Kenya: Is Kalonzo the New Voice of the Opposition?

Nairobi — Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka has emerged as the face and voice of the opposition in Kenya’s politics after the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition team failed to clinch the Presidency on August 9.

Musyoka’s visibility in recent days has eclipsed that of the coalition’s leader Raila Odinga who lost to President William Ruto in the hotly contested poll.

It was the fifth attempt for Odinga to ascend to power in a contest he appeared confident that victory would be his after securing the endorsement of former President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Kenyatta had chosen Odinga as his preferred successor and sidelined his then deputy Ruto of 10 years who eventually succeeded him.

Odinga who lost narrowly to President Ruto moved to the Supreme Court to challenge the outcome of the polls albeit unsuccessful.

In their unanimous judgment, the seven judges of the apex court ruled that the Azimio petition was full of hot air and lacked merit.

The ruling severely injured Odinga’s spirit who retreated to Zanzibar for a vacation with his family “to heal”.

While his supporters anticipated that he would come back rejuvenated and energized, it seemed not to be the case with Odinga often taking a back seat and allowing Musyoka to be the voice and face of the opposition.

Odinga has been Kenya’s veteran opposition leader who kept three regimes in check until March 2018 when he shook hands with former President Kenyatta.

Soon after the Apex court verdict, the Azimio brigade held its first Parliamentary Group Meeting (PGM) which brought together all its principals and Members of Parliament.

Musyoka’s authority on Azimio affairs started to manifest soon after the meeting.

Odinga who ordinarily would have read the statement stepped aside and made way for Musyoka who delivered the hard-hitting statement that critiqued President Ruto’s administration’s approach to the high cost of living.

“The Ruto administration has started off in the wrong on almost every front,” Musyoka said.

The Wiper Leader was categorical that they would tame President Ruto’s excesses in government and that Azimio members were not interested in being offered jobs in the government.

“We already have a lot of work to do,” Musyoka said.

Musyoka has since cut an image of a man on a mission often positioning himself as the alternative voice.

On Friday, Musyoka in yet another briefing led a group of 18 lawmakers in castigating President Ruto”s Kenya economic plans.

He faulted the Head of State for what he described as making endless promises to Kenyans and failing acts.

“The season of political campaigns has ended and the honeymoon is well and truly over. It is now time to act decisively in our various capacities to the benefit of our great people and our nation,” Musyoka said.

Musyoka also took issue with the selection of the Cabinet nominees that was unveiled by President Ruto and rallied Azimio lawmakers to reject the appointment of those who have integrity issues.

“We shall direct our MPs to withhold approval of those who do not meet the Chapter Six threshold of our Constitution,” he said.

Musyoka assured their supporters that they were up to the task to execute their opposition role.

As this was unfolding, Odinga was conspicuously missing in action in what has left many of his supporters guessing if the enigma of Kenya’s politics has thrown in the towel and proceeded on retirement.

Musyoka has previously stated that his presidential ambition is still alive with his latest maneuverings indicative that he will challenge President Ruto in the 2027 General Election.

Will he have marshaled enough numbers then? That is the big question and only time will tell.

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