Inside Chaos in Azimio Before Raila’s Kamukunji Rally 

  • Raila
    Azimio party leader Raila Odinga arrives for a rally at the Kamukunji grounds in Nairobi on Monday, January 23, 2023.
    Raila Odinga
  • As Raila Odinga seeks to transform himself as the enigma of Kenyan politics, his former close ally, Chirau Ali Mwakwere, watered down his ambitions as reverberations of a stone thrown into a deep well. 

    Despite Raila appearing hell-bent on countering William Ruto, who warned that he would not be cowed into submission, Mwakwere - also known as Zipapa - believes that Raila lost his calling. 

    Mwakwere’s resignation as Wiper Party’s chairman brought into the limelight the utter confusion and division within Azimio. Despite declining to speak on behalf of other officials, it was evident that the crisis within Azimio was being kept under wraps.

    This was evidenced by Mwakwere urging Wiper and ODM officials to quit Azimio as it was allegedly a ship teetering on the brink of collapse. 

    Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka receiving former Wiper party chairman Chirau Ali Mwakwere to the party in March 2017.
    Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka receiving former Wiper party chairman Chirau Ali Mwakwere to the party in March 2017.
    Twitter
    Kalonzo Musyoka

    In an exclusive interview with Kenyans.co.ke on Tuesday, January 24, Mwakwere detailed that he resigned on December 24, 2022, despite the news being reported widely on Monday, January 23. 

    Why Did He Resign?

    “I resigned when my former party leader, Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka, was celebrating his birthday. I had given him an ultimatum. Either Wiper leaves Azimio or I quit. 

    “What is happening in Azimio can be termed crazy. It is not appropriate for the country. I don’t want to be treated like a donkey with my political seniority. Being shoved left, right and centre without a purpose,” he stated. 

    “I am not interested in others joining or resigning from Azimio - my work is not to shepherd or watch over them,” he added. 

    Raila Not Recognising Ruto as President 

    According to Mwakwere, Raila’s Kamukunji rallies are meaningless. He argued that the Supreme Court already declared its verdict and upheld President William Ruto’s victory.

    Wafula Chebukati also retired as the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairperson, sealing Raila’s fate - according to Mwakwere. 

    “Kamukunji is meaningless. It will not achieve what people think it can. What happened is irreversible. There is nothing relevant that will come out of the whistleblower hullabaloo.

    “What will the whistleblower give you yet Chebukati retired and the elections cannot be redone. The Supreme Court pronounced its ruling publicly,” he argued. 

    Mwakwere added that Raila and Kalonzo had the whistleblower's exposé before, yet they waited for the ruling and Chebukati’s exit. 

    “For what end? The winner has the trophy, and it’s all just but crying a river when you do not recognise the winner,” he added. 

    Outcomes of the Kamukunji Rallies 

    Mwakwere opined that Raila’s rallies and ambitions would only be good for history books and biographies, would be used by political science students studying for PhDs or justify the review of the Elections Act and other legislation. 

    “I know what they have in mind, and their strategies will not help anyone,” he trolled Kalonzo and Raila. 

    Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka praying at The City of Refuge Church in Thika, Kiambu County on Sunday, January 15, 2023.
    Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka praying at The City of Refuge Church in Thika, Kiambu County on Sunday, January 15, 2023.
    Facebook
    Kalonzo Musyoka

    The fallout 

    Mwakwere claimed that joining Azimio was not well thought out. Kalonzo allegedly did not agree with some Wiper officials prior to joining Azimio.

    A few days before, Kalonzo argued that he would be the stupid person to support Raila for the third time. This saw him again labeled ‘A Watermelon’ owing to his wavering stances.

    “When it doesn’t suit them, I become a watermelon. This country wasn’t made to suit the aspirations of a few people. We all belong to Kenya. 

    “I said for the third time, now if people asked me if I would support Raila Odinga 20 times, I would, I will if that’s what it would mean to keep this nation together,” Kalonzo refuted that he was indecisive in an interview in March 2022. 

    However, according to Mwakwere, Kalonzo is non-consultative. 

    The Underlying Issues (Viongozi wa Peremende)

    Raila and Kalonzo, according to Mwakwere, were riding on the pride of being Prime Minister and Vice President, respectively. 

    He argued that they were viongozi wa peremende (leaders enticed with good tidings or sweets), in reference to the 2010 Grand Coalition Government. 

    Musalia Mudavadi, he argued, was the only politician who could proudly boast of achieving the fate of being a Prime Chief Secretary - equivalent to the Prime Minister role. 

    President William Ruto and Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi share a light moment during a meeting with elected leaders from Western Kenya on December 8, 2022.
    President William Ruto and Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi share a light moment during a meeting with elected leaders from Western Kenya on December 8, 2022.

    “Why? He was with Ruto before the elections were called. He was part of the manifesto and campaigned vigorously for the President. Kalonzo Musyoka, in 2007, had his own party, ODM-Kenya and his own manifesto. Raila had ODM and his own agenda.

    “There was pressure from both camps when they announced Kibaki as the winner. I was with Kibaki then in the Party of National Unity (PNU), and I can assure you that we strategically brought Kalonzo and Raila on board,” Mwakwere alleged. 

    PNU reportedly needed bills passed in Parliament. It thus brought Kalonzo on board first to win his numbers. 

    “Kalonzo demanded the Vice President’s slot. He had not worked for it. Raila was made Prime Minister in the 2010 Grand Coalition government. They were not part of the winning team.

    “They did not advance themselves to those positions. Kibaki gave them sweets to calm them down - incentives. The two should thank Kibaki,” he argued despite former United Nation’s Secretary General, Kofi Anna, mediating between Kibaki and Raila after the 2007 clashes. 

    Solutions to Raila’s Kamukunji Rallies 

    Mwakwere advised all Wiper, and ODM members to quit Azimio and start their own outfit. ODM and Wiper were incapable of leading the country, he opined. 

    “Azimio failed in its mission. Yes, Narc succeeded in 2022 but it was put aside for another outfit in 2007. I have been an ambassador for 15 years. 12 and a half under Moi and 2 and a half under Uhuru. 

    “I was a Cabinet Minister for 10 years, and Chief Executive in KANU. I can confidently state that there will be no peremende government. Make Kenya safe, and let Kalonzo and Raila ask us to advise them,” he argued. 

    On Monday, January 23, Raila Odinga argued that he was not interested in a handshake with Ruto. He did not recognise the Kenya Kwanza government and Ruto as president and demanded an audit of IEBC’s infrastructure and 2022 election records.

    "We demand Kenya Kwanza government resigns as it has neither the mandate nor the ability to govern the country and our people to say no to the UDA regime. 

    “This regime and its unfortunate and unfair policies must be resisted and the resistance starts today," Raila declared.

    Raila Odinga's motorcade snakes through the crowd as it makes way intoi Kamukunji Grounds on January 23, 2023. .jpg
    Raila Odinga arrives at Kamukunji Grounds on January 23, 2023.
    Raila Odinga