9 January 2008

Kenya: Kalonzo Miracle Taking Shape


Nairobi — Mwingi North MP-elect Kalonzo Musyoka's political miracle appeared to be taking shape when he was appointed Vice-President Tuesday.

Based on his prediction that he would be in the next Government irrespective of the outcome of the General Election, Mr Musyoka was believed to have been angling for the VP's post.

During his presidential campaigns, Mr Musyoka had persistently talked of a political miracle.

Only three days ago, our sister paper, the Sunday Nation, correctly predicted that Mr Musyoka would join President Kibaki's Government to shore up its numbers in the 10th Parliament.

It was therefore not surprising to many when the appointment was made.

In his reaction, Mr Musyoka described the appointment as a great honour and thanked the President on behalf of ODM Kenya. "I am intensely aware that the appointment has come at a difficult time when our nation is going through a painful moment," he told the Nation last night.

Mr Musyoka said the fact that the President had appointed only half the Cabinet showed he was still open to dialogue.

After he was shoved aside by President Kibaki after the 2005 referendum, Mr Musyoka's return has been a roller coaster.

He was once dubbed the darling of opinion polls and, at some point, appeared to be the favourite candidate for the presidency, only to perform dismally in the December General Election.

2005 referendum

After the 2005 referendum on the proposed constitution, which the Orange side won, Mr Musyoka was placed consistently ahead of the other perceived presidential aspirants, including President Kibaki, Mr Raila Odinga, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, Mr Musalia Mudavadi, Mr Najib Balala and Mr William Ruto. That was the time when the Orange team was united.

This was, however, to change after cracks emerged in the Orange team over the mode of nominating its presidential candidate after the movement converted to a political party.

The stance taken by Mr Musyoka on party leadership did not augur well with others in the party. Matters came to a head when he defected from Mr Odinga's LDP to Dr Julia Ojiambo's LPK. Both parties were affiliates of ODM-K alongside Kanu.

The fight over the control of ODM-K forced Mr Odinga, Mr Ruto, Mr Mudavadi and Mr Balala to join ODM which had earlier been registered by Mr Mugambi Imanyara, a lawyer. Kanu went its own way while Mr Musyoka and Dr Ojiambo remained in ODM-K.

The split became irreversible when Mr Musyoka and Mr Odinga decided to hold separate nominations to pick presidential candidate.

Mr Musyoka was elected ODM-K presidential candidate on August 31 while Mr Odinga won the ODM ticket the following day.

As the polls date approached, Mr Odinga widened the opinion poll gap between him and Mr Musyoka which became a reality after the results of the disputed vote were announced.

Contrary to the expectations of many, Mr Musyoka ran a spirited campaign for the presidency which even surprised his critics.

He started by pulling a big crowd that turned up at Uhuru Park for his campaign inauguration.

Mr Musyoka first entered Parliament in the 1985 following a by-election for Kitui North. In the same year, he was elected Kitui district Kanu branch secretary. In 1986, Mr Musyoka was appointed assistant minister for Works. He was re-elected in the 1988 parliamentary elections and was Kanu's national organising secretary from 1988 to 1998.

Mr Musyoka remained in Kanu during the 1992 multiparty elections where he was re-elected and later appointed minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. He held a number of other ministerial positions while part of the Kanu government.

A few months before the 2002 General Election, he decamped from Kanu with the then Kanu secretary-general Odinga and joined LDP which later became a partner in the National Rainbow Coalition (Narc), which went on to win that year's General Election.

He served the Narc government as minister for the Environment, before he was sacked by President Kibaki after the fallout following the 2005 referendum.

The million-dollar question is whether his appointment as the VP was the political miracle that he talked of during the campaigns.

Copyright © 2008 The Nation. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.