What Ngilu-Kalonzo unity deal means for Ukambani
The closing of political ranks between Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka and his long-time political rival Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu has shifted focus to the dissenting voices in Ukambani region.
For many years, Ukambani politics has been defined by the political rivalry between Mr Musyoka and Mrs Ngilu who has fully thrown her weight behind his bid for presidency in 2022.
With the two senior politicians in the region now singing the same tune, those opposed to the Kamba unity deal will struggle to shout louder for their voices to attract significant support.
Mr Musyoka, who rallied leaders from his Kamba community to a conference in Machakos County on Monday, said he will not sacrifice his political ambitions once again in favour of any other candidates. Last year, he dropped his presidential ambitions to support Mr Odinga, who flew the Nasa flag at the ballot.
“I was the main voice opposed to our son in the past but now am fully behind him. We must all join hands in working towards a solid Kamba block vote and allow him to start engaging other communities early enough” Mrs Ngilu said.
The governor said she will ensure that there is no room for a second political force in Ukambani and urged Mr Musyoka to leave the home ground for her to polish as he hunts for votes in other regions.
Wiper and Narc have been cooperating for the last two years and have since entered a post-election agreement to help Mrs Ngilu party which has minority numbers in the Kitui county assembly to deliver on her manifesto.
There are two distinct political camps seeking to inherit and assume the role Mrs Ngilu played in opposing Mr Musyoka, one led by Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua of Maendeleo Chap Chap party while the other consists of the three MPs elected on Jubilee ticket.
Dr Mutua and the three Jubilee MPs Victor Munyaka (Machakos Town), Rachael Nyamai (Kitui South) and Nimrod Mbai (Kitui East) did not attend the Monday’s Kamba leaders meeting.
However, they are known to pull from different directions with the Mr Mutua insisting on running for president in 2022 while the MPs are rooting for Deputy President William Ruto’s bid.
Mrs Ngilu and her Makueni counterpart Prof Kivutha Kibwana downplayed the challenge posed by the two groups as politically inconsequential to the Kamba unity bid.
Prof Kibwana likened to the two groups as “naïve young bulls trying to incorrectly imitating their seniors in mating” and that they should be allowed to practice the game.
“In every livestock yard, there is the senior bull that sires the mature cows, in the same yard, you will find immature young bulls trying to replicate what they see their seniors doing” Mr Kibwana said in an apparent reference to Dr Mutua's presidential bid.
Amid laughter from the crowd, the law professor said just as the big bulls in the yard are never bothered by the small ones, such political antics and the small noises are not a bother to Mr Musyoka.
He said those who did not turn up for the meeting should not be treated as enemies because it is their right to have a contrary opinion and that the Kamba unity was not for purposes of fighting any leader.
Prof Kibwana differed with former Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama who suggested that those who declined the invitation to the Komarock meeting be declared enemies of the Kamba community, saying they are our sons and daughters learning the political ropes from their seniors, only in the wrong way.
Dr Mutua released a statement on Sunday branding the Komarock meeting as a Wiper party affair which he would not want to associate with.
He said he was not consulted in the planning stage and that Mr Musyoka should not have allowed a polarizing figure like Mr Muthama to host the meeting at his ranch yet he knows the differences he has with many Kamba leaders.
On his part, former Mwingi central MP Joe Mutambu said the Jubilee wing in the region will soon convene a similar come together for leaders and clergy who support them, to have their voices heard as well.
Mr Mutambu said contrary to assertions that they had been invited, they were not contacted by the organizers and that they would have turned down the call.
The leaders who gathered at Komarock Primary School grounds reaffirmed the unity of the community behind Mr Musyoka and urged him concentrate on revamping his party.