Wiper party leader affirms his position as Kamba kingpin, rebuffing attempts to dethrone him
Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka on Tuesday warned Deputy President William Ruto to brace himself for a tough political duel in the 2022 presidential election.
Kalonzo, who spoke during the burial of Machakos Senator Boniface Kabaka, used the occasion to restate his position as the Kamba political kingpin, rebuffing attempts by a section of MPs associated with Ruto to hoist ousted Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko to the position.
Addressing mourners in Mikuyu village in Masinga, Machakos County, Kalonzo dismissed claims he was an ethnic leader, saying he was well known and a favourite candidate of many Kenyans across the country.
The former Vice-President, who has declared his intention to vie for the presidency in 2022, hinted at a possible alliance with Amani National Congress (ANC) boss Musalia Mudavadi and Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula, who, he said, he will be hosting for a meeting in Nairobi.
“Nobody can demean who we are… as lawyers would say, facts speak for themselves. And I want to tell you this William, prepare for a straight fight nationally because you know I am very well-known in the Rift Valley and everywhere in this country.
My brother prepare, it will be Mundu khu Mundu, Kalonzo versus Ruto. You do not even need to beat about the bush,” Kalonzo said.
Perhaps to demonstrate his position, Kalonzo spoke after the DP and read President Uhuru Kenyatta’s condolence message to the family and Machakos people.
The Wiper leader was responding to remarks by Ruto that regional politicians ought to stop depicting Kalonzo as a tribal kingpin.
“Kalonzo Musyoka is a former Vice-President and we recognise him, so you should stop reducing him to a village elder or even an ethnic chief,” Ruto said.
The fallen leader’s funeral was attended by about 40 senators, four governors and a host of MPs from Ukambani.
Ruto’s allies at the meeting asked Kalonzo to work with the Deputy President.
Wetang’ula had earlier accused some politicians of demonstrating intentions to demolish bridges rather than building them, hinting that Kalonzo would be hosting him and Mudavadi in Machakos today to discuss ways of taking the nation forward.
“This country is not doing well because of tribalism being manifested and politi-cians behaving badly,” said the Bungoma Senator.
Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua ushered Ruto to speak before Kalonzo on the basis that he (Kalonzo) was to read the President’s condolence message.
Kalonzo said he was reading from the same script with Ruto on matters of national cohesion in the ongoing debate on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), adding that it was wrong for the initiative to isolate some leaders rooting for a non-contested referendum.
At some point, Kalonzo said he was handing over the watermelon tag he earned due to his stand on the 2005 referendum push to Ruto because the DP had not yet declared his stand on the looming law change.
Addressing the gathering, Ruto urged Kenyans to stop politics of ethnicity and divisions, saying they were the reason the country lagged behind in development.
Earlier, former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko warned Kalonzo that he was being duped by his political “brothers” (in apparent reference to ODM leader Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta).
The abrasive city politician told Kalonzo that he should read the “signs of the time” that he would be “used and dumped”, adding that it was high time the Wiper leader rethinks his political direction ahead of 2022.
“Kalonzo, you are our leader but I want to tell you that you are being conned. They only want to use you in passing this BBI,” Sonko claimed.
Sonko, who was impeached recently, told Kalonzo to “sit with DP Ruto and plan on how to save the country and take it for-ward come 2022.”
Earlier, Gatundu lawmaker Moses Kuria created excitement when he challenged Kalonzo to lead the Kamba community into the government.
“Take these Kambas to the government, otherwise who will take them to the government? People should not find themselves in opposition by accident,” he said.
Similar sentiments were echoed by Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, who told mourners that Kalonzo had outgrown being a tribal leader.
The Ruto allied-Senator told Kalonzo “to be politically wise and not to wait until some people make you president” yet the same people had ousted Sonko from his position as Nairobi governor.
“How will they make you a president when they have kicked out one of your own, Sonko? Come work with DP Ruto to avoid being in opposition in future,” said Murkomen.
Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka led his colleagues to the funeral.
Senior politician Kitui Senator Enock Wambua described Kalonzo as a senior politician who ought to be approached with respect, saying the entire community was behind his presidential bid.
Makueni’s Mutula Kilonzo Jnr said Kalonzo would not be deputising anyone come 2022 but will ask Kenyans to entrust him with the big seat.
“Kalonzo is not escorting anyone any-more,” the senator declared.And Siaya Senator James Orengo, a key ally of ODM leader Raila Odinga, rallied Kenyans to sit together at a brotherhood table to avoid divisive politics.
Senator Kabaka died on December 11 at the Nairobi Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit where he had been admitted after he collapsed at an apartment in Nairobi’s Kilimani area.
Kabaka’s wife, Vascoline, eulogised the late senator as a man of great vision: “I vow to carry on your mantle and to transform lives as you did. I will take care of your children even though I do not know where to start from. Fare thee well my love,” she said.
His children also mourned their father as loving, a friend and a great supporter of Manchester United football club.
- Wiper party leader said he was reading from the same script with Deputy President William Ruto on matters of national cohesion in the ongoing debate on the Building Bridges Initiative.
- Kalonzo said it was wrong for the initiative to isolate some leaders rooting for a non contested referendum.