What you need to know:
- Mr Musyoka and Mr Wamalwa have separately declared their plans to run for the presidency in the 2027 elections.
- Dubbed Kamwene Leadership Forum, the formation was started to champion the interests of the Mt Kenya region.
Plans for joint rallies by Wiper Democratic Movement leader Kalonzo Musyoka and his Democratic Action Party-Kenya (DAP-K) counterpart Eugene Wamalwa have sparked talk of a faction within the opposition coalition.
Mr Musyoka and Mr Wamalwa had a joint political engagement last Sunday in Kitengela, Kajiado County, where the former vice-president opened a new Wiper branch before they both addressed a rally.
The two held the rally on a day ODM party leader Raila Odinga had a recruitment drive in the capital.
Mr Musyoka and Mr Wamalwa have separately declared their plans to run for the presidency in the 2027 elections.
This Saturday, the duo will be in Kitui South before moving to Meru on Sunday. The Meru event will be hosted by Party of National Unity leader Peter Munya.
The Nation has learnt that the two politicians are planning more joint events in the coming weeks, lending credence to speculation that they could be working on a possible Kalonzo-Wamalwa 2027 ticket.
Some politicians within the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition are said to be pushing for a running mate from Western should Mr Odinga pull out of the race and back Mr Musyoka.
Mr Wamalwa and ODM deputy party leader Wycliffe Oparanya are some of the names being mentioned for the running mate slot.
This would be the second possible political formation within the opposition coalition after Narc Kenya party leader Martha Karua and Jubilee Secretary-General Jeremiah Kioni also fronted another political movement a few months ago.
Dubbed Kamwene Leadership Forum, the formation was started to champion the interests of the Mt Kenya region.
Ms Karua and Mr Kioni have maintained that they remain members of Azimio despite fronting Kamwene.
Mr Musyoka—who turned 70 on December 24—has vowed not to support Mr Odinga again, saying that abandoning his presidential ambition again as he did in 2013, 2017 and 2022 would mean retiring from active politics because of his age.
Mr Odinga had in October given the clearest indication yet that the opposition coalition was likely to rally behind Mr Musyoka as its flagbearer. He later recanted his endorsement of Mr Musyoka after his pronouncement reportedly caused jitters within the camp.
He has since stepped up his political activities by aggressively revamping his ODM party, sending mixed signals to his coalition partners amid growing calls from some of his allies for him to run again.
Some of the coalition partners are said to be uncomfortable with Mr Odinga’s ongoing political engagements, which analysts say could be laying the groundwork for a 2027 bid.
One Kenya Alliance
The possible Kalonzo-Wamalwa ticket mirrors the political activities that preceded the formation of the One Kenya Alliance by Mr Musyoka, Kanu boss Gideon Moi, Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula and Musalia Mudavadi of the Amani National Congress in protest against Mr Odinga’s 2022 bid.
Former President Uhuru Kenyatta managed to convince Mr Musyoka and Mr Moi to support Mr Odinga, while Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang’ula bolted to join forces with President William Ruto.
Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua, a close ally of Mr Musyoka, confirmed that the two leaders will be in Kitui and Meru on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. He explained that Mr Wamalwa would accompany the Wiper leader to his brother-in-law’s funeral in Kitui South. In Meru, he said, the two leaders will join Mr Munya to launch a PNU membership registration drive.
“People should not read too much into these joint activities. The coalition has made it clear that individual parties will carry out separate activities to strengthen themselves,” said Mr Wambua. “Eugene joined us because we opened a new office in Kitengela. Last week, we joined our brother Munya at the PNU headquarters. You saw Raila, Eugene and myself there.”
He said the party has no plans to reverse its decision to back Mr Musyoka for the top seat in the 2027 polls even as he said that Mr Wamalwa was a good option to pair up with.
“It is true that we are very keen on our party leader contesting for the presidency in 2027 or any other time an election is called. We believe that the entire Azimio family will unite because we have nothing against anyone,” said the Kitui Senator.
Kitui Central MP Makali Mulu told the Nation that the joint activities are part of the Azimio coalition’s plan to strengthen individual member parties.
Revitalise partner parties
“Both Eugene and Kalonzo have said they will be candidates in 2027. The activities are meant to strengthen our partner parties,” said Mr Mulu. “It is our party leader who invited him to Kitengela. We have started our activities to revitalise partner parties.”
In a recent interview with the Nation, Mr Musyoka exuded confidence of winning the support of Mr Odinga and Azimio.
“Giving up my presidential ambition would actually mean going home. It is as simple as that. It means that is not an option. It means giving up my presidential ambition is not an option. That is basically what I am telling you,” Mr Musyoka said.
Mr Odinga has in recent weeks held back-to-back political rallies in Western and Coast—with more activities planned in the coming days—in a push to shore up his ODM’s membership.
Some of his allies have since openly urged him to give the presidency another shot, a development that has the potential to rattle Mr Musyoka who is counting on Mr Odinga’s support after sacrificing his bid three times.
Mr Wamalwa, in an earlier interview, said he expected the coalition to conduct a democratic nomination in settling on its flagbearer.
“I am prepared and as we speak, I have taken over the leadership of DAP-K and I already have the party’s endorsement to be its presidential candidate in the 2027 polls,” he said.
“We believe that there would be a very democratic process to choose the best. I can tell you that if the whole team—because they are all my seniors—say they are going to pick the youngest, the freshest to run, I will be able to beat Ruto,” he added.
Mr Odinga’s close ally and National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi recently revealed that the coalition is set for a major political realignment that could see it renamed before the next elections. He added that no one can stop Mr Odinga from running because of his age.
“There is no limit on how many times you can contest. You can even contest a hundred times. If he chooses to contest, you know as one of his ardent supporters, one of his foot soldiers, one of his political students, I will obviously support him,” said Mr Wandayi in an earlier interview.
He added: “The political landscape will change and alignments will change, there will be alignments and realignments between now and the next election. Azimio may evolve into a much bigger movement that may even be renamed.”