Is Kalonzo Musyoka under siege? This is the question political observers are asking as the former Kenyan Vice President faces a revolt from within and without his Wiper Democratic Movement.
In recent weeks, Musyoka has been spending a lot of time fire-fighting his enemies in what is a litmus test for a man who has had a fairly easy ride during his 30-year political career. Any serious opposition he faced before, specifically from iron-lady Charity Ngilu, was relatively pedestrian compared to what confronts him now.
This time around, even those who had stood by him, such as Dr. Alfred Mutua, the youthful Governor of Machakos and MPs Robert Mbui and Patrick Makau, seem to have abandoned him. Others, like David Musila, his party chairman, are no longer quick to come to his defence when he faces verbal attacks from political neophytes.
The main bone of contention is Musyoka’s continued association with CORD, the Coalition of Reforms and Democracy led by Raila Odinga. Musyoka’s name has also been dragged into a tiff that pits his closest ally, Senator Johnstone Muthama, on one hand, and Governor Mutua, on the other. The two are engaged in a bitter leadership war for the control of Machakos county. Musyoka’s failure in reconciling them points to his waning influence in Ukambani.
But it is his association with Raila that is at the centre of his problems. Both Raila and Kalonzo – together with the third CORD partner, Moses Wetangula – have declared they will go for the presidency in the 2017 elections. My view is that political arithmetic does not give Musyoka or Wetangula an iota of a chance to the big house on the hill.
It is wildly unimaginable that the Luo community that has been so determined to get Raila to State House will ditch the former Prime Minister for one of the two partners. We are already seeing that obstinacy in the ongoing scramble for party posts where a section of ODM’s Luo leadership is ganging up to oppose “outsiders” from taking up leadership positions.
Thus, some Kamba leaders feel Raila is only taking Musyoka for a ride, and his intention is only to get Kamba votes in the next elections. This analysis is not inaccurate given Raila’s loss of support in his erstwhile stronghold of Rift Valley. There hasn’t been any time before in his quest for the presidency that Raila has to fight so hard for votes.
In the meantime, those who want Musyoka to leave CORD think he would be better off in Jubilee. But let me remind them that Jubilee is full. The coalition has no vacancy for someone of Kalonzo’s ambition. Uhuru has already said the next 20 years are reserved for him and Ruto. Musyoka’s only option is to stick with Raila, but even this option is fraught with difficulties.
In 2007, Musyoka faced a similar dilemma of deciding what to do as defeat loomed in the presidential race. Some of us in ODM-K had to convince him to accept the vice presidency in Kibaki’s government and not be left in the cold for another five years. Things are different this time around. That is why if Musyoka listens to hardliners in Wiper and moves away from Raila, his political obituary would be as good as sealed. At least in CORD he stands a chance of becoming a deputy president if Raila wins.
Another of Musyoka’s problems relates to the fact that he has no platform. He is neither a member of the cabinet nor a member of parliament. Other than at churches and at funeral events, he has no avenue he can effectively use to pronounce his ideas. His position as leader of Wiper is also overshadowed by Raila’s presence as supreme leader of CORD. That reduces the former cabinet minister of many ministries to a cheer leader, not a flag bearer.
So what chances does Musyoka have to become the president of Kenya? None!
And that is my say.