Kamba politics on fire

Kamba politics on fire


The move by Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka to seal a cooperation deal with the ruling Jubilee Party has sparked a fresh storm in his Ukambani backyard where residents are now accusing Kalonzo of political dishonesty. The deal between the two parties was penned at Jubilee Party headquarters in Pangani, Nairobi, after which leaders drawn from the two parties held a joint press conference. Conspicuously missing was the Jubilee leader Uhuru Kenyatta which left Kambas accusing Uhuru of belittling Kalonzo in that he should have been at the function if at all he attached value to it. Many were thus left with a feeling that Kalonzo is forcing himself on Uhuru. Others said this was expected because as far as Uhuru is concerned, Kalonzo is politically expired goods. Indeed, those who in Jubilee do not have time for Kalonzo have been heard saying that Jubilee is not a dumpsite for perished goods.

Kalonzo Musyoka

While Jubilee had no one of substance to sign the deal, Kalonzo brought with him Makueni senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr, former MP Chirau Mwakwere, and Judith Sijeny. Wiper national executive council gave a nod to the deal that was entered upon by a unanimous agreement by the party members. From the Jubilee side were secretary-general Raphael Tuju and vice-chairman David Murathe. But now a storm has erupted with Kalonzo’s estranged lieutenants led by Makueni governor Kivutha Kibwana and former Machakos Senator Johnston Muthama dismissing the deal, and teaming up to scuttle his move to solidify his grassroots support ahead of the 2022 general election. To counter, Wiper now wants Muthama disciplined. Wiper deputy chairman Farah Maalim in a drunkenly rant shocked Kenyans when he said that Wiper will never have anything to do with those who talk to William Ruto. In what amounted to declaring Ruto the enemy of Wiper, Farah said that Wiper will never agree with Ruto and, waving his hands, madly told Muthama to go away.

Governor Kivutha Kibwana

This did not go down well with Kambas who felt that Farah a Somali was setting Kambas against Kalenjins. Some even went to the extent of reminding Kalonzo that his own relatives in Mwingi are being killed daily by AK-47 gun-totting Somali herders who have invaded their farms and graze their camels on their crop at gunpoint. “Asumali metuvena miunda na maituvena kyama? (Will Somalis steal our farms and our party)” a dejected Kalonzo neighbour asked. As if this was not enough, Kambas in Mwingi were heard lamenting that the camels had brought Kala-azar disease to Mwingi were scores of Kambas are hospitalized. But Kalonzo’s attack dogs led by Senator Enock Wambua (Kitui), Boniface Kabaka (Machakos), and Mutula Jnr (Makueni) have not only endorsed the deal but also rallied behind the former vice president in his quest to remain the Kamba community political kingpin. The three are counting on a Kalonzo wave in Ukambani to retain their seats and care less where Kalonzo will meet his political death nationally so long as they survive locally. The Wiper party top command has also summoned Muthama to defend himself against accusations of gross insubordination, failure to which disciplinary action will be taken against him.

Johnston Muthama

Muthama has however told them that he is not even feeling anything. “Mewe mathie na yingi (They be told to grind with another stone),” Muthama said as he told Kalonzo that he is a baobab tree that can not be uprooted using a jembe. Muthama’s nickname is kiamba (baobab). Muthama also asked Kambas whether they have noticed that Kalonzo has never held a rally since Muthama stopped financing him. Days later, Muthama and Kibwana held a meeting at an undisclosed location before Kibwana took to his social media account to signal that they would convene a meeting of Kamba leaders and opinion shapers to chart the way forward for the community. The said meeting was attended by a number of MCAs across the three Ukambai counties. The governor posted on his Facebook in Kamba dialect that the meeting would take stock of the region’s development right from 1985 when Kalonzo became the Kitui North MP at the tender age of 32 years. In the tweet, the governor lashed out at Kalonzo for doing little for the community in his over two decades of leadership.

He lamented that Kalonzo, who served as vice-president in the grand coalition government of President Mwai Kibaki, and prime minister Raila Odinga (20082013), cabinet minister of Foreign Affairs in Mwai government (2003 to 2004) and cabinet minister in the government of President Daniel Arap Moi (1993 until 2002), did not use his influence to initiate development projects in Ukambani. The coming together of Kibwana and Muthama comes at a time there are reports they are leaning towards William Ruto’s camp and are gearing to lead the DP’s troops in the region. Kibwana who had taken a swipe at Kalonzo and Muthama, terming them as rudderless and called for the filling of the leadership vacuum in the region, has now swallowed his pride and is ready to work with the former senator. Muthama’s fallout with Kalonzo accelerated after the Wiper leader dismissed attempts by the former senator to broker a deal for him to join forces with Ruto ahead of the 2022 general election. Muthama had claimed that he was brokering the deal with the backing of MPs Victor Munyaka (Machakos), Vincent Musyoka (Mwala) and Nimrod Mbai (Kitui). He added that the Kamba Nation was charting a new course after failing to realize its dreams in Nasa and vowed to lead a delegation of Wiper leaders for talks with Ruto for a working formula.

Mutula Kilonzo Jr

Speaking during an interview with Musyi FM, a Kamba vernacular radio station owned by Royal Media Services, Muthama said Ruto and Kalonzo were in a similar political predicament, having been dumped by their respective coalition leaders. He claimed that both leaders were victims of the Building Bridges Initiative, accusing the president and Raila of using it to stifle the career prospects of the DP and the former vice president. But the former senator was taken aback when the Wiper leader vehemently denied he was in talks with Ruto over a political alliance ahead of the 2022 election. Kalonzo termed the claims by Muthama as malicious and meant to ruin his cordial working relationship with the president. A few months earlier, Muthama had rubbed the Wiper leadership the wrong way when he accused Kalonzo of being self-centered and disregarding the needs of Ukambani to serve his own interest. He singled out Kalonzo’s push for the nomination of his son to the Eastern Africa Legislative Assembly as an example of bad leadership. He argued that the former vice-president should have handed the opportunity to any other qualified son from the many poor families that have supported and voted for him for decades.

Those in the know however say that Kalonzo has been promised help by Uhuru Kenyatta, Raila Odinga and Gideon Moi to start a Kalonzo dynasty in Ukambani where his son Kennedy will be brought under the umbrella of the three. For Kibwana, he has been at loggerheads with Kalonzo, even before he ditched Wiper citing lack of democracy. The governor has described Kalonzo as an opportunist waiting for the presidency to be delivered at his doorstep. In his first term as governor, where he was elected on Muungano Party, Kibwana accused the former VP of using his party’s strength in the assembly to make Makueni county ‘ungovernable’. At one time he petitioned the president to disband the county government but the president refused to do so. According to sources, Kitui county governor Charity Ngilu is also opposed to the Wiper-Jubilee deal, saying Kalonzo will use it to crush leaders opposed to him. The governor is seeing the hand of Kalonzo in the impeachment motion against her. Ngilu has stated that it was time the Kamba community ditched Kalonzo for his barren development record. “We want leaders who understand development. We shall not allow some people who do not understand development to be sitting on the national table to negotiate for the community,” said Ngilu in an apparent reference to Kalonzo.