Kalonzo Is The Azimio”s Only Choice For 2027 Elections
Towards the end of last year, former vice-president Kalonzo Musyoka was invited as the chief guest at celebrations to mark the 80th birthday of Siaya senator Oburu Oginga, the elder brother of former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
On that day, Kalonzo ferried everyone who matters in his Wiper party and from his community, including “beautiful Kamba girls”, as he himself would later describe them, to the function.
It was expected that the former Mwingi North MP would be endorsed by Raila to run for presidency in 2027. In fact, in his speech, Raila did allude to that. But that was not to be.
Two days later Raila somersaulted and stated that he had, in fact, been misunderstood and quoted out of context. That subject, and all its weight, remain on a political bed. A siesta is not unhealthy, as we all know.
But I elect to bring back the matter above sea level. A fortnight ago, at an event that did not attract extravagant media attention, Kalonzo was mandated by the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of his party to run for President in 2027.
Kalonzo has since appeared in two broadcast media talk shows to reiterate the endorsement. Now a Senior Counsel, the former long-serving Member of Parliament who has also previously served as Minister for Foreign Affairs as well as Minister for Education leads the most disciplined, most loyal and most united party in the country today.
He is also among the few public figures whose reputations have not been mired in corruption, greed, rancour and hatred. He is a well-measured individual who has invested in humility and respects authority over the years.
He therefore has the moral ground to publicly speak about the vagaries of graft, far more than a majority of his contemporaries. Few in the political arena presently can match his public service experience, loyalty to country and respect for others with divergent views; whether on ethnic, racial, age or gender evaluations. He stands out from the rest of the pack.
But age is not on his side. Kalonzo is now 70 years old. Nine years younger than the former Raila who has unsuccessfully vied for the presidency five times, with the Tseikuru-born politician backing him in a record three of those attempts.
Kalonzo has since declared more than once that he will not, this time round, step down for anyone in the next election as he has previously in favour of Raila who he hoped will support him.
Kalonzo ran for President in 2007 and came third after President Mwai Kibaki and Raila. He, however, moved very fast in the wake of that year’s post-election violence to strike a pact with Kibaki with whom he formed Government and was appointed Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs.
From where I sit, we have to stop pretending and admit that the Opposition as it stands today has Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka as the only pick it has to meaningfully stage a convincing campaign against Ruto in 2027, so long as he gets the full backing of former President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila.
That option is so simple and direct for Azimio or any other shed that the Opposition may morph itself into. Since forming his party, Kalonzo has never experienced defectors from that outfit like his colleagyes.
Kalonzo has a solid team of tireless youthful warriors led by Machahos Governor Wavinya Ndeti, Kitui senator Enoch Kioi Wambua, Makueni Governor Mutula Kilonzo Jnr, Makueni senator Dan Maanzo and Kathiani MP Robert Mbui who have stuck with Kenya’s 10th Vice-President like glue, under whatever ciscistances. No other party within the Azimio ensemble has such a committed and brave army of loyal lieutenants.
Eight million registered Kenyan voters did not participate in the 2022 General-Election. That number is higher than the votes either Ruto or Raila got in that contest. There are also also an estimated five million Kenyans who are eligible to vote but did not register as voters in 2022.
Thus, whoever wants to win the President next time must first win these 13 million oters. Kenyans need something fresh: A fresh face, a fresh voice and a fresh promise. From the Azimio umbrella, only Kalonzo fits that bill
. Pretending to sideline or place him in the back burners again is another sure of refusing, again, to accept the reality.
— The writer is the Revise Editor, People Daily newspaper
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