Don’t fight for me, Kalonzo tells Ruto amid Raila running mate debate

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Kalonzo Musoka addressing a roadside gathering in Mlolongo, Machakos County on May 5, 2022. [Peterson Githaiga, Standard]

Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka says he can fight for himself in the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition as debate on who should be Raila Odinga’s running mate gains momentum.

Deputy President William Ruto recently faulted Azimio for planning to subject Kalonzo Musyoka to an interview process as the coalition seeks to find a suitable running mate for ODM leader Raila Odinga.

Ruto said Kalonzo’s political stature, having served as Vice-President in Mwai Kibaki’s Government between 2008 and 2013, places him (Kalonzo) at a higher pedestal, and should therefore be “respected” by not being subjected to an interview process that “would be conducted by Kalonzo’s juniors”.

While on the campaign trail in Mlolongo Town, Machakos County on Thursday, May 5, Kalonzo said Ruto shouldn’t speak on his behalf.

At the same time, the Wiper Party boss said he won’t attend the said-running mate interview.

The panel formed to interview Raila’s possible running mates is made up of Bishop Peter Njenga, a retired bishop of the Mt Kenya ACK Diocese; former Kisumu Catholic Archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth, Narc-Kenya Party Secretary-General Michael Orwa, former Forestry minister Noah Wekesa (chairperson), the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) Organising Secretary Sheikh Mohamed Khalifa, Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua and former Turkana Water CEC Beatrice Askul Moe.

Elizabeth Meyo is the Secretary of the panel.

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“I was Raila Odinga’s running mate in 2013 and 2017 polls, and I wasn’t subjected to any interviews then. Now you’re saying you want to interview me, what for? That is not possible,” said Kalonzo.

“I’d love to tell the interviewing panel that if it’s about me being considered for the position, it would be easier if President Uhuru Kenyatta, Raila Odinga and I sit down and talk about the prospects. Let my candidature be approved or rejected at the negotiating table, and not by the panel interview,” he said.

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“It would be easier for the three of us (Uhuru, Raila and Kalonzo) to agree among ourselves on what direction we want to take,” added the Wiper Party chief.

At the same time, Kalonzo told Deputy President William Ruto that he (Kalonzo) is comfortable fighting for himself in Azimio, without any pressure being mounted on the Raila-led outfit by the Kenya Kwanza team.

“I’m hearing that UDA people are fighting for me… that I shouldn’t be subjected to the interviews. Let me tell them that I don’t want to be vouched for, especially by them. The party is being led by crooked people who want to take advantage of the developments in Azimio to court me to their side. I can’t, for any reason whatsoever, join UDA or Kenya Kwanza. My focus now is to work together with Raila Odinga to send them home. And they know that when Odinga and I are on the same side, our chance for victory is very high.”

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Kalonzo was accompanied on the campaign trail by former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, Mavoko MP Patrick Makau, Machakos Governor hopeful Wavinya Ndeti, Kathiani MP Robert Mbui, among others.

Besides Kalonzo Musyoka, the other aspirants that Azimio is considering for the running mate position are Narc-Kenya Party leader Martha Karua, former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth, among others.

KANU chairperson Gideon Moi on Thursday, May 5 wrote to the Azimio team, saying KANU had endorsed Kalonzo Musyoka for the running mate position.

The selection panel has until May 10 to interview and recommend the most suitable candidate to Raila Odinga ahead of the May 16 deadline set by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

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