It’s not a must I become Raila running mate, Kalonzo says

Kalonzo Musyoka (left) and Raila Odinga

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka (left) and Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga when they attended an ordination service at ATG Ministries in Mwingi West on April 9, 2022. Mr Musyoka said his party’s support for the Azimio coalition is not based on any claim to the running mate slot.

Photo credit: Pool

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka has said his party’s support for the Azimio coalition is not based on any claim to the running mate slot.

Mr Musyoka, who hosted Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga at a church event in Mwingi West constituency on Saturday, said he was comfortable with whichever decision the coalition makes.

He said Kenya’s future was more important than individual political positions, pouring cold water on recent remarks by Deputy President William Ruto that Mr Odinga had reneged on a deal to support Mr Musyoka in this year’s presidential election.

The former vice-president, who was Mr Odinga’s running mate in the 2013 and 2017 elections, said he doesn’t have to be the Azimio coalition’s deputy presidential nominee but he was more focused on ensuring the ODM leader wins the August 9 elections.

"I want to say it here categorically that whatever formation you come up with, it is time for Raila to become the President of Kenya. I commend you for resilience and your ability to stand strong for many years," he said.

Focus on bigger picture

He told Mr Odinga to ignore the noise and focus on the bigger picture of ensuring the presidency doesn’t land in the hands of their opponents – the Kenya Kwanza coalition led by DP Ruto, whom he described as “untrustworthy and tainted with corruption”.

Two weeks ago, Dr Ruto said at two campaign rallies in Ciampiu and Mwingi, Mr Musyoka’s political backyard, that it was wrong for Mr Odinga to take for granted the support he received from the community in the 2013 and 2017 elections.

Dr Ruto said reneging on the 2017 memorandum of understanding (MoU) between him and the Wiper leader was a slap in the face of the Kamba community and Mr Odinga did not deserve any more support from the region in the coming elections.

“We have all seen how Raila has mistreated Kalonzo. He reneged on their 2017 MoU, under which he clearly committed to reciprocate the support of your son in 2022, but worse still, they coerced him to sign the Azimio coalition deal,” Dr Ruto said in Mwingi town.

Dismissed Ruto’s remarks

But Mr Musyoka dismissed the DP’s remarks as cheap politics, saying he was in the Azimio coalition by choice after consulting widely and considering the best interests of the country.

Mr Musyoka said that though he is a senior politician, Kenya is more important than any individual and that it was time for an Odinga presidency.

“I joined you after careful consideration because I also strongly believe that Kenya must be liberated from the yoke of corruption witnessed in the past. It is not about personal interest; it is about the country’s best interests,” the Wiper leader said.

He regretted that some people implicated in graft had not been arrested, saying it was time to install the right leadership in Kenya.

Shown statesmanship

Mr Odinga, who attended the ordination of 10 bishops to serve in the ATG ministry in Ukambani, said Mr Musyoka had shown statesmanship and that their dream that started in 2007 was finally coming to fruition.

Mr Odinga urged the Church to pray for the country as it heads into a General Election so that peace can prevail and guide the faithful in making the right choices at the ballot.

Leaders who were present included Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu, senators Enock Wambua (Kitui) and Agnes Kavindu (Machakos), MPs Charles Nguna (Mwingi West), Paul Nzengu (Mwingi North), Gideon Mulyungi (Mwingi Central), Edith Nyenze (Kitui West) and Irene Kasalu (Kitui woman rep).

Others were former Kitui governor Julius Malombe, former Senator David Musila.