Kalonzo Musyoka and Johnstone Muthama clash at rally as Kamba unity comes into sharp focus
Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka on Saturday accused his close ally Johnstone Muthama of advancing the interests of ODM leader Raila Odinga in the Cord coalition.
An incensed Mr Musyoka told Mr Muthama to his face that he was working in cahoots with Siaya Senator James Orengo to ensure Mr Odinga becomes the Cord presidential flagbearer in next year’s election at his expense.
“I am fully aware of what you have been doing behind my back with Orengo to predetermine the outcome of Cord presidential primaries and deny me the ticket. You must convince Wiper supporters that the ticket you are pushing for can deliver victory for Cord,” he said at Sultan Hamud market.
Mr Musyoka was addressing campaign rallies in Makueni County when he warned that the party faithful were watching Mr Muthama’s every political move.
“The punishment you’ll get from these people will be worse than the humiliation you got when your trousers were torn in Parliament,” he said.
The turn of events could make Mr Muthama’s stay as co-chairman of Cord steering committee untenable as Wiper MPs, including those who decamped to Jubilee and who have been complaining of alleged bullying by Mr Muthama, are likely to push for his removal.
At Salama market, Mr Muthama had given Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana an ultimatum to dissolve his Muungano Party and join Cord through Wiper before next year’s polls if he must continue associating with them.
Mr Muthama accused Prof Kibwana and his Machakos counterpart, Dr Alfred Mutua, of leading “briefcase parties” to confuse Ukambani voters and diminish Wiper dominance in the region.
“We don’t want to hear some people standing on one leg and running around pretending to lead the community,” Mr Muthama said in reference to the two governors who have established their own political outfits.
It is at this point that Mr Musyoka interrupted him and told him off, saying the party policy was against bullying elected leaders and confrontational politics.
“Mr Muthama, you are out of order. I am the party leader and I won’t allow anyone to bully other leaders in the name of campaigning for me,” an angry Mr Musyoka said, adding that as a presidential candidate, he needed everyone on board.
The public censure, which suggested that Mr Muthama was responsible for the party rebellion that has seen several MPs decamp to Jubilee, caught the senator by surprise and exposed the simmering tensions between the two Wiper leaders.
A visibly angry Mr Musyoka rebuked Mr Muthama, telling him that he will regret his underhand actions.
We nominated you to take care of our party interests in the Cord family, yet you are doing the opposite. The party faithful will teach you a painful lesson,” he said.
The Machakos Senator appeared embarrassed as he watched Mr Musyoka from his car’s sunroof. He then excused himself from the party’s Mombasa road and Taita Taveta County meet-the-people tour and returned to Nairobi.
Within Wiper party circles, Mr Muthama has long been perceived to be working for ODM against his own party boss, and it was just a matter of time before this came to the public limelight.
The Wiper leader said the Senator’s abrasive style was turning away many leaders who wanted to be with him, including Prof Kibwana, who had lined up his supporters to welcome him.
CAMPAIGNED AGAINST WIPER CANDIDATES
The differences between the two hitherto close allies date back to the period prior to the 2013 General Election when Mr Muthama openly campaigned against Wiper candidates.
For instance, Mr Muthama declined to campaign for Dr Mutua after he was nominated by Wiper to run for Machakos governorship and instead rooted for former Kathiani MP Wavinya Ndeti.
Across Machakos County, fielded a parallel set of candidates for MPs in 2013 using smaller parties. Currently, Mr Muthama supports Machakos deputy governor Bernard Kiala to unseat Dr Mutua while in Makueni, he is behind the candidacy of Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr against Prof Kibwana.
Kitui rural MP Charles Nyamai said Mr Musyoka should stand firm to ensure internal party democracy thrives, restore confidence among aspirants and attract more voter support.
On his part, Mwingi central MP Joe Mutambu said the problems that forced them out of Wiper have started emerging and that Mr Muthama should have been contained long time ago, when he started destroying the party.
Reached for comment on Mr Musyoka’s outbursts on Saturday, Mr Muthama who alongside Tongaren MP Eseli Simiyu of Ford Kenya and Mr Orengo lead Cord’s management committee said the Wiper boss could not have uttered the words in their literal sense.
“He did not say that and you better get it accurately. What he meant was that Muthama and Orengo being co-chairs of Cord steering committee will be held accountable if we fail to clinch the presidency,” he said.
Mr Orengo on his part said Mr Musyoka is an experienced and wise leader who has no history of making reckless statements.
I don’t think he said that and if at all he did, it must have been with tongue on cheek,” he Senator said downplaying the matter.