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Kalonzo drops out of Presidential race in favour of Raila

 It is now apparent that Wiper Democratic Movement party leader Kalonzo Musyoka will not run for President in the August 9 general elections. 

Wiper Democratic Movement Party Leader Kalonzo Musyoka (left) greets his ODM counterpart Raila Odinga at KICC during a rally to endorse Raila as Azimio la Umoja presidential candidate. Kalonzo shelved his presidential ambitions to back Raila having supported him twice as his running mate. Photo/COURTESY

The former Vice President has dropped his ambition in favour of Orange Democratic Movement party boss Raila Odinga.

Wiper party was among more than 25 parties that joined a declaration to support Mr Odinga’s Presidency under the umbrella of the Azimio la Umoja National Delegates Conference at the KICC in Nairobi on Saturday.

Earlier in the day, Kalonzo met with Raila and reached a deal to endorse the former Premier. This comes a day after the signing of the One Kenya Alliance Coalition agreement between member parties.   

It is however not clear what the details of their agreement was and whether the deal involved all the OKA coalition principals. Narc- Kenya party leader Martha Karua and Cyrus Jirongo of United Democratic party who are part of the OKA partners did not attend the KICC meeting raising concerns whether they were part of the deal.

Followers of Mr. Musyoka will be keen to see how his late entry into Azimio will benefit him since there has been a mounting pressure for Mr. Odinga to pick his running mate from the Mount Kenya Region.

Some media reports seen by Mwingi Times indicate that while the running mate position might not be a guarantee for the man from Tseikuru, his pact with Mr Odinga has allegedly assured of a fair share of the government positions once he clinches the presidency after August 9 general elections.

While 26 parties officially joined Azimio, it is the presence of the Wiper party brigade that excited the delegates at the KICC with its leader becoming the man of the moment. The event that endorsed Mr. Odinga to run for President under Azimio coalition was graced by President Uhuru Kenyatta.   

Joint rally

Kalonzo who didn’t speak at KICC announced publicly during a joint political rally at Jacaranda grounds that he had dropped his presidential bid to back Raila for a third time. “Nilidhani leo Raila atasema Kalonzo Tosha… Kwa roho safi Wakenya nasema Raila Tosha kwa mara ya Tatu,” he declared amid roars from the crowd. 

“Today I announce we continue under Azimio and our Candidate is Raila Amolo Odinga,” Mr. Musyoka reiterated.     

President Uhuru Kenyatta thanked Kalonzo for shelving his ambition to back his former NASA co-principal.

“Namshukuru Kalonzo, ameweka tamaa yake kando. Akona uwezo wa kuwa Rais lakini ameweka taifa mbele”, Mr. Kenyatta said.

The Jubilee Party leader exuded confidence that Mr. Odinga would become fifth president of Kenya adding that his (Raila’s) government will be all inclusive.   

Mr. Odinga who acknowledged that there were earlier differences between him and Mr. Musyoka said they had already ironed them out and agreed to work together to deliver on his presidency.  

“Ndugu yangu Kalonzo, tulikuwa na shida lakini tumesalimiana na tukakubaliana tutambea pamoja,” he said.

Before joining Azimio, Kalonzo had called for a structured agreement between him and Odinga. He accused Raila of failing to honour a written agreement that they entered into in 2017.  The pact would have seen Raila back him to run for presidency in 2022. At Jacaranda rally Kalonzo maintained that the new coalition they have formed is called Azimio- One Kenya Alliance even though that was not mentioned by neither the President Kenyatta nor Mr. Odinga.   

The move by Kalonzo to join hands with Raila might complicate the political spectrum in his Ukambani backyard. Some of the local leaders led by the three county governors Prof Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni), Dr Alfred Mutua (Machakos) and Charity Ngilu (Kitui) had already joined Azimio and have been big critics of the Wiper party boss.  Will the trio agree to work under Musyoka? Sibling rivalry amongst candidates in the Azimio movement is also expected to take centre-stage.

This coming at a time the Deputy President William Ruto-led UDA party has made some considerable inroads into the region. All eyes will be looking to see whether the more than 1.6 million votes will go into the Raila’s basket.  


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