Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka has made an about-turn on Azimio running mate interviews and will honour the invite by the selection panel to take part in the process today.
Nation has established that the Wiper leader after wide consultations will appear before the Dr Noah Wekesa-led panel and explain why he is the best suited candidate to deputise Azimio presidential flag bearer Raila Odinga.
Mr Musyoka's change of heart is said to have arisen from consultations with President Uhuru Kenyatta, the chairman of Azimio council.
"Kanu chairman Gideon Moi who has endorsed him for the position also implored upon him to attend," a source told Nation.
According to a communication by the Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka (SKM) command centre to the chairperson of the selection panel, the Wiper leader is set to attend the scheduled interviews.
"His Excellency Hon. Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka SC, hereby states that he has decided to honor the invitation to attend the interviews for the Azimio One Kenya Running Mate position that will be conducted by the panel of eminent persons chaired by Hon. Noah Wekesa on the 9th of May 2022 at 9:00am," the communication states.
Officials of the panel have also confirmed that the Wiper leader will attend the interviews.
Mr Musyoka's camp had maintained that he would not heed to the selection panel's request to attend the interviews as it would be" demeaning to his statute."
In an earlier interview, Wiper vice chairman Mutula Kilonzo Jnr said: "The last I checked , my party leader was not going to apply or appear."
Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua, an ally of the former vice president and a member of the selection panel had even threatened that Wiper party would quit Azimio is Mr Musyoka fails to be nominated as Mr Odinga's running mate.
He claimed that the issue of Mr Odinga’s running mate could have been predetermined to lock out the Wiper leader, warning that “if Kalonzo will not be the running mate, then Raila won't be the president.”
Mr Musyoka's hard stance had even attracted defense from unlikely quarters, with Deputy President William Ruto arguing that subjecting him for an interview would be humiliating.
"Though we are competitors, to subject Kalonzo to some humiliating 'interview' is impunity. We must unite to eliminate the culture of political deceit, the hallmark of some politicians. Whatever the circumstances every leader deserves some dignity and respect. Heshima si utumwa," the DP posted on his Twitter account on May 4, attracting criticism from Mr Odinga's camp which immediately claimed the DP had a secret pact with Mr Musyoka.
The Wiper leader would later deny the allegations, even cautioning the DP's troops against defending him.
On Monday, Kanu Chairman Gideon Moi who had also been shortlisted for the interviews ongoing at the Serena Hotel in Nairobi backed out for Mr Musyoka.
"Hon Moi is grateful to the committee of eminent persons for the consideration for the running mate position and stands by his letters endorsing Hon Kalonzo Musyoka, " said Mr Moi's press secretary Mr Joseph Towett.
The selection panel on Monday interviewed five candidates among them Murang’a Woman Rep Sabina Chege, ODM deputy party leaders Hassan Joho and Wycliffe Oparanya, Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua and Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui.
Today, the committee is scheduled to interview Mr Musyoka, former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth (Jubilee), Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya (PNU), Narc leader Charity Ngilu and her National Liberal Party counterpart Stephen Tarus.
Azimio Executive Director Mr Raphael Tuju Monday said the coalition expects all the shortlisted candidates to appear before the panel and defend their bids for the job, adding that it is prudent for members to respect the decision of the coalition’s top decision making organ which is the council.
The council is chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta who is also the Jubilee party leader.
“Hon Kalonzo Musyoka is a very senior member of the coalition. He was part and parcel of the decisions that were made by the council where he sits to form this selection panel.
“If he has issues, he can take them to the council where he sits. We however, recognize that people have freedom in this country to air their views and we respect each and every view,” Mr Tuju said.