Top Stories / 2017 Elections
Monday, 08 May 2017 16:28 EATnewsdesk@kenyafreepress.com
Machakos senator Johnstone Muthama has followed the footsteps of his Kitui counterpart David Musila by withdrawing support for the Wiper Democratic Movement led by National Super Alliance (NASA) deputy presidential running mate Kalonzo Musyoka.
In a move that will reverberate beyond Ukambani, Mr Muthama announced today that he would not defend his seat in the general election and will instead focus his energies on campaigning forr NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga. Mr Musila last week resigned from the Wiper party, of which he was the chairman, after controversially losing the Kitui gubernatorial nomination.
In leaving the Wiper Party, Mr Muthama said that former vice president Kalonzo Musyoka was "dictating" the choice of political leaders in the Ukambani region, warning that people's preferred leaders were being rigged out in the party's nominations in order to bring on board Mr Musyoka's allies.
The senator, apparently incensed by the treatment his ally Machakos deputy governor Bernard Kiala got at the hands of the Wiper party, said he would not campaign for the gubernatorial nominee Wavinya Ndeti, whom she supported in 2013 against then Mr Musyoka-inspired nominee Alfred Mutua.
"The party has betrayed the people's trust, just like it did in the last election when it imposed Governor Alfred Mutua on the people," said Mr Muthama, who promised that a shift is coming in Ukambani politics that will sweep the former VP's preferred leaders out of power.
"What is happening here is unacceptable. You have in Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana being given automatic ticket, and in Machakos the same is done to Wavinya Ndeti. Where do you take the rest of people?" he said.
It is believed that Mr Muthama will join forces with Mr Musila and other forces against the Wiper party leader in Ukambani. However, with Mr Muthama reputed to be close to the Odinga wing in NASA, it remains to be seen how such dynamic will impact the harmonious working relationship that the NASA people to win August elections.
Mr Muthama has been in the bad books of Mr Musyoka's diehard backers for years, who since the formation of CORD in 2013 have seen him more as an ally of Mr Odinga than Musyoka's. Early last month, Mr Muthama was linked to a planned move from Machakos to Nairobi county but the senator rejected the idea.