SUCCESSION POLITICS

Kalonzo moves to revamp Wiper ahead of 2022

Party seeks to remove renegades, filling vacant leadership positions nationally and adopt a new name.

In Summary

• The former vice president yesterday said he had convened a special delegates conference next month to ratify a wide range of changes to strengthen the party.

• The special delegates meeting will be preceded by a retreat of the party's NEC later this month.

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka.
Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka.
Image: FILE

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka has embarked on an elaborate strategy to rebrand the party as he prepares for the 2022 polls. 

Part of the efforts to revamp the party includes kicking out renegades, filling vacant leadership positions in the national and grassroots offices and adopting a new name for the outfit.

The move could see rebellious Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana replaced as chairman.

The former vice president yesterday said he had convened a special delegates conference next month to ratify a wide range of changes to strengthen the party.

The special delegates' meeting will be preceded by a retreat of the party's National Executive Council later this month.

Under fire from threats posed by Kibwana's criticism of his leadership in Wiper, Kalonzo has decided to bite the bullet and allow the governor to be formally kicked out of the party's leadership.

A meeting of the National Executive Council at the Karen party headquarters yesterday resolved to replace Kibwana with former Cabinet Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere.

Mwakwere vied for the Kwale governorship position on a Wiper ticket in the 2017 polls.

Yesterday Kalonzo sought to downplay fears of a fallout in Wiper claiming all was well and that the party was positioning itself as a formidable force in the 2022 General Elections.

"We are the most cohesive party in this country. Our intention is to make Wiper a great party. If a person wants to quit the party let him go but that can't mean there is a fallout," Kalonzo said.

 

Putting a brave face in the backdrop of an onslaught on his Ukambani backyard stirred by Kibwana and his counterparts Alfred Mutua (Machakos) and Charity Ngilu(Kitui), Kalonzo termed the disquiet "insignificant". 

Asked if Kibwana was free to attend the retreat, Kalonzo said, "We are looking at the Wiper leadership holistically and if he (Kibwana) wants to attend he is free to do so. Wiper is a strong political party," Kalonzo said.

In a veiled attack on Kibwana, Kalonzo said the party stands with MCAs from the three Ukambani counties trying to hold governors to account.

"When our governors are being held accountable, they should not start saying they are being targeted. Governors must know that our people want services and to be lifted out of poverty," he said.

Kibwana fell out with Kalonzo late last year after the party leader declared his support for President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government without consulting other leaders from the region.

Kibwana, the Wiper party chairman, asked Kalonzo to support another Kamba leader who wants to vie for president instead of being an obstacle.

Both Kibwana and Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua have declared their interest in running for president in 2022, sparking tension with Kalonzo.

Kibwana who ditched his Muungano party for Wiper in the run-up to the 2017 polls, has accused Kalonzo of using Wiper MCAs in Makueni county assembly to undermine him.

He has also blasted Kalonzo for using his cronies to insult him in public and on social media.

“You will not find them where people are discussing development agenda like here, but they have been moving from one funeral gathering to another across the county insulting me,” Kibwana said of Kalonzo's allies in May.

(Edited by O. Owino)