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Kalonzo pulls fresh twist in Azimio running mate debate

kenyannews.co.ke 04/6/2022

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka has thrown a spanner in the works in the Azimio la Umoja movement, suggesting that ODM leader Raila Odinga’s search for running mate is settled.

For the first time since formally teaming up with Raila, Kalonzo hinted that he would deputise Raila.

Responding to questions from journalists on whether he had been assured of the number two slot, Kalonzo said he did not want to discuss “the obvious”.

“Let us not talk about the obvious. From now henceforth, I think we should avoid discussing the obvious,” he said.

Its believed that Raila has been eyeing a running mate from Mt Kenya as part of a broader strategy to chip away Ruto’s support in the region.

Over two weeks ago, Kalonzo said he was ready to forgo the running mate position if he is assured of a third of government.  

It is not however clear how the Wiper leader would be accommodated in Azimio if he misses the position.

There have been speculations that he could be handed the position of chief minister to coordinate all ministries.

There is also speculations that he could be headed to the National Assembly as Speaker. 

Both Raila and his main challenger Deputy President William Ruto are keen on winning Mt Kenya votes with the number two slot.

Former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya, Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui and Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua have been seen as possible running mates for Raila.

Uhuru exit has made his Mt Kenya backyard a major focus point for running mate for both Raila and Ruto.

The two have been aggressively courting the region to boost their chances of winning the seat.

ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi, Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru, MPs Rigathi Gachagua (Mathira), Alice Wahome (Kandara) and Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu) have been seen as possible running mates for the Deputy President.

Some political pundits have submitted that, most likely, the two will choose a running mate from Mt Kenya.

On Tuesday, Kalonzo said he was confident the Azimio flag bearer will form the next government.

“Don’t worry about who becomes what in the Azimio government,” the Wiper boss said.

Kalonzo made the remarks at the party head offices during the launch of Wiper Persons With Disabilities League.

He said people should not be so obsessed with whom Raila will name as the running mate.

“Just assume and move forward. If there will be any disappointments, it will be in the days ahead but I am sure nothing will happen,” he said.

“You have seen how we were received in West Pokot and Turkana and these are regions in the Rift Valley. These are areas one would have though they are impenetrable. If I said Raila Tosha, anybody can say it as well, including Ruto.”

The Wiper leader is said to have maintained that talks on power-sharing are still underway and that he was keen to ensure his Kamba community gets a fair deal.

Jubilee recently said it is not a must for it to produce Raila’s running mate.

Vice chairman David Murathe explained that the position was not entirely preserved for the Mt Kenya region or the Jubilee.

He said having Kalonzo to support Raila could be achieved by giving him the running mate position.

He went on to say that Raila does not risk losing Mt Kenya because Uhuru’s endorsement was enough to guarantee him votes from the region.

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