Have they bitten more than they can chew, chewed more than they can swallow or swallowed more than their stomachs can digest? These are the questions many are asking in Ukambani after two governors from the region declared their intention to go the presidency as a former senator brings his own presidential candidate with the intent of making him the candidate of Kambas 2022.
Add to this the fact that Kambas have Kalonzo Musyoka as their universally declared presidential flagbearer and it makes for political constipation if elephantine proportions. Last week Machakos county governor Alfred Mutua launched his presidential campaigns for 2022 on his Maendeleo Chap Chap party. Mutua has gone under and has not even made a tour in his county to popularise his supposed candidature making many conclude it was just another of his cinemas. Mutua’s declaration follows that of Makueni governor Kivutha Kibwana who has for months now been telling whoever cares to listen that he will be on the ballot for president 2022 on a party he is yet to divulge although many know it is the Muungano party. Like Mutua, Kivutha has not talked of his candidature since he launched his bid and many now say “this thing of presidential aspiration ina wenyewe” the likes of Kalonzo.
Kivutha jumped ship from Muungano to Wiper in the run-up to the last elections but was last year kicked out of Wiper where he was the chairman. Kivutha had cleverly left his Muungano party in the hands of his lackeys to hold brief for him while his sojourn in Wiper lasted. The dalliance between Kalonzo and Kivutha has gone down on record as the shortest that Kalonzo has ever had with any politician. It is only Kalonzo’s relationship with Kitui governor Charity Ngilu that comes close in comparison but then Kalonzo-Ngilu friendship is never taken seriously by anyone least of all the two whose plastic smiles are so transparent you can see the menacing hatred beneath. Kivutha was to be shown the door as Wiper chairman, a seat he had been named to in the 2017 election buildup to replace another strong Kalonzo backer David Musila, the then senator of Kitui who fell out with Kalonzo after Musila lost primaries for the Wiper ticket for Kitui governor.
Musila had contested against Kalonzo’s preferred candidate then governor Julius Malombe. Pissed off, Musila left Wiper and ran as an independent candidate whereupon he came second to Ngilu with Malombe, coming a distant third. Cleverly, Ngilu who had been in the political cold for five years after Kalonzo party had seen her lose the 2013 senate race to Musila had in that 2017 election edged close to Kalonzo and agreed with every word Kalonzo breathed so much so that many wondered how this was a political contest when Ngilu of Narc party was campaigning for the seat as if she was in Wiper. In this, Ngilu was taking advantage of the fact that she was in the same Nasa coalition with Kalonzo and was supporting the Nasa presidential campaign that had Raila Odinga as president and Kalonzo as his running mate. At the time, Ngilu who had, after she lost the senate race in 2013, been appointed minister of Lands by Uhuru Kenyatta was now Uhuru’s most fierce critic as she aimed at cementing her position in Nasa.
Although Ngilu who ran for the presidency in 1997 has not made her stand known as per the presidential bids of Mutua and Kivutha, it is understood that as much as she knows that the two do not stand the slightest chance to make a mark in the presidential race even if one stepped down for the other, she is nonetheless happy with it because it makes Kalonzo’s life difficult. Those who know Kalonzo say that if there is any political turf that he jealously guards against encroachment, it is Ukambani. The declaration by the two is, therefore, needlessly to say, going down really badly with Kalonzo supporters who feel that it is aimed at portraying him as just another of those eyeing the Kamba vote and not the bonafide owner of the vote which he is. As you would expect, Kalonzo’s supporters are already up in arms against Mutua accusing him of spoiling Kalonzo’s chances to become president by seeking to split the Kamba vote.
Mutua’s supporters on the other hand say that the habit of Kalonzo supporters of accusing any Kamba who shows interest in the seat of the president as being out to spoil for Kalonzo is a fallacy because Kalonzo has not declared that he will be gunning for presidency in 2022 and so it should not be assumed that it is given that Kalonzo will run as for other Kambas to be blamed for expressing their ambitions. What is complicating matters for Kalonzo is that it is not likely that Raila will pick him as running mate for the third time, and it is so Kalonzo will have to mount his own presidential campaign. In the circumstances, therefore, Kalonzo will have to look for another person to partner with. This, however, is made tricky by the fact that Kalonzo has already declared that he will not deputize William Ruto who is seen as the frontrunner for president 2022 “because I’m senior to Ruto”. If Ruto is his junior, then it is unlikely that Kalonzo will deputize for Mudavadi who like Kalonzo has been vice president. Incidentally, Ruto is also becoming a factor in Ukambani as he seeks to make inroads in the region.
Last week, Ruto was in Athi River accompanied by Muthama where huge crowds along the road expressed their support for him. Muthama has declared his interest in the Machakos governor’s seat even as he eyes a deputy prime minister’s office if BBI creates one. This is also the seat Kalonzo is calculating for if he does not get the DP or PM seat. Ngilu is said to be salivating for the same deputy PM office as is Kivutha. As a matter of fact, it is a widely held view in Ukambani that Ruto would get more votes than Mutua whom many believe is declaring he will run so that he ups his bargaining stakes among the serious players when it comes to sharing of national positions. Should the BBI pass and with it come the expanded executive, Mutua is scheming to be considered for a deputy prime minister or speaker in the assembly or senate.
Others say Mutua’s dream is to become a minister and that he might run for MP. As for Muthama who has now been branded political auctioneer having graduated from a broker, ever since he started marketing Ruto’s presidential bid in Ukambani he has developed health complications. At a meeting Muthama called at his home last week where he invited MPs Victor Munyaka of Machakos Town, Vincent Musyoka of Mwala and Nimrod Mbai of Kitui East, Muthama had to retreat to his bedroom after he started nosebleeding. It was not until late in the evening that Muthama came out and blamed his woes on his barber whom he said had inserted something into his nostril as Muthama slept as he was being shaved. Two weeks ago Muthama nosebled at the funeral of Paul Ngei’s son and people now say he is taking politics more important than his life. Others who attended the Muthama home meeting to strategize for Ruto are former MPs Moses Katatha of Kangundo and Itwiku Mbai of Masinga. A renowned political factotum in Ukambani Davies Musau was also in attendance.