As the clock ticks to the deadline set by the electoral commission for presidential aspirants to pick their running mates, Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka has maintained that he should be Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga’s running mate.
Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Political Party is vetting Mr Musyoka alongside Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua, Agriculture CS Peter Munya and Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho. Mr Musyoka believes he is the most suitable candidate.
While calling on the region to vote for only Wiper candidates in the August 9 General Election to boost his 2027 presidential ambitions, Mr Musyoka cautioned his allies against pushing Mr Odinga to name him as running mate, lest he appear desperate.
"Stop talking about the selection of Mr Odinga’s deputy president position in public as this may portray us as weak. Let us keep quiet and watch how they approach the selection of the deputy president and pray. Everything is plain so why should we waste time? People know that when Raila takes the Wiper team on board, he will be the next President of Kenya. But there is a problem when Raila leaves Kalonzo,” he said in Kitui town on Sunday.
Mr Musyoka was responding to hardliners in his camp who had intensified calls for Mr Odinga to name him as his running mate.
Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua, his Makueni counterpart Mutula Kilonzo Jr and MPs Daniel Maanzo (Makueni) and Gideon Mulyungi (Mwingi Central) believe that Mr Musyoka is the most suitable candidate to deputise Mr Odinga, and that he should not be subjected to vetting.
Mr Maanzo had set off a storm by rallying Mr Musyoka's supporters to boycott the presidential election if the ODM leader does not pick the Wiper boss as his running mate.
The campaign by Mr Musyoka's allies received a major boost after it drew support from unlikely quarters; allies of Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua and those of Deputy President William Ruto.
United Democratic Alliance (UDA) chairman Johnson Muthama, Machakos Town MP Victor Munyaka, and former Machakos chief of staff Mwengi Mutuse, who is contesting Kibwezi West parliamentary seat on a Maendeleo Chap Chap Party ticket, have joined Mr Musyoka’s allies in pushing Mr Odinga to name him as his running mate.
"To my beloved Azimio; for us in the lower eastern region, our diaspora and in the best interest of Kenya, it is either Hon. Kalonzo Musyoka or Dr Alfred Mutua for Raila Odinga’s running mate. There is nothing for us without us," Mr Mutuse said last Thursday.
Similarly, Mr Munyaka and Mr Muthama sought to tap into Mr Musyoka’s alleged mistreatment at Azimio in their campaigns to drum up support for Dr Ruto’s presidential bid. Mr Munyaka says the Kamba community has been supporting Mr Odinga for many years and it was time the ODM leader paid back by picking Mr Musyoka as his running mate. Mr Muthama who has fashioned himself as a bold Kamba nationalist and defender of the community’s interests accused President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr Odinga of conspiring to mistreat Mr Musyoka.
"I want to tell the President and Raila Odinga not to mistreat Kalonzo exceedingly. Give him the respect due to him. Where I am, in Kenya Kwanza, I am respected,” Mr Muthama said while campaigning for his Machakos governorship bid at Kawethei Township.