May 23rd 2017

Top Stories / 2017 Elections

Kalonzo faces test in Ukambani as small parties stake claim

"It is unimaginable for somebody to be elected a governor, MP or MCA under Wiper and later turn against the party and start fighting it. I ask you to teach these traitors a lesson come August.”

By Phillip MuleeSunday, 29 Jan 2017 17:18 EAT

Mr Musyoka.

Former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka’s intensive two day voter registration campaign blitz in his Ukambani home-turf raised a fundamental question of whether the ruling Jubilee Party and small parties mushrooming in the region would survive the Wiper onslaught in the August 8 general elections.

Mr Musyoka’s statement to his community voters was to punish all mutinous leaders who abandoned the Wiper party for Jubilee, which now is beset by problems. To many analysts, the question is how strong is Machakos Governor Dr Alfred Mutua and his Makueni counterpart Kivutha Kibwana are. Both are championing small parties, Maendeleo Chap Chap (MCC) and Muungano Party respectively.

Mr Musyoka was forthright: “I am urging you to register in larger numbers because there is no retreating. For a long time people have said Kalonzo is a diplomat but I want to tell them that this time round we are going to play it the hard way. It is unimaginable for somebody to be elected a governor, MP or MCA under Wiper and later turn against the party and start fighting it. I ask you to teach these traitors a lesson come August.”

The ex-VP appeared targeting Dr Mutua the leader of MCC party whose ticket, he would use to reclaim the seat. His loyalty and support is re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta. Dr Mutua has launched a countrywide campaign to popularize his party which is sponsoring candidates for Governors, Senators, Women Representatives, Members of Parliament and Members of County Assemblies, as he prepares to contest the presidency in 2022. He cannot be underrated on the ground being the incumbent and having initiated development projects to his credit. However his alliance to Jubilee Party might be undoing to him.

Prof Kibwana is very strong on the ground and since he has support from Mr Musyoka, his re-election will not be a hard task to overcome. However there has been silent protests that his Muungano Party is sponsoring a Senate candidate to challenge Wiper’s Vice Chairman Mutula Kilonzo Junior. Unless there is an agreed formula between Wiper and Muungano party on how to field candidates, then Wiper might be disadvantaged.

Other than targeting the two governors, Mr Musyoka’s eyes are on the five Wiper Members of Parliament who defected to Jubilee and wants them taught a lesson on the Election Day. They include Joe Mutambu (Mwingi Central), John Munuve Mati (Mwingi North), Kisoi Munyao (Mbooni), Richard Makenga (Kaiti) and Regina Ndambuki (Kilome). Other MPs from Ukambani who decamped to Jubilee include Itwiku Mbai (Masinga-Ford People), Victor Munyaka (Machakos Town-CCU), Vincent Musyoka Musau (Mwala-CCU), Francis Mwangangi (Yatta-Muungano Party) and Rachel Kaki Nyamai (Kitui South-Narc). The ground is shake on their side and therefore could be headed for thrushing defeat.

Legislators who ditched Wiper were claiming that the party does not conduct free and fair nomination citing the case of MPs Mbai, Munyaka, Musau and Mwangangi who defected after party nomination, when certificates were given to ‘favoured’ candidates who consequently lost to them during the 2013 general elections.

But following the passage of a Bill by MPs and eventual enactment into law by President Kenyatta barring party-hopping, the case of leaders defecting after nomination is now blocked. Politicians have to choose their parties beginning May as it mandatory for parties to submit lists of their members to the IEBC at least 90 days to the date of the General Election.

The Wiper party has appointed a team that will head the party's national elections board with hopes that it would conduct a free and fair nomination. The work of the five-member team is to plan, organise and coordinate internal polls. They are Hassan Sheikh Ali, Mr Thomas Ombati, Mr Charles Kaloki, Ms Agatha Solitei and Mr Khalifan Shikely. Mr Ali will be the chair, Ms Solitei the vice-chair and Mr Shikely the secretary. Two more will be added in the course of this month, according to Party Secretary and Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar who named the team on January 5.

Other than Jubilee, Governor Mutua’s MCC party, there are other parties, Kalonzo has put on notice. They include Makueni Governor Prof Kivutha Kibwana led Muungano Party, Machakos gubernatorial aspirant Wavinya Ndeti’s Chama Cha Uzalendo (CCU) and Former Water Minister and Mwala MP John Mutua Katuku led Peoples’ Trust Party (PTP).

Mr Musyoka has been at loggerheads with Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama after the latter’s push to have the Ukambani-based political parties dissolved under Wiper. Mr Muthama for long has manitained that Mr Musyoka was legitimising small parties by conferring them friendly accommodation with Wiper.

Now, as more and more grassroots aspirants are allying themselves with the parties in anticipation of tough nomination battles in Wiper, even Mr Musyoka himself is beginning to feel the heat.

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