Why Kalonzo convened 'crisis' Wiper party meeting

During the meeting, Kalonzo is understood to have prevailed upon the members to remain united

In Summary
  • Wiper is the third largest party in the Azimio coalition after ODM and Jubilee.
  • The meeting came at a time some nine MPs from ODM have warmed up to Ruto. 
Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka when he addressed the press on February 20, 2023.
Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka when he addressed the press on February 20, 2023.
Image: Courtsey

The current political realignments and fears of a split within the Wiper party forced Kalonzo Musyoka to convene a crisis meeting of the elected leaders, it has emerged.

Kalonzo is said to have taken note of the shakeup in ODM and Jubilee which has seen several leaders warm up to President Ruto.

Sources have told the Star that the meeting was planned to help stem any possible fallout.

"Politics is all about interests, you cannot downplay Ruto's influence and that is why we had to meet," said one of the leaders who sought anonymity.

The Wiper meeting came at a time several elected leaders allied to ODM boss Raila Odinga have shown signs of shifting camp towards Kenya Kwanza side.

There were also reports that some legislators from Kalonzo’s party were planning to meet Ruto something that could have dealt a huge blow to the man who is regrouping his troops after a streak of flops.

Wiper is the third largest in the Azimio coalition after ODM and Jubilee. It managed to get three senators and 20 MPs in the 2022 polls.

During the Naivasha meeting which was attended by elected leaders that included Machakos Governor Wavinya Ndeti, Kalonzo is understood to have prevailed upon the members to remain united and avoid being coerced into supporting Ruto’s administration.

“Our resolve and commitment are to firmly remain in the Azimio La Umoja - One Kenya Alliance and support the ongoing people's Barazas,” Kalonzo said in a statement after the meeting.

“We remain intact and united,” he stated.

A section of ODM legislators have rebelled against Raila and are seen to have developed a dalliance with Ruto.

In a total show of defiance, the particular MPs have even given the Azimio rallies a wide berth with reports indicating they are planning to create a parallel force in the Nyanza region to “liberate” the region.

The MPs include Gideon Ochanda (Bondo), Elisha Odhiambo (Gem), Mark Nyamita (Uriri), Caroli Omondi (Suba South), Shakeel Shabir (Kisumu East) Felix Odiwuor (Lang’ata), Paul Abuor (Rongo), John Owino (Awendo) and Kisumu Senator Tom Ojienda.

This has unsettled the camp with leaders from the Coalition calling for their expulsion terming them traitors.

Narok Senator Ledama Ole Kina said during a rally in Kisumu that most of the Nyanza leaders won elections because of Odinga's favour.

"Nataka kutuma onyo, hao viongozi wote wa nyanza walichaguliwa kwa sababu ya baba,na sahii mbona wanasaliti baba kwenda state house,"Ledama said.

(I want to send a warning; all those Nyanza leaders were elected because of Baba. But why are they betraying him by going to the State House?)

Azimio camp is seeing Ruto’s latest overtures and invasion into their “territories” as a plan to weaken the opposition.

President Ruto on his part has emphasized the need for leaders to work together despite political affiliation.

"Leaders must join hands, foster coexistence and work together in confronting the challenges facing our country," he said after meeting the ODM MPs at Statehouse on February 7.

While addressing the leaders, Kalonzo told the leaders to stand firm arguing that Ruto is “systematically trying to erode all the gains of multiparty democracy and take this nation back to a one-party state”.

“We the leaders of the Wiper Movement want to emphasize that we will not allow this country to retrogress back to the dark days of the one-party state,” he stated.

Kalonzo also used the opportunity to reaffirm their support for the anti-Ruto rallies claiming the people’s court was yet to give its final verdict on the August 2022 presidential poll despite the IEBC declaration and the Supreme Court ruling.

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