Kibaki Endorsed Kalonzo for President?

Written By Michael Maunda on Tuesday, May 1, 2012 | 12:41 PM

President Kibaki denied that he had endorsed Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka as his successor after a series of contradictory messages. Speaking in Machakos on his way to Kitui for a tree planting ceremony, the President appeared to vouch for Kalonzo. "It is your time now. I have worked with him for quite sometime now and know he is a capable leader. What are you waiting for now?’, the president said amid cheers from Machakos town residents.

Government spokesman Dr Alfred Mutua then sent a message to newsrooms stating, "FYI. President Kibaki has endorsed VP Kalonzo for President and Dr Alfred Mutua for Governor of Machakos county." Shortly afterwards director of the Presidential Press Service Isaiya Kabira denied that President Kibaki had endorsed anyone at the event.

Kabira's response to a text message asking whether Kibaki had endorsed Kalonzo was an emphatic "NO!" Soon after Mutua called the Star to clarify that Kibaki had not endorsed Kalonzo but had endorsed him as Machakos county governor. "I have been informed that the President actually did not endorse the Vice President. So we need to clarify that. But he endorsed me," Mutua said.

Kibaki had pointed at Mutua and said, "there is a young man who works for me and wants another post here. He is suitable for it and should be given." Kibaki has always insisted that he will not endorse any presidential candidate in next year's elections. Kibaki reiterated this in Nyanza in February when MPs demanded that he endorse Prime Minister Raila Odinga as his successor.

Yesterday Kibaki showered praise on Kalonzo for his tireless work for peace initiatives and said Eastern residents should not seek support from other parts of the country if they did not fully back their candidate. Kibaki told Ukambani leaders to end their squabbles in an apparent reference to the frosty relationship between Kalonzo and Water minister Charity Ngilu.

Kibaki assured Machakos residents that Konza ICT city was a reality and he would soon preside over the ground breaking. Kibaki was accompanied by Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, his constitutional affairs advisor Kivutha Kibwana and Alfred Mutua. The VP said the congested Nairobi-Mombasa highway would need to become a dual carriageway with the advent of the ICT city.

The confusion over the apparent endorsement of Kalonzo comes at a time of heightened tension over the presidential elections. There has been widespread speculation that Deputy Prime Musalia Mudavadi has settled on the United Democratic Forum as his party for the presidential elections. The UDF was formed last year by by Professor Nick Wanjohi and other close Kibaki allies who wanted Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta to use it to contest the presidency.

Yesterday some associates of Mudavadi said he would announced his choice of the UDP tomorrow but others denied it. The UDF website gives its mission statement, "to establish transformative leadership, eradicate poverty and ensure prosperity for all." Most of the party officials are non politicians such as chairman Hassan Osman, secretary general Abraham Limo and CEO Patronaela Were.

However, Uhuru allies such as George Nyamweya, Jeremiah Kioni, Nderitu Mureithi, Kabando wa Kabando and Abdikadir Mohammed have been the public face of the party. Much of the recent speculation has centred on how Mudavadi and Uhuru might cooperate, with suggestions that Uhuru might even become Mudavadi's running mate. "We have had new discussions with many parties so UDF may not be far away," said one MP yesterday. "I will end the speculation and make my statement on Wednesday," Mudavadi said in Nyang'ori in his Vihiga county on Saturday.
It is not clear whether will resign as the DPM and Local Government minister when he announces he is leaving ODM. Yesterday UDF chairman Hassan Osman denied knowledge of Mudavadi's exit from ODM. “We will invite him like we shall invite all other members to join our party. Our business is to have as many people as possible joining the party,” he said.

Shinyalu MP Justus Kizito also denied that Mudavadi was headed for UDF noting that the DPM's destination was a “guarded secret”. “He has many parties on the table to choose from. He has negotiated with many parties and UDF is just one of them, but so far he has not picked anyone,” he said. “But I can tell you that Musalia will go for a party that has a national outlook that will bring every one on board,” he said.

Mudavadi's PA Kibisu Kabatesi declined to say where his boss was headed. Yesterday, Kakamega ODM secretary Martin Andati dismissed Mudavadi's move as a “no-show at best” and “suicide at worst”. “There will definitely be a backlash for this man's indecisiveness. He is sending himself to political oblivion too early in his life,” said Andati. “He is being cheated that he will be a compromise candidate. A politician of his caliber should know that is a lie. There are no free things in Kenya, more so political power.”