Kalonzo woos Mike Sonko to unseat Governor Mutua
It is understood that Kalonzo has been in talks with Sonko and has even sent emissaries to the flamboyant senator to persuade him to relocate his political base to Machakos.
Kalonzo has fallen out with Mutua and accused the governor of working with Jubilee to undermine him. The governor on the other hand has been working with MPs opposed to Kalonzo while insisting that his focus is on development.
Last Saturday, Kalonzo openly invited Sonko, a native of Machakos, to join Wiper and run for governor.
Mutua has publicly rejected the Okoa Kenya referendum campaign spearheaded by Cord, where Kalonzo is one of three co-principals.
Mutua is widely perceived as shifting loyalty to the government.
On Friday, Mutua declined to attend Kalonzo’s political rally where the latter opened party offices. Kalonzo hit out at Mutua and other rebels, saying it is “disrespectful for them to boycott the meeting even it is held on his doorstep.”
But yesterday, Sonko denied he was about to join the Wiper Party, telling the Star, “This is all propaganda aimed at tarnishing my name.”
He said while he recognised and respected the Wiper leader’s call on him, “I am where I am because of the people of Nairobi and I am not about to let them down by moving elsewhere.”
He said the call by Kalonzo for him to join the party was a “normal thing in politics,” but noted that he was happy in TNA.
“My loyalty to the President and my party is absolute. But I respect Kalonzo as a leader in this country but tell him No, thank you.”
Machakos Senator Johnston Muthama is reportedly one of the people involved in the talks and yesterday he neither confirmed nor denied the reports.
“Going by democracy, anybody is free to seek leadership anywhere in this country,” said Muthama.
Yesterday the Star learned that the Jubilee administration has given Machakos county a Sh1.5 billion grant to rollout tapped water – a scarce commodity in the dry and dusty region.
And in a move that may alarm the Cord brigade, more MPs from the Ukambani region appear to be joining Mutua’s bandwagon, leaving Kalonzo largely isolated in his own political backyard.
On Monday, about five lawmakers from the region endorsed Mutua as the regional kingpin and asked him to mobilise all elected leaders to chart what they termed “the region’s economic future.”
“I have heard the request by these leaders to convene a leaders’ meeting to brainstorm on issues affecting the Ukambani region. I will heed that call,” Mutua promised after commissioning water projects.
Also present at the Athi River rally were MPs Regina Ndambuki (Kilome), Benson Mbai (Masinga), John Munuve (Mwingi North), Joe Mutambu (Mwingi Centra) and Rachel Nyamai (Kitui South).
Kalonzo’s chief critic former MP Kalembe Ndile was also in attendance.
Apart from Nyamai and Mbai, who were elected on the Narc and Ford People tickets respectively, the remaining three MPs are Kalonzo’s Wiper legislators.
President Kenyatta’s strategists have identified Mutua as their Ukambani point man to wrest the region from Kalonzo, as suspended Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu gravitates to Cord.
Uhuru’s strategy is to back Governor Mutua’s development agenda to dwarf Kalonzo’s two-decade-long achievements as the de facto Kamba leader.
In May, President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto visited Machakos for the launch of the refurbished Machakos Level 5 Hospital – thanks to an equipment deal that most other governors had initially rejected.
The refurbished hospital later became a point of reference by Jubilee politicians, forcing the county chiefs to embrace the Sh53 billion equipment deal.