Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka has emerged as a pivotal figure in the ongoing bipartisan discussions involving President William Ruto and opposition leader Raila Odinga. These negotiations have thrust him into the political spotlight, with his supporters viewing this as a stepping stone for his potential presidential run in 2027.
A former vice president with influence over a substantial voter base of approximately two million, the 69-year-old Musyoka has cultivated an international presence, owing to his past role as Foreign Affairs minister and his connections with foreign leaders and organizations.
Musyoka has been a staunch supporter of Raila Odinga since the 2013 election and is now considering a second attempt at the presidency, following his debut in 2007.
His recent appointment as the chief opposition negotiator in the talks with President Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza Alliance has elevated his status compared to other Azimio la Umoja One Kenya principals. This has positioned him above Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua, who was presumed to be Odinga’s deputy after serving as his running mate in the last election.
Apart from addressing the challenge of the high cost of living, Musyoka’s coalition is focused on reshaping the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), establishing and strengthening the roles of the Leader of the Official Opposition and the Prime Cabinet Secretary.
Musyoka’s confidant, Makueni Senator Dan Maanzo, emphasized their commitment to addressing these issues before shifting their focus to the 2027 election. Maanzo revealed that Odinga’s Azimio coalition is fully supportive of Musyoka’s 2027 candidacy.
While Odinga has not publicly ruled out a presidential bid, Musyoka’s camp sees Martha Karua as a potential obstacle to his candidacy, especially after Odinga’s brother, Dr. Oburu Oginga, hinted at Odinga’s retirement.
Karua believes that, as Odinga’s former running mate, she is the most suitable candidate to lead the coalition in 2027 if Odinga chooses not to run. However, Musyoka’s allies argue that they could accommodate both Musyoka as the presidential candidate and Karua as his running mate, potentially making Raila Odinga the Prime Minister, in line with Kenya Kwanza’s plans for constitutional changes.
Another potential point of contention is the establishment of the Office of the Official Opposition Leader and the possibility of a deputy. Musyoka’s allies are keen to have him assume these roles, either as the Opposition Leader or as the deputy, depending on Odinga’s decision.
Political analyst Prof. Macharia Munene suggests that Musyoka’s presence at the negotiation table has significant political implications. Munene believes Musyoka is primarily focused on securing a respectable political position for himself, not necessarily through Azimio.
Senate Deputy Minority Leader and Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua maintains that Wiper is a crucial partner within the Azimio coalition and is prepared to field a presidential candidate in the upcoming elections, in collaboration with other coalition partners.