Kenya: Will Musyoka return to Raila or take up Ruto’s offer?

By Victor Abuso
Posted on Thursday, 26 May 2022 12:00, updated on Tuesday, 28 June 2022 11:28

Kalonzo Musyoka (twitter: @TheWiperParty)
Kalonzo Musyoka (twitter: @TheWiperParty)

Just a week after Kalonzo Musyoka announced his exit from Raila Odinga's Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition, Deputy President William Ruto has seized the moment to offer him a place within his Kenya Kwanza Alliance, even as allies urge the Wiper party leader to return to his original camp.

Musyoka announced his intention to vie for president after Raila named Martha Karua his running mate. Consequently, on 24 May, his allies held an emergency meeting  to chart a way forward.

They voted overwhelmingly (45 to five) against Musyoka’s departure. “We have agreed that our leader will reconsider his position,” Robert Mbui , the organising secretary, said after the vote.

Musyoka’s allies want their leader to have a structured dialogue with Raila’s coalition party and resolve any internal disputes among them.

Raila has offered to appoint Musyoka as chief minister, if he wins the August elections, and has given him two weeks to reflect on the offer.

Legality of new position

Dan Maanzo, a close confidant of Musyoka, also wants him to reconsider his decision even as the Wiper Party questions the legality of the offer from Azimio. “There is a need for some modification to the legal position.”

A group of professionals and religious leaders from the Ukambani region – Musyoka’s home area – have also asked him to reconsider his decision to break ties with Raila’s coalition warning that, if he vies for the presidency, he could force a runoff.

“We know that being a person of integrity and great humility, he will consider this type of plea and return to the negotiating table with Azimio for the sake of Kenya,” the group said.

There have been closed-door meetings believed to have been led by President Uhuru Kenyatta to persuade Musyoka, who has travelled to the United Kingdom for a private visit, to return to the Azimio coalition.

Bad advice?

However, on Monday 23 May, Musyoka presented signatures – to the electoral commission – of supporters backing his presidential bid,  perhaps an indication that he is still in the race to vie for the presidency.

Professor Makau Mutua, Raila’s ally and coalition spokesman, said on Twitter: “Musyoka has three advisors who’ve misled him. The trio aren’t good for him.”

 

On the other hand, Ruto – a formidable candidate in the August election – has seized the opportunity to urge Musyoka to abandon any plans of returning to the Azimio coalition.

“We ask him [Kalonzo Musyoka] to join us, to help us form a government,” the deputy president said at a campaign rally in Machakos County.

‘Mood of reflection’

Musyoka has not reacted to the mounting pressure on him to change his position, only saying through his Twitter account that he is in a mood of reflection. “It’s been a while; time for reflection,” he said.

Professor Herman Manyora, a political analyst and lecturer from the University of Nairobi, says Musyoka is in a tight political corner. “He is safe with [Raila] Odinga, he will eventually be back,” he says.

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