Kalonzo Musyoka: Azimio is ready to soldier on without Raila Odinga

Kalonzo Musyoka

Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka (right) and Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna address members of the public at Kenyatta Market in Nairobi on February 18, 2024.

Photo credit: Billy Ogada | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Last week, Mr Odinga launched his bid for the chairmanship of the African Union Commission. 
  • Mr Musyoka said the meeting of Azimio luminaries after Mr Odinga declared his bid was a symbol of unity.

Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka has said the Azimio Coalition will remain intact and soldier on even in the absence of opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Mr Musyoka said there will be no gap in the opposition leadership as Mr Odinga, who has been the face of the Azimio Coalition, prepares to launch his bid for the chairmanship of the African Union Commission. 

The former prime minister, accompanied by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, declared last week that he was interested in the top AU post, whose current holder, Moussa Faki, is due to finish his term in January 2025. 

"Raila is going for a higher position and we are praying for him to succeed.  We are looking at the interest of Kenya and not Kenya Kwanza or Azimio la Umoja because Raila is now above local politics," said Mr Musyoka.

"I want to assure you as Azimio la Umoja that we are united.  Two days after Raila announced his candidature, we met and agreed that as Azimio we must stand firm and defend the rights of Kenya," Mr Musyoka added.

The former Vice President made the remarks on Sunday at Kenyatta Market in Nairobi's Lang'ata constituency shortly after attending a service at Nairobi Baptist Church.

Mr Musyoka said the meeting of Azimio luminaries after Mr Odinga declared his bid was a symbol of unity and there should be no fear that opposition politics would disintegrate in the absence of Mr Odinga. 

AU job will not detract Raila's 2027 political ambitions: Orengo

The meeting on Thursday was attended by Mr Musyoka, Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua, who was Mr Odinga's running mate in the last election, and former Meru governor Peter Munya.

Others included DAP leader Eugene Wamalwa, Roots Party leader George Wajackoya and Jubilee Party secretary general Jeremiah Kioni.

"I want to assure you that there is no gap and what has happened to our brother Raila Odinga is something we are proud of and we will campaign because he is now beyond party politics," Mr Musyoka added.

Mr Musyoka was accompanied by Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna, his Kitui counterpart Enock Wambua and MPs Musili Mawathe (Embakasi South), Stephen Mule (Matungulu), Edith Nyenze (Kitui West).

Seen as the heir apparent in the absence of the ODM leader, Mr Musyoka appeared to have carved out his niche in earnest for the 2027 elections.

He insisted that all controversial issues raised after the 2022 elections must be addressed after the National Dialogue Committee (Nadco) report is debated and passed in Parliament.

"After the Nadco report is discussed, President William Ruto and Raila will have a team of auditors who will lay bare what happened in 2022. There are a lot of things that need to be addressed because if they are not addressed, the results of the 2027 elections will still be disputed," he said.

Among the issues that need to be addressed is increasing the number of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) commissioners from six to nine.

Mr Kalonzo's views on the IEBC came as the High Court on February 1 gave the green light to the previous panel appointed by President Ruto to proceed with its constitutional mandate of recruiting new commissioners.

High Court Judge Mugure Thande said the political truce between Azimio and Kenya Kwanza doesn't override the current constitutional position on the process of selecting new IEBC commissioners.

Mr Odinga has since rejected the court's ruling that the process of recruiting commissioners will not take place until the Nadco report is ratified by Parliament.

As he prepared to take on the country's top leadership, Mr Musyoka vowed to strengthen the Wiper party by recruiting members en masse and opening its offices across the country.

"ODM has strengthened itself through a massive recruitment exercise and as Wiper, we will do the same with engagements across the country," he said.

He reiterated that opposition MPs will oppose the Housing Levy Bill when it returns to Parliament this week.

Mr Sifuna said as long as Mr Musyoka remains on good political terms with Mr Odinga, they will back him for the top job in 2027.

"These people are diehard Raila supporters and as long as you are with Baba (Raila), you don't need to worry. What Raila says is what they will follow even when he is away," said the ODM secretary general.

Mr Mawathe and Mr Mule said now that Raila won't be involved in local politics, Mr Musyoka is the best bet for the 2027 presidency after endorsing the ODM leader three times.

"Even if Raila is taken to AU or New York, he will still be our leader. Raila and Kalonzo have been together and in 2027, Kalonzo will take over the reins of leadership in this country," said Mr Mawathe.

Mr Mule called on opposition politicians to be united, expressing confidence that Mr Musyoka will win the presidency with the support of ODM.