Kalonzo metamorphosed from harsh government critic to key supporter
Kalonzo’s support for Uhuru earns him seat at the high table: Exactly a year ago, when the country was in a highly charged political mood, Interior Cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i ordered the withdrawal of several security officers attached to Nasa leaders Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka.
This happened a few weeks to the October 26 repeat presidential election ordered by Supreme Court, which the opposition boycotted.
The two leaders protested the decision, saying that it was intended to expose them to danger.
Mr Musyoka accused the government of compromising their safety, saying there is no justification for withdrawing the security of presidential candidates in the middle of charged election campaigns.
“What are they up to when they withdraw the security of presidential candidates? It’s like allowing Mungiki (criminal gang) to come and fix anyone of us,” Mr Musyoka posed at Kyamalutu Primary School in Tseikuru in October last year.
Fast forward to October this year and Mr Musyoka is deeply immersed in government affairs and enjoying privileged treatment both within and outside the country.
From accompanying President Uhuru Kenyatta to the China — Africa conference in Beijing, being accorded State protocols in Kampala, Uganda to leading his Wiper party MPs to State House last week, Mr Musyoka has metamorphosed from a harsh government critic to a key supporter.
The transformation began early in April when he tasked a small team of close allies and advisers to explore his party’s political options in the wake of the handshake between President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga.
This culminated in the declaration by the Wiper party’s National Executive Council cum parliamentary group meeting that they will support Mr Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda in and out of Parliament.
A week later, Mr Musyoka was part of the government delegation to the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (Focac) Summit, which kicked off on September 4, in his newfound blossoming relationship with Mr Kenyatta.
Mr Musyoka confirmed that he attended the summit in his capacity as the honorary chairman of World Eminent Chinese Businessmen Association (WECBA) but at the president’s invitation. Two weeks later, Mr Musyoka flew to Uganda to preside over the graduation ceremony of Uganda Technology and Management University (Utamu) where he is the chancellor.
He was accorded elaborate State protocols, including riding in government vehicles, complete with police escort and chase cars during his two-day visit where he also paid a courtesy call to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
Mr Musyoka also graced a dinner hosted by Kenya’s new High Commissioner to Uganda, ambassador Kiema Kilonzo as the chief guest, further raising eyebrows over his new role in Mr Kenyatta’s government. The dinner was also attended by Ugandan foreign minister Sam Kutesa.
The privileges and VIP treatment accorded to Mr Musyoka in Uganda, according to government sources, are the standard protocol for a visiting State guest of the deputy president or equivalent status.
A week later, ICT cabinet secretary Joe Mucheru was at hand to preside over the launch of new studios for Athiani FM, a vernacular radio station associated with Mr Musyoka’s family.
The events that culminated in the State House visit this week have seen Mr Musyoka become a staunch advocate of the Big Four Agenda and the fight against corruption.
He has also been rallying his Wiper MPs to support the government’s agenda on the floor of the House including the recent controversial law on VAT increment.
The Wiper party leader says his meeting with Mr Kenyatta was meant to address several development matters and also share the party’s position on the current political affairs, fight against corruption and national reconciliation among others. During the State House visit, the president said he was happy to work with Mr Musyoka because of his many years of experience in government.
“I reached out to my brother Stephen (Mr Muysoka) because there are areas where he has strong strengths and can contribute immensely to help this country greatly” Mr Kenyata told the delegation.
Mr Kenyatta said failing to utilise the best brains in government affairs just because they were from Opposition ranks was pointless.
“We did not discuss matters touching Ukambani alone, we also talked about our country as a whole and our region because he’s a national leader,” he said.
The president promised to tour Ukambani soon at the invitation of Mr Musyoka.
Several projects in Ukambani including the High Grand Falls Dam in Tharaka/Nithi and Kitui counties, the coal mining project in the Mui Basin, the Thwake Dam project in Kitui and Makueni counties, Wikithuki Irrigation Scheme in Kitui County and the fast tracking of the Kibwezi-Mutomo-Kitui-Mwingi-Kandwia -Usueni Road among others were discussed.