Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and businessman Jimi Wanjigi could be working on a joint presidential ticket, signalling a possible third force in the August 9 General Election.
This follows the move by his One Kenya Alliance (OKA) principals – Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi and Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula – to abandon the alliance for a coalition with Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA).
Mr Musyoka has stated that he is still in the race to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Reacting to Mr Mudavadi’s decision to invite Dr Ruto to the ANC National Delegates Congress, Mr Musyoka said the ANC leader’s exit from OKA with Mr Wetang’ula had cleared his way to State House.
“My other friends were causing a traffic jam, but now my path to State House is clear,” Mr Mudavadi told his supporters on Monday.
On Wednesday, Mr Musyoka retreated for a strategy meeting with Mr Wanjigi, suggesting a possible ticket to face off with ODM leader Raila Odinga and Dr Ruto.
The duo held talks at the Karen Blixen in Nairobi, with their close allies saying they were on the road to State House.
Even though Mr Musyoka has not joined the DP’s camp, his candidacy is widely seen as a blessing for Dr Ruto’s State House journey as it could cut Mr Odinga’s support especially in the Lower Eastern region.
Mr Musyoka has supported Mr Odinga in the past two presidential elections – in 2013 as his running mate under the defunct Cord and in 2017 under Nasa.
Mr Wanjigi on Wednesday downplayed claims that he was forging an alliance with Mr Musyoka, insisting he was still in the race for State House, but sources familiar with his meeting with the Wiper leader revealed the duo were mulling a coalition and running on a joint ticket.
On those claimed plans, Mr Wanjigi told the Nation at the Karen Blixen yesterday: “Watch our steps. You’ll be seeing such meetings more often than you’ve seen.”
“I don’t want to talk too much, just watch our steps.”
Makueni MP Dan Maanzo, in an earlier interview, linked Mr Wanjigi’s dramatic arrest last week to his attendance of Mr Musyoka’s consultative meeting with leaders from the Lower Eastern in Yatta a fortnight ago.
“Truth be said, if he (Mr Wanjigi) did not come to Yatta, he would not have been arrested. There is no case there at all, it is all politics,” Mr Maanzo said.
Wiper is now welcoming Mr Wanjigi to its fold, and is even dangling the Musyoka presidential running mate carrot.
Any presidential candidate, Mr Maanzo said, will have to pick a running mate from the vote-rich Central Kenya so as to stand a good chance of winning the presidency.
Mr Wanjigi is a former ally of President Kenyatta. He fell out with the Jubilee administration and supported Mr Odinga’s presidential candidacy in the 2017 General Election.
Mr Odinga made peace with President Kenyatta in the famed 2018 political handshake, which left Mr Wanjigi in the political cold.
But Mr Wanjigi’s dalliance with Mr Musyoka is seen by Mr Odinga’s allies as a scheme to derail the ODM leader’s quest for the top seat.
“All we want to tell Kalonzo is to take his time and soul-search. If he means well for this country, as we all believe, let him join the Azimio team, which is seeking the unity of this country,” said an MP in Mr Odinga’s camp.
“Those pushing him to vie know very well that he cannot win, but only working for Ruto while dangling carrots for him in the pretext that they can make him win this election.”
Mr Wanjigi will be resourceful in Mr Musyoka’s camp, argues National Assembly Deputy Minority Leader Robert Mbui, a staunch ally of the Wiper leader.
“We welcome him with open arms,” he said.
The publicity Mr Wanjigi received from his dramatic arrest, he said, has made him a sort of a political martyr, who also has the added advantage of coming with deep pockets to Wiper.
“He is also an astute negotiator. Why would we not want such a person on our side?” the Kathiani MP added.