Former Vice President and Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka’s brand of politics has cost him a lot and he continues to suffer political ramifications of sitting on the fence.
Equally, Kalonzo’s neutral position has also made him dine with the high and mighty. This is especially true when the Kamba political kingpin beat all odds to become Vice President in the hotly-contested 2007 General Election despite coming a distant third with 879,903 votes. Kibaki had 4.5 million votes while Raila had 4.3 million.
However, the latest decision by Kalonzo to endorse Ford Kenya candidate Khamisi Butichi has cost him a great deal after all his backyard governors rallied support for a rival candidate – ODM’s Imran Okoth.
While Kalonzo said his decision had been informed by Ford-Kenya’s decision of not fronting a candidate in the Embakasi-South by-election where Wiper Candidate Julius Mawathe floored ODM’s Irshad Sumra, but he seems to have lost support at home.
Sunday, Raila managed to marshal all governors from the three Kamba counties of Machakos, Kitui and Makueni to drum up support for the ODM candidate.
Kalonzo became an isolated man with little political clout, if any, to rally the Kamba community to vote in the Ford-Kenya candidate in the elections slated for Thursday.
Apart from the endorsement of Butichi, Kalonzo has never been seen campaigning alongside the Ford-Kenya brigade who are not even among the top-three favourites for the Kibra race.
This move has once again exposed Kalonzo’s fence-sitting moves from which he earned his “watermelon” tag that he has unsuccessfully shaken off for close to 15 years.
DP Ruto’s “NO” campaign against the 2010 constitution labelled Kalonzo a watermelon after they said he was supporting the constitution on the outside but denying it on the inside.
The “YES” team consisting of former President Mwai Kibaki, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga were represented by the code colour green while the “NO” brigade headed by DP William Ruto and then Information Minister, Sam Poghisio, had the colour red.
In the runup to the referendum vote, Ruto and his team would say Kalonzo was green on the outside but red on the inside just like a watermelon.
Even though Kalonzo would claim victory when the Constitution sailed through, the damage on his political stance had been done and he would never get back his credibility. He would proceed to unsuccessfully vie twice for the Deputy President with Raila Odinga.
Raila would then seek a truce with his 2017 nemesis Uhuru on March 9 in a deal where Kalonzo is yet to see its outcome in the coming Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) unveiling.
Kalonzo was never involved in the planning, execution and the follow-up of the handshake between President Kenyatta and Raila Odinga. He would, however, be handed an envoy role later on.
Imran is seen as the candidate to beat in the Kibra by-election, with Kalonzo’s endorsed candidate coming nowhere close to winning the seat.