Minority Leader Francis Nyenze’s support for President Kenyatta’s bid for re-election is likely to increase the Jubilee Party’s confidence that it has made significant inroads in Kalonzo Musyoka’s backyard.
The video in which Mr Nyenze told a crowd at Kauwi in Kitui County to vote for President Kenyatta was first posted on Facebook on Saturday evening and by Sunday evening, it had been shared widely.
While Mr Nyenze had expressed the same position in off-the-record conversations in Parliament before, telling journalists that he has known President Kenyatta since their days in Kanu, Saturday was the first time he was saying it in public.
Already, Jubilee has welcomed five MPs from Wiper: Kisoi Munyao (Mbooni), Joe Mutambo (Mwingi Central), Regina Ndambuki (Kilome), Richard Makenga (Kaiti) and Mati Munuve (Mwingi North); and an additional four from other parties: Victor Munyaka (Machakos Town, CCU), Rachel Nyamai (Kitui South, Narc), Itwiku Mbai (Masinga, Ford-People) and Vincent Musyoka (CCU).
To these the party adds the support it has from Alfred Mutua’s Maendeleo Chap Chap, which has endorsed President Kenyatta’s re-election.
For his part, Mr Musyoka has consolidated support for Nasa by bringing into his camp Charity Ngilu, whose dalliance with Jubilee ended with her ejection from the Cabinet and prosecution on corruption-related charges.
The Nasa running mate has also brought to his side Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana, with his Chama Cha Muungano joining Wiper.
The contentious defection of Wavinya Ndeti would play to Mr Musyoka’s bid to silence Dr Mutua, whose rebellion within Wiper culminated in his forming the party that would eventually back President Kenyatta.
While the consolidation would help Mr Musyoka garner support for Raila Odinga, he has suffered some losses of close allies that would possibly trouble him.
These are in the form of the defections of Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama and his Kitui counterpart, David Musila.
Worse for Mr Musyoka is the fact that Mr Musila has also expressed support for President Kenyatta.
Mr Muthama is also busy fighting Ms Ndeti, who beat his preferred candidate, Bernard Kiala, in the Wiper party nominations but has faced problems in the form of a challenge to her party membership.
Mr Nyenze is yet to respond to inquiries for a follow-up on his remarks but for now, he has certainly given his party boss another basis for a headache.