Makueni Governor Prof Kivutha Kibwana last week entered into some ‘negotiated democracy’ that will see him gun for re-election on a direct Wiper party ticket.
This means he has dumped his own Muungano Party for Kalonzo Musyoka’s outfit in a move that has shut off speculation that Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr, could be going for Kibwana’s seat. The governor, however, clarified that he was decamping to Wiper as an individual and that Muungano remained intact with bona fide officials.
In fact, Mutula Jr, also the Wiper vice chair, threw his weight behind Kibwana, arguing that the move would help Kalonzo consolidate his political backyard and hype stakes in national politics, in view of Kalonzo’s presidential ambition in the National Super Alliance (Nasa).
Kalonzo welcomed the governor, saying that, “I need people like Kibwana in my fold,” since “he is a very respected name in this country; within the civil society, progressive forces and those who believe in true democracy. We have a governor who stands very tall.” Kalonzo boss said at Kambu market last Thursday.
Kibwana explained that he joined Wiper to support Kalonzo as “my supporters have given me the go-ahead. There is need to embolden the community to speak with one voice.” Mutula Jr earlier had beef with Kibwana concerning his direct nomination (even though that was part of the ‘negotiated democracy’) because that would have “denied other aspirants the legal right to contest on Wiper.” Others see Kibwana’s flirtations with Wiper as a windfall for a party that has been dogged by rebellion in its Ukambani stronghold, with some of its elected MPs defecting to Jubilee Party.
Campbell Munyambu, the coordinator of Mwingi Professional Forum and Business Community said Kibwana’s catch was “a big harvest despite the much-talked about rebellion” and this proves that “Wiper is very popular in the region and country.”
Enock Wambua, the Kitui senatorial aspirant agreed with Munyambu, but added that, “The surest way to strengthen the party to effectively compete for political power is to invest in structures that give equal opportunity for expression of divergent views.”
Kibwana signed a coalition framework which will see him get a direct Wiper nomination to defend his seat. Muungano and Wiper parties will also carry out joint nominations for other county seats with winning candidates getting the support of the losing team. The failure by Kibwana to dissolve Muungano has caused jitters though, with Makueni County Assembly Majority Leader Francis Mutuku terming it “a time bomb” and the direct nomination as “suicidal for the Wiper party.”
Mutuku led a group of Wiper MCAs in an attempt to impeach Kibwana in 2015. He insists that Kibwana “must dissolve Muungano if he is genuine.”
Kibwana’s move has seen Loyd Masika, the only other aspirant who had declared interest in the seat on a Wiper ticket, decamping to Charity Ngilu’s Narc Party after Kalonzo threw his weight behind Kibwana - whom observers now believe will have an easy time to be re-elected without breaking the bank.