Political leaders from Ukambani who stood firm behind Jubilee government against the popular Nasa coalition and lost their seats are trooping back to Wiper with a mission of reviving their political careers.
The leaders majority of whom are MPs who had earlier won their seats courtesy of Kalonzo Musyoka had decamped to Jubilee in the run-up to 2017 elections but eventually lost their seats for going against Kalonzo in the region. The frustrated leaders now in political cold accuse Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto of betrayal and failing to recognize their efforts through lucrative state appointments as agreed before joining Jubilee party.
According to them, the president through his deputy had wooed them to market Jubilee in the region as one of their strategies to weaken Nasa zones and tame Kalonzo who was Raila’s running mate.
The leaders say at one of the meetings held at Ruto’s office in Karen, the DP promised to finance their campaigns to balance Wiper wave in the region but it later proved a pipe dream after he left the campaigns under the control of tycoon Peter Muthoka who sidelined them and only dealt with Machakos Town MP Victor Munyaka and Kitui South MP Rachel Nyamai.
The leaders complained of poor coordination and lack of campaign funds forcing a majority of them to remain in Nairobi for the better part of the elections.
Their efforts to reach out to Uhuru and Ruto proved futile after Muthoka used his connections to block them. According to Kalembe Ndile who dissolved his Tip Tip party to join Jubilee, campaign cash for the region was shared between Muthoka and Munyaka with Munyaka using the cash to mount a successful campaign to clinch back his Machakos town seat on a Jubilee ticket.
Upon the reelection of Uhuru, the leaders say he ignored the community and its Jubilee politicians during the naming of the cabinet.
Even with intense lobbying from them, Uhuru appointed only Foreign Affairs cabinet secretary Monica Juma to the cabinet.
However, her appointment was not well received in Ukambani considering that although born in Mwingi, she is already married in Murang’a to Peter Kagwanja who is a staunch Jubilee adviser. Her post was brokered by the versatile Equity Bank chairman Peter Munga.
The Jubilee brigade from Ukambani was then pushing for appointment of Kiema Kilonzo who was then serving as an envoy in Turkey. To his surprise, Kiema was retained as an envoy but transferred to Uganda where he is currently serving but unhappy.
The other leaders have remained in the cold until this year when Uhuru named some as directors to various boards which they say are insignificant and have no political value.
The bitter leaders say Uhuru appointed them to parastatal boards which do not enjoy state funding with majority landing posts in training institutions.
The same happens to appointments which went to Kalonzo’s party with his people either appointed as directors or chairpersons of less significant boards. For instance, the president appointed former Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau as chair of Tanathi Water Services Board which is highly financed and with headquarters in Kitui county but gave former Kitui governor Julius Malombe as chair of Kenya Water Tower Agency which does not enjoy state funding.
Wavinya Ndeti got chair of Water Training Institute which many Kambas say is like being appointed board chair of a secondary school.
It is this frustration that is forcing Jubilee leaders to troop back to Kalonzo’s Wiper now also that the handshake is taking effect. Majority of them are also said to be maximising the opportunity created by leaders now fighting Kalonzo led by three governors with Kalonzo now in dire need of defenders.
In Kitui county, Kalonzo has won back Kiema Kilonzo who will be eyeing Kitui governor’s seat held by Charity Ngilu now in a war path with Kalonzo. MPs Rachel Nyamai, Kitui South and Nimrod Mbai, Kitui East, although elected on a Jubilee ticket are now backing Kalonzo. Those in the know however say Kalonzo will back Malombe.
In Machakos, Kalonzo has won back Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo who won his seat on an independent ticket and former Masinga MP Ben Mbai who lost his seat to Joshua Mwalyo.
Kilonzo has teamed up with Kathiani MP Robert Mbui, a Kalonzo loyalist, to run for the Machakos governor’s seat.
In Makueni county where Kalonzo has fallen out with Governor Kivutha Kibwana, those planning to rejoin Wiper include former MPs Philip Kaloki, Kisoi Munyao, Katemi Makenga and former senatorial candidate Gideon Ndambuki.
Ndambuki who served as the executive chairman of NSSF was dropped by Uhuru in favour of Julius Karangi. He is said to be bitter with Uhuru for leaving him in the cold. Kibwezi West MP Patrick Musimba has also hinted at joining Wiper as he seeks to contest a county seat.