough, arguing that the three Legislators were out to scuttle the gains made by Azimio.

    “Kalonzo has three advisors who have misled him. The trio are not good for him. The three are ruining his political career and future. He should ditch them. Democracy is about give-and-take. This is what extremists don’t understand,” Makau stated.

    An image of Makau Mutua
    Professor Makau Mutua at a past event.

    However, Mutula, differed with Makau, arguing that Azimio was operating in secrecy and did not mean well for Kalonzo. This did not move Mutua as he went ahead to claim that the three had a plan to end Kalonzo's political career.

    “I strongly suggest you listen carefully to the commenters. The people are speaking to you. Open your eyes and ears. Unless you want to send Kalonzo into political oblivion/political Siberia!” He added. 

    Mutula has been pushing for Kalonzo’s demands to be met before agreeing to support the presidential bid of Raila.

    Kalonzo’s camp wants the Chief Minister position offered by Raila to be documented, further demanding a 30 per cent stake in government. 

    This was after Raila settled for Narc Kenya party leader, Martha Karua, as his running mate, rather than Kalonzo, forcing the latter to announce that he would vie for the presidency. He further named Andrew Sunkuli as his running mate. 

    “Picking on the three of us will not get you sympathy. If you doubt, come to Wote,” Mutula urged Mutua to visit the Ukambani region to witness the purported support for Kalonzo.

    "Prof, in 2017 you deliberately misadvised Kalonzo and witnessed the signing of a deal with Raila which you later disowned. You have no locus to lecture us on how to relate with our leader. You are paid to advise Raila. And you have already advised him that he does not need Kalonzo," Senator Wambua added. 

    The argument between the two came at the backdrop of confusion between the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP) and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) over Kalonzo’s presidential bid. 

    ORPP wrote to IEBC asking it not to clear Kalonzo for the presidency. It underlined that Wiper had not exhausted the dispute mechanisms outlined in the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya coalition party’s constitution. 

    IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati addresses the media at a press conference in August 2021

    Any party seeking to leave Azimio has to do so within 90 days, meaning Kalonzo is time-barred.

    However, Wafula Chebukati-led IEBC argued that it will clear Kalonzo to run for presidency upon establishing that he had complied with the Elections Act.

    According to the Political Parties Act, a party seeking to exit a coalition must do so through the mechanisms provided for by the coalition.

    In the case of Azimio One Kenya, any party seeking to leave must issue a 90-day notice after which the party organs are supposed to sit and determine whether to grant the request.