What you need to know:
- On Saturday, the three politicians, who met at a burial ceremony in Nguni, Mwingi Central, recounted their political differences and told the mourners they would be tolerant of each other.
Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka has reconciled with two of his former political allies in Ukambani, who parted ways with him in the run up to the 2017 General Election.
Former senators Johnstone Muthama and David Musila said Saturday that they have held talks with Mr Musyoka and agreed to bury the hatchet and open a new chapter of political tolerance and respect.
The two helped Mr Musyoka to establish the umbrella party and have stood with him in a political career spanning more than three decades, but they fell out with him amid plans for the last election.
Mr Musila was Wiper’s national chairman until early 2017, when he lost the nomination to run for governor in Kitui County, while Mr Muthama was the party’s top representative in the Nasa coalition steering committee.
They both resigned in a huff, accusing Mr Musyoka of ruining the party primaries and imposing his own preferred candidates in its Ukambani stronghold.
The disagreements saw the party lose the governorship seats in Kitui and Machakos counties.
Muthama still in UDA
On Saturday, the three politicians, who met at a burial ceremony in Nguni, Mwingi Central, recounted their political differences and told the mourners they would be tolerant of each other.
Even though Mr Muthama is rooting for Deputy President William Ruto and is the interim chairman of the United Democratic Alliance(UDA), the former Machakos senator said he was open to further talks with Mr Musyoka.
Quoting the Bible, he described his political sojourn in UDA as a fishing expedition on behalf of the Kamba community. Its aim is not to derail Mr Musyoka’s presidential bid, he said.
“I’ll be the Joseph in Pharaoh’s government who saved his household in Egypt during Israel’s slavery. Your interests are well catered for,” he said in apparent reference to his role in DP Ruto’s presidential campaign.
Mr Muthama's differences with Mr Musyoka peaked when he nearly punched the Wiper leader at a burial during campaigns for the Machakos senator by-election early this year.
Their confrontation at Mitaboni Primary School grounds in Kathiani Constituency, during the burial of Bishop Bernard Nguyu, the Regional Presiding Priest for the Africa Inland Church, left mourners in shock.
Wiper had nominated Mr Muthama’s ex-wife, Agnes Kavindu, who went on to trounce UDA candidate Urbanus Ngengele in the mini polls.
“Even if he disagrees with me now, he knows where I am heading. I’ll hand over his wife, Kavindu, back to him, after she’s elected the senator of Machakos” Mr Musyoka had said amid cheer, prompting Mr Muthama to stand and charge towards the podium.
Mr Muthama shot up from his seat but was restrained from physically attacking Mr Musyoka as the former vice president gave his speech.
On Saturday, however, the two hugged and repeatedly addressed each other as Mwanaiya – a Kamba reference to a friendly brother.
Mr Musila said he had rejoined the Wiper party after talks with Mr Musyoka and will now be campaigning for him.
The former senator, who is angling for the Wiperticket to take on Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu in next year’s election, said he was happy with the reconciliation.
He lost the party nominations, which he claimed were rigged in favour of former Governor Julius Malombe, but they were both defeated by Governor Ngilu at the ballot.
At the height of their wrangling, Mr Musila released his memoirs – Seasons of Hope, in which he castigated Mr Musyoka’s style of leadership, detailing several instances where he fundraised for his campaigns and their eventual falling-out.
In a previous interview with the Nation, Mr Musila said they had met three times and discussed his return to the Wiper fold, as well as modalities for party nominations, in which he intends to participate.
After his speech on Saturday, he also embraced Mr Musyoka and shook hands with him to demonstrate their new found friendship. He urged their supporters to forget their differences.
Mr Musyoka told Mr Muthama to brace himself for defeat, saying DP Ruto’s ‘hustler’ narrative, propagated by UDA, was an insult to the Kamba community.
The former VP argued that an arid region like Ukambani, that has suffered marginalisation for decades, is used to fending for itself so the UDA agenda doesn’t resonate with the community.
“I welcome everybody back to the party so that we can all walk together in this important political journey,” he said.
He said his prophecy that Mr Muthama will somersault and return to the Wiper fold after the 2022 elections, despite all the “political dirt” thrown at him, will soon be fulfilled.