Kalonzo-Wamalwa 2027 plan triggers fresh implosion in Raila's Azimio

Raila, Kalonzo

Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka (left), DAP-K’s Eugene Wamalwa and Azimio leader Raila Odinga.

Photo credit: Bonface Bogita | Nation Media Group

A secret 2027 joint presidential ticket plan between Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and his DAP-K counterpart Eugene Wamalwa has triggered fresh implosion in the Raila Odinga-led Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition.

The two Azimio principals have joined hands and launched joint popularisation campaigns, a move that seems to have unsettled the coalition.

Even though Mr Wamalwa has insisted he will be on the presidential ballot, Nation has established a plan to play second fiddle to Mr Musyoka, a move that leaves Mr Odinga’s ODM and former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee party, the most popular Azimio affiliates, out of the equation.

Mr Musyoka and Mr Wamalwa’s troops have already visited Kajiado, Kitui, Embu and Meru, and have planned a tour of Kisii County before heading to the Western region.

While Mr Odinga says he has no problem backing Mr Musyoka, he insists it was too early to discuss the 2027 elections, and that he would pronounce himself at the right time.

“I have not said Kalonzo cannot be a presidential candidate. I have said we have come a long way. He has supported me and I can also support him,” Mr Odinga said.

Mr Musyoka has backed Mr Odinga in the last three consecutive elections, being his running mate in the 2013 and 2017 presidential elections.

Already Mr Odinga’s ODM party has also questioned its position in the planned Kalonzo-Wamalwa arrangement, insisting it was the most popular party in the coalition and hence cannot be overlooked.

On Tuesday, Azimio’s National Coalition Executive Council chairman Wycliffe Oparanya said that in as much as they do not wish to antagonise anybody in the coalition, ODM remains the most popular party in the outfit.

“We don’t want to antagonise anybody but we are watching the political scene keenly. Election is still very far and politics do change so it’s still too early to talk about 2027,” Mr Oparanya told Nation.

He went on: “We want a combination that will win, I may not be in that line-up but so long as it’s a winning formula that will make us be in government, so be it.”

Mr Musyoka’s ally – Kitui senator Enoch Wambua, who is also a member of the Wiper National Executive Council (NEC) has since let the cat out of the bag, pointing to a Kalonzo-Wamalwa 2027 plan.

“Kalonzo as you walk, I want to assure you that you will never walk alone. Wamalwa has a lot of faith in your leadership and he has said he will walk with you. Can there be a better ticket than this one?” Mr Wambua posed at a funeral in Kitui over the weekend.

He went on: “Let Azimio just declare Kalonzo-Wamalwa to go and seek the presidential seat and deliver it to us.”

While Wiper deputy chairman and Makueni Governor Mutula Kilonzo Junior did not pronounce himself on the Kalonzo-Wamalwa ticket, he said “It is time to declare Kalonzo candidature.”

But the push to have Mr Musyoka declared as the opposition presidential flag bearer has already set tongues wagging in Azimio, with Mr Odinga’s allies alleging blackmail against him to endorse the Wiper leader.

On Monday, Siaya senator Dr Oburu Oginga who is also Mr Odinga’s elder brother called out those pushing the ODM leader to pronounce himself on the 2027 flag bearer.

“You should not pressurize Raila to tell you that you are the one who is going to take over. No, just talk to people. If you force Raila to tell people that they should elect you as the presidential candidate without talking and convincing them, they will not vote for you,” Dr Oginga said in Homa Bay.

Dr Oginga even went further to state that “Raila is not expired, he is still strong,” an indication that the opposition chief could still throw himself in the ring.

“Let Raila also be on the ballot. Let us be democratic and select the best leader who will give us the leadership of this country. Let us give everybody a chance including Raila,” Dr Oginga asserted.

ODM National Treasurer Timothy Bosire also reiterated that Mr Odinga still has what it takes to be the president of Kenya and should not be pushed to endorse somebody.

“The days for Raila to be president are coming. We believe in him. We know him as a humble, and witty person, a person who has sacrificed a lot for the country and who has the country’s interest,” Mr Bosire said.

Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang’ said: “It is completely out of order for leaders within our coalition (Azimio) to continuously blackmail Raila and the ODM party.”

He lamented that it was unfortunate that Mr Odinga was being put “in small corners everywhere he goes outside Luo Nyanza to leave the stage for others.”

But Mr Wamalwa who is being touted as Mr Musyoka’s possible running mate in 2027 has not shied from defending the Wiper leader, and during their tour of Meru County, he lauded his track record under the Mwai Kibaki administration which he served as vice president.

“You know Kalonzo’s record even when he served under Kibaki. Most of the things Kibaki did can be associated with him. It’s time to say the truth so that we can walk together,” the former Defense Cabinet Secretary said.

Jubilee Secretary-General Jeremiah Kioni and Vice Chairman David Murathe, as well as Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua on Tuesday avoided the Kalonzo-Wamalwa ticket debate.

Mr Murathe had, however, in January hinted that the former premier is still energetic enough to make another stab at the presidency.

“Raila will be the 2027 Presidential flag bearer. Those holding contrary opinions should pose or hold their horses. If Malawi people picked a President at 90, so what’s strange with Raila’s case,” he said during Mr Odinga’s 79th Birthday celebrations in Kilifi County last Month.

Additional reporting by George Odiwuor