Top Stories / 2017 Elections
Saturday, 08 Oct 2016 13:37 EAT
Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka addressed the corruption allegations facing Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua for the first time yesterday, asking the governor to be "courageous enough" and answer the charges against him in the court.
"I wonder why he has gone missing; if he is innocent he should present himself to court," said Mr Musyoka at a rally in Kitengela, Kajiado County. Mr Musyoka had not previously addressed the case against Dr Mutua, his former ally turned opponent.
Dr Mutua, a former government spokesman, was supported into his position by Mr Musyoka in 2013, but immediately after the polls he emerged as one Mr Musyoka's fiercest critics, rising to the top of a loose uprising by youthful Ukambani leaders against Mr Musyoka's leadership.
However, the governor has been embroiled in a long anti-corruption investigation. Last year, the anti-corruption commission recommended his prosecution for irregular procurement of vehicles for the county government. But before he could be charged, he moved to the High Court to stay the charges at the magistrate's court, alleging that the criminal case would violate his rights.
The case dragged on for a year, but two weeks ago the High Court ruled that his rights would not be violated if he faced the criminal charges. As it happened, the governor left the country hours after the ruling, a move some saw as timed to avoid arrest the following day.
Yesterday, Mr Musyoka said Dr Mutua "should not go underground if he is innocent". In an apparent reference to their sour relationship, the Wiper leader also described the governor as an "ungrateful man" who did not recognize the support he had received "from the people".
Mr Musyoka also sent a warning to Ukambani leaders who defected to the Jubilee Party last month, saying they too had betrayed their voters. "Those who were bought by Jubilee should prepare themselves to go home, you cannot betray the people and party which sponsored you and expect to be voted back."
Wiper Party leaders yesterday held a rally at Kitengela to drum up support for the party and Mr Musyoka's campaign to be elected the presidential flagbearer of the CORD coalition. The party was welcomed to Kajiado by Governor David Nkedianye and other elected CORD leaders from the area.
Nkedianye who was elected on ODM ticket, said CORD members will support whoever will get the coalition's ticket for the presidency and urged the three co-principals to unite if they want to defeat Jubilee in the elections.
Mombasa senator Hassan Omar, who is also the party's secretary general, said Wiper was strong and will remain in CORD. "Wiper is still in CORD and we're stronger than ever before. CORD is not splitting, every party within CORD is just popularizing itself," said Omar.
Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama drummed up support for Mr Musyoka, whom he said was "the best man to send Jubilee packing", saying Musyoka had sacrificed his presidential ambitions for a long time and the others should now support him. "Kalonzo has sacrificed for a long time for others, now is their time to return the favour to him," said Mr Muthama.
Other leaders who were present were Machakos women rep Susan Musyoka, Machakos deputy governor Bernard Kiala, and MPs Stephen Mule (Matungulu), Robert Mbui (Kathiani) and Patrick Makau (Mavoko).
Mr Musyoka also dismissed deputy president William Ruto's claim during a recent visit to Kibwezi, Makueni County, that Jubilee was the only coalition sure of winning the coming elections and that Mr Musyoka should join it.
"I heard Ruto saying that in CORD I don't have a future and Jubilee is the only alternative, let him keep dreaming but am in CORD to stay," said the Wiper leader. He also said that Mr Ruto's increased trips to Ukambani region would not give the DP any support there.
"I want to tell him (Ruto) that he can camp in Ukambani for a whole year but he won't be getting any votes. But I am soon going to the Rift Valley and I can assure him I will get more votes than him because I have had a good relationship with the Kalenjin community for more than 20 years."
The writer is the news editor of the Kenya Free Press