Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu yesterday warned Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka against herding the Kamba community to the opposition with his planned presidential bid in the August elections elections.
Governor Ngilu said Mr Musyoka doesn’t stand a strong chance of clinching the presidency and that his candidacy will only benefit a few Wiper party MPs hoping to hang onto his coattails to secure re-election.
With less than 200 days to the General election, Ms Ngilu said the contest was already defined as a two horse race between ODM leader Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto, with a third force unlikely to change the election outcome.
“It’s unfortunate he’s being urged on by some fake loyalists within his party who have perfected the art of winning elective seats at his expense, without even caring what happens to the community afterwards,” Ms Ngilu said.
Speaking a day after Mr Musyoka hosted Wiper faithful at his Yatta farm in Machakos County where he declared that he will be in the race to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta, Governor Ngilu said his candidacy may only secure some parliamentary seats for his party but not the presidency.
She said it was very easy for his foot soldiers to sing praises and tell him he will be the fifth president, but the reality of Kenya’s politics is different, and based on past elections it’s impossible for a third force to beat the two main candidates.
“The Kamba community will vote wisely in the coming elections. We cannot afford to be in the opposition benches for a third time, and therefore Kalonzo should tell us how he’ll get enough votes across all the 47 counties, not just whipping up emotions in three Ukambani counties” said Ms Ngilu.
The Governor, who was recently picked as among Mr Odinga’s presidential campaign board members, said Mr Musyoka does not have requisite votes. She said leadership is about acting in the best interests of those you purport to lead, not pacifying the interests of a few selfish political sycophants.
“As a leader from this region, am not opposed to Mr Musyoka becoming the President of Kenya, but I’m just being honest with him that it is simply about numbers and he can’t win the presidential contest on his own unless he builds a strong political coalition beyond the One Kenya Alliance (OKA)”, she explained to the Nation in an interview.
Mr Musyoka belongs to the OKA grouping, which brings together Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi, Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetangula and Kanu leader Gideon Moi.
She posed: “When your party MPs campaign for you only in your Ukambani home region of three counties where you’re well known to every household instead of hunting for votes from other regions, aren’t they setting you up for failure?”
On Saturday January 15, Mr Musyoka sought to energize his Ukambani political base with a declaration that he won't back off this year's presidential race as his Wiper MPs took turns to warn those fronting other presidential candidates in Ukambani that the region was solidly behind their son.
He rallied the Kamba community to back his second stab at the presidency, telling them that he had no political debts to pay, reiterating he will not sacrifice his political ambitions once again in favour of other candidates.
“This is not a two horse race as some people want Kenyans to believe. We are in this race up to the end and we are determined to win the presidential contest and offer better leadership” he told a cheering crowd of his Wiper party faithful.
Mr Musyoka said he is fully prepared for a bruising battle for the country’s top leadership including clinching the OKA ticket and that his re-energized second presidential bid will shock his opponents.
He dismissed both Mr Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto as “antagonistic and toxic” saying their campaigns were polarizing the country and entrenching political hatred and divisions.
“Am running to offer this country a better alternative in the management of our public affairs. I’ve heard suggestions that I should team up with some people but am assuring all my supporters that I am going all the way to the ballot” he said.
Mr Musyoka, a former Vice President and long serving Foreign affairs minister sought to position himself as the compromise candidate who can unite all Kenyans and especially those who are disillusioned by what he described as a culture of endless graft and political deceit.
A Musyoka stab at the presidency may deny both Mr Odinga and Mr Ruto considerable vote numbers and has the potential of forcing a runoff.
A runoff could also force the politics of coalition-building, and hence give Mr Musyoka substantial clout at the negotiating table.