Azimio team readies for Kalonzo Musyoka return as negotiations continue

Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka

Azimio presidential aspirant Raila Odinga (right) and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party is preparing for the return of Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka to its fold, with plans to incorporate his allies into the presidential campaign teams established on Monday.

Top officials of the coalition that is led by former prime minister Raila Odinga and which has the backing of President Kenyatta were yesterday upbeat that Mr Musyoka would reconsider his position for a solo run and throw his weight behind Mr Odinga.

Coming hot on the heels of the decision by Wiper aspirants on Monday that Mr Musyoka stays put in Azimio, Mr Odinga’s camp has already rolled out a red carpet for the former vice President, and is ready to involve him and his teams in the presidential campaigns.

This, even as Mr Musyoka’s allies said they were ready for a “structured dialogue” to hammer out a final deal. Mr Odinga has set up 16 teams to spearhead his presidential campaigns across the country.

Ruto to Raila: You betrayed Kalonzo Musyoka

Another parallel team to be spearheaded by his running mate, Ms Martha Karua, sources intimated to the Nation, will also be unveiled to tackle Mt Kenya region, which is crucial to Mr Odinga’s run. Azimio Secretary-General Junet Mohamed told the Nation yesterday that Mr Musyoka was welcome to the fold, saying he was confident that talks to win over the Wiper leader would be concluded soon.

Already, Mr Odinga has offered Mr Musyoka the proposed Chief Cabinet Secretary post, which will reportedly be tasked with supervisory leadership of projects undertaken by various ministries.

“So far, there is nothing serious in terms of our engagement but I’m sure and confident we are going to conclude this matter. We will involve them in our campaign teams and we welcome them back to Azimio,” Mr Mohamed said.

National Assembly Deputy Minority Leader Robert Mbui, who is also the Wiper Organising Secretary, revealed that they were pushing for structured discussions to be sure of what is in store for the party and the Ukambani region.

Mr Mbui, who had been mandated by Mr Musyoka to preside over the Lower Eastern aspirant’s meeting at Stoni Athi Resort in Machakos County on Monday, said they had agreed that the country was greater than the party hence the decision to stick to Azimio.

“Since we had agreed to work under Azimio, it is time we exhaust all the options available. We are asking the principals to sit with our party leader so that we can make a final decision based on what is on the table,” Mr Mbui said.

While unveiling his running mate on May 16, Mr Odinga announced that he had allocated Mr Musyoka the position of Chief Cabinet Secretary in his would-be administration, but the Nation has learnt that the position of the National Assembly Speaker, which is basically the third in command has also been floated for the Wiper leader to choose whichever suits him to have him back in Azimio.

Wiper leaders ask Kalonzo to reconsider Azimio exit

Wiper Vice Chairman Mutula Kilonzo Jnr had earlier argued that “the chief minister is just a glorified minister who can be reshuffled, can be fired, and who can be impeached by parliament”, noting that it meant “absolutely nothing.”

It is on this ground that Mr Odinga’s allies are said to have offered the National Assembly Speaker’s post to Mr Musyoka but was also ready to renegotiate the Azimio agreement to have a clause that ring fences the chief cabinet secretary position to ensure that in the event the coalition wins, they are not left at the mercy of Mr Odinga whom they accuse of dishonouring two previous agreements.

Mr Mohamed yesterday hinted at the possibility of such a renegotiation becoming a reality.

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