Kenya: Musyoka quits party to vie for presidency after Karua named Raila’s running mate

By Victor Abuso

Posted on Thursday, 19 May 2022 12:17, updated on Monday, 20 June 2022 11:41
Kalonzo Musyoka (rt) and his running mate Andrew Sunkuli (lt)(twitter/@skmusyoka)
Kalonzo Musyoka (rt) and his running mate Andrew Sunkuli (lt)(twitter/@skmusyoka)

After losing the nomination to Martha Karua, former vice-president and the Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka has announced that he has quit Raila Odinga’s Azimio la Umoja coalition to vie for the presidency in the August polls.

Musyoka says he has decided to end his political relationship with Raila as he was not named the Azimio running mate.

“We have agreed to go our separate ways,”  Musyoka said on 16 May when he announced his State House bid.

Raila’s promise to appoint Kalonzo as his chief cabinet secretary – if he wins the elections – did not soften Musyoka’s resolve to leave, despite President Uhuru Kenyatta’s efforts to break the deadlock failed.

“I wish him [Raila Odinga] well with his running mate [Martha Karua],” Musyoka said.

Mounting pressure

However, the new presidential candidate is now under pressure to return to the Azimio la Umoja coalition as Kenyan media report that high level talks are taking place to convince him back.

Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu (a Raila ally), who hails from Musyoka’s backyard of Eastern Kenya, says if the former vice president proceeds to vie for country’s top seat, he will not succeed. “He should come back to Azimio, as quickly as he can,” she says.

Dan Maanzo, Musyoka’s close ally, has hinted at the possibility of the former vice president reconsidering his decision if the promised position of chief minister is signed into the coalition agreement.

“All cards must be on the table for further negotiations,” he told NTV.

Two-week deadline

Musyoka’s party, which had initially threatened to go to court to seek a withdrawal from the Azimio coalition, has held off to allow for talks.

Raila has given Musyoka two weeks to reconsider his chief minister position offer, ahead of the official campaigning period that begins at the end of May.

Paulo Nzioki, who supports Musyoka, says he is disappointed that his favorite politician might be left behind if he does not reconsider his position and come back to support Raila. “He should just accept the chief minister post and support [Raila] Odinga.”

He [Musyoka] knows he is safe with [Raila] Odinga. I will not be surprised to see him back.

However, not everyone believes he should come back to Raila. Jupiter Mayaka, another Musyoka supporter, says he (Musyoka) should proceed with his plans to seek the presidency. “I know he can’t win now, but he should just be on the ballot.”

In March, Musyoka announced his support for Raila’s third bid for the presidency, despite previous declarations that he would not support him.

Based on this, Wycliffe Odera, a Kisumu-based political analyst, believes that it’s just a matter of time before Musyoka announces his way back to Raila’s camp. “He [Musyoka] knows he is safe with [Raila] Odinga. I will not be surprised to see him back.”

If he does not change his mind or if the talks fail, it will be the second time Musyoka has tried his luck to become president of Kenya, after his first attempt in 2007 where he finished third.

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