Wiper to meet over Kalonzo Musyoka’s 2022 bid
Wiper Party will meet on Tuesday for the first time since leader Kalonzo Musyoka missed last week’s ‘swearing-in’ of Nasa leader Raila Odinga, amid fears that 2022 election realignments could split the coalition.
The meeting, the party said, would discuss the ‘oath’ but “not as the main agenda”. The main theme of the meeting would be the 2022 State House race and having Mr Musyoka as the opposition coalition flagbearer.
The Wiper Party meeting comes amidst speculation that the no-show by Mr Musyoka, Mr Musalia Mudavadi of Amani National Congress, and Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula was a sign of a definite shift away from Mr Odinga ahead of 2022.
On Monday, Wiper deputy Secretary-General Peter Mathuki said the party’s eyes were set on 2022.
“This thing (swearing-in) is diversionary. It should not take a lot of our time. As a party, we must remain focused on 2022. These other issues become diversionary. People want to make it diversionary for us to lose focus. We cannot,” said Mr Mathuki.
Mr Mathuki said that while the party supports the decision to ‘swear-in’ Mr Odinga, and later, Mr Musyoka, Wiper would remain focused on the State House race.
“Of course we know that Kalonzo will be sworn in (as the people’s deputy president after Mr Odinga). But what we really look forward to is for him to be sworn in as the President of Kenya in 2022,” said Mr Mathuki.
Mr Odinga took ‘oath’ on January 30 as the people’s president before an ecstatic crowd at Uhuru Park, but the event was not attended by his three co-principals who later said that the no-show was part of a plan.
“It was a tactical decision. It had been decided in Machakos that Raila will be sworn in first. And even if we had made it to Uhuru Park, and which was not made possible, Raila will be sworn in alone minus his deputy,” Mr Musyoka told journalists in a press conference where he was overcome with tears after Mr Odinga told of an attack at his home where he is nursing his sick wife.
Mr Mudavadi said: ““There is no sense in any vilification for not attending the swearing-in. Nasa is a legally registered coalition and we have not planned to disband it.”
But while the three showed a brave face that things were good in the coalition, an insider who did not want to be quoted told the Nation that the trio had isolated Mr Odinga, whom they feel is using them to advance his own agenda to the detriment of their 2022 race matrix.
Mr Mudavadi alluded to the isolation theory on Sunday, after a rally in which a section of Nasa MPs asked them to “cleanse” themselves.
“I call upon all Kenyans, especially those in opposition, to stop cannibalising themselves but instead close ranks and focus against this brutal regime,” Mr Mudavadi said in the tweet, asking them to refocus on fighting the Jubilee regime.
To counter Mr Odinga’s strategy, the insider said, the trio have reportedly opted to chart their own path by sending overtures to Central Kenya politicians.
This, insiders say, was the biggest reason why Mr Musyoka, Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang’ula missed the ‘oath’ event.
Had Mr Musyoka and Mr Mudavadi gone for the ‘swearing-in’, their relations with the Mt Kenya region, which they are trying to court for 2022, would have been irreparably damaged, an insider aware of the thinking of the three, said.
Contacted, Wiper deputy party leader Farah Maalim, a close associate of Mr Musyoka’s, refused to discuss the specifics of the claim of his party boss and the two Nasa principals’ plan.
However, he was not hopeful of the chances of the coalition surviving until the 2022 political season.
“The country is at crossroads. And it is difficult to predict the future. All I can say is that the two coalitions, Jubilee and Nasa, are collapsing. A search for totally new formations has just begun,” Mr Maalim told the Saturday Nation.
Mr Maalim, who was in ODM before decamping to Mr Musyoka’s Wiper Party, had opposed Mr Odinga’s ‘oath’ taking plot, arguing that it was unconstitutional.
This argument, of collapse of the two coalitions, the former National Assembly deputy speaker argued, was informed by history that since the 1997 elections, no party that won the previous poll had sought re-election using the same outfit.