We now recognise Ruto as president, Azimio’s Kalonzo Musyoka now says

Wiper Party Leader Kalonzo Musyoka

Wiper Party Leader Kalonzo Musyoka during the National Dialogue Committee talks at Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi on September 1, 2023.

Photo credit: File| Nation Media Group

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka says the opposition now "recognises" President William Ruto's election and inauguration as Head of State following his support for the bipartisan talks to resolve the 2022 election crisis.

Mr Musyoka, who co-chairs the National Dialogue Committee and leads opposition leader Raila Odinga's team in the talks, praised President Ruto for his commitment to the talks.

Speaking on Saturday, September 2, when he attended the burial of Wiper-nominated MCA Constance Mwandawiro in Voi, Taita Taveta County, Mr Musyoka said President Ruto has shown maturity and statesmanship by supporting the ongoing bipartisan talks despite opposition from his deputy Rigathi Gachagua.

He said the President's stand was in contrast to his deputy, who has been accused of undermining the talks and inciting violence against Azimio supporters.

"We congratulate the president for putting his foot down and supporting the continuation of the talks," he said.

He continued: "Because of his (Ruto's) stand, we recognise him and we will wait for the next time because who knows? God's plans may be with us next.

Mr Odinga had led his troops in rejecting President Ruto's election, but talk of alleged illegitimacy has died down recently, with troops now focused on the Bomas talks, where the presidential side made a rare climbdown and agreed to discuss all the issues put forward by the opposition, including an audit of the 2022 election and the reconstitution of the electoral commission. 

Mr Musyoka said no one, including Mr Gachagua, would stop the talks now that the Senate had enshrined the National Dialogue Committee and its processes in law.

"We have a problem with what some people are saying. President Ruto's deputy (Gachagua) attended a funeral in Ukambani and what he said there has left residents wondering what kind of leader he is. But we will call everyone to order," he said.

Mr Musyoka, who co-chairs the NDC with Kimani Ichung'wah of the Kenya Kwanza Alliance, said the talks had made significant progress in addressing critical national issues.

He said the Azimio side had recognised Mr Ruto's presidency and would shelve their hardline stance until the next general election.

He urged citizens to send their memoranda to the committee on issues of national importance such as constitutional reforms, electoral justice, economic recovery and national unity.

Taita Taveta Senator Jones Mwaruma and other leaders present called on Kenyans to embrace the spirit of dialogue and tolerance and shun divisive politics and violence.

He, however, said the demonstrations led by Azimio had borne fruit.

The senator accused some leaders elected on Azimio of pulling out of coalition rallies and joining the Kenya Kwanza side.

"If we say we love our party leaders, then we should be ready to support them when they rally us on something," he said.

Lydia Haika, the women's representative, also urged residents to keep the peace as the committee continues negotiations.

"Kenyans are peace loving people and they want to move on and get development. I urge you all to keep the peace because leaders differ politically but when they meet they laugh and reconcile," she said.

The late MCA's funeral was also attended by Taita Taveta Deputy Governor Christine Kilalo, MPs Peter Shake (Mwatate), Abdi Chome (Voi) and Danson Mwashako (Wundanyi).

Also present were a number of MCAs from Taita Taveta, Kitui, Makueni and Machakos counties.

Mrs Mwandawiro died on Thursday last week while receiving treatment at a Mombasa hospital.

Taita Taveta County Assembly Speaker Wisdom Mwamburi eulogised the late MCA as a hardworking and dedicated leader who was committed to her duties in the Assembly despite her illness.