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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Is 2015 the year that will break Kalonzo hold on Kambas?

A succession plot has emerged within Ukambani politics even after talk became rife that Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka should retire from active politics and pave way for new blood.
The talk has split leaders across the three counties with camps emerging each positioning itself for imminent takeover. Kalonzo has remained in active politics for more than three decades culminating into his stint as vice-presidency during the last five years of former president Mwai Kibaki. The former VP  who has held tight grip on Ukambani politics since the demise of Mulu Mutisya is now finding himself in unfamiliar political waters with leaders opposing him and some calling for his retirement.
 Already, Kalonzo’s pillars, Kitui senator David Musila and Kitui women rep Nyiva Mwendwa have publicly declared they will quit politics in 2017 leaving Kalonzo to paddle the Wiper dhow in the increasingly turbulent waters alone. The duo has supported him during political onslaught from lands cabinet secretary Charity Ngilu.
On top of experience in public service, the two are considered opinion shapers in the county, hence their exit will be a major blow for Kalonzo. Nyiva is the wife of first indigenous Chief Justice in Kenya Kitili Mwendwa and rose to become the first woman in Kenya to be appointed cabinet minister during former President Moi regime. The senator rose from provincial administration where he served as PC to join politics. He represented Mwingi South constituency until his election as senator. Their exit is likely to weaken Kalonzo’s grip in the county with young leaders now preparing to square it out to replace Kalonzo.
In Kalonzo’s home county, the name of Mwingi Central MP Joe Mutambu has cropped up with residents saying he has what it takes to inherit Kalonzo’s shoes. He is monied but the fact that he rode on popularity of party to win the parliamentary seat may prove his undoing. Another Kalonzo sworn foe is his MP John Munuve. Although he won the Mwingi North seat on a Wiper ticket, he has shifted his alliance to Jubilee coalition. He is Kalonzo’s age mate and therefore viewed to have less political chance of replacing him. Cord leader of minority Francis Nyenze although experienced, pundits say, has failed to capitalise on his position. He once opposed Kalonzo but later clinched the Kitui West seat after reconciling. Kitui Rural MP Charles Nyamai and Kitui South MP Rachel Nyamai are believed not to nurture any political ambitions except retaining their seats.
In Machakos county, Kalonzo is facing stiff opposition from a group of leaders coalescing around the county governor Alfred Mutua. Although Mutua used to command four out of eight MPs from the county, the matrix is changing and now is remaining with three. Yatta MP Francis Mwangangi has so far charted his own political direction after the governor’s office demolished kiosks in his constituency to plant flowers. But close sources cite that the governor is unhappy with the MP’s association with Deputy President William Ruto who has visited Yatta to launch Sh2 billion canal rehabilitation some months back. The governor did not show up at the event  attended by his deputy and political foe Bernard Kiala.
The former government spokesman has been telling his supporters that he will be Uhuru Kenyatta’s running mate in 2017 in the event the International Criminal Court jail Ruto, something that has not been received well by Ruto supporters. Mutua has hosted the president twice in Machakos with the DP giving the two tours a wide berth.
Last month, when Ruto toured Konza city to launch the infrastructure programme for the proposed city, Mutua was absent and Ruto was accompanied by Lands cabinet secretary Charity Ngilu and Makueni governor Kivutha Kibwana. The DP took a swipe at those fighting over boundaries affirming that the city is in Makueni county and not Machakos. Locals jeered Machakos Catholic Bishop Martin Kivuva when he tried to imply the city was in Machakos county with Ruto watching on the unfolding scenario. Kivuva is a close Mutua ally.
The governor has been rooting to have the city to be associated with Machakos after his own styled Machakos city flopped. He is now using Machakos Town MP Victor Munyaka to advance the plan. Back to Yatta, the governor, it is said, is envious that the national government through the area MP is planning to invest over Sh10 billion project without his involvement hence the turf wars which have also attracted Wiper leader Kalonzo. Both Kalonzo and the governor have engaged MCAs from the constituency to fight the Mwangangi allegedly for his association with the Jubilee leaders.
The governor who once enjoyed support of all MPs in the county is now remaining with Munyaka of Machakos Town, Vincent Musyoka of Mwala and Itwiku Mbai of Masinga. Stephen Mule  of Matungulu and  Katatha Kyengo  of Kangundo and Robert Mbui of Kathiani are solidly behind Kalonzo-Muthama axis. Mavoko MP Patrick Makau who had earlier declared interest to challenge the governor come 2017 has retreated with voters warning him of his wavering. MPs supporting the governor are bitter Kalonzo critics and have snatched CCU party from its leader Wavinya Ndeti with Munyaka assuming the party leadership. Wavinya has vowed to fight for her seat, accusing the governor of being behind the recent development. Munyaka and Musyoka were elected on CCU ticket. Munyaka is likely to face his rival Knut national treasurer Albanus Mutisya who is a Kalonzo man come next elections. He is said to be active on the ground sometimes attending same functions with Munyaka.
In Mwala, the re-emergence of former MP Daniel Muoki is giving the youthful Musyoka nightmares. Although he had earlier said he was retiring from politics, the nonperformance of the incumbent has emboldened him to join politics. He has hosted opinion leaders in his home who have requested him to recapture his seat again. He was credited with improving livelihoods through CDF and was accessible as opposed to Musyoka whom voters say does not even pick emergency calls.
In Makueni county, politics have reached fever pitch with Kalonzo now declaring his support for Kibwana if elections are held. This is seen as an indicator that the former VP has read the mood on the ground that voters are done with   the MCAs and want it dissolved.