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Kalonzo wades off corruption claims by political ‘enemies’

In this interactive series, we invite readers to send in questions to select public figures.

Answers will be published in the next print and online editions. This week, Cord co-principal Kalonzo Musyoka responds to your questions:

Sir, it is hard to understand your position. In one forum you say you are not ready to shelve your presidential ambition for anyone because you are the best candidate.

In another you say you have sacrificed before and you are ready to sacrifice again. Just what is your position on presidential pursuit?

Edward Wanjala Mangoli, Kabuchai

There is no contradiction in my statement. In 2013, I shelved my presidential ambitions in support of my friend Raila Odinga and naturally one would expect reciprocity. However, the overriding consideration is driving the Jubilee administration out of office.

Why do you consider yourself the best placed opposition presidential candidate in the August General Election considering that previous opinion polls give you an average popularity rating of 2 per cent?
John Muathe

Recent opinion polls in Europe and more particularly in Britain during the Brexit referendum and more recently in the USA elections have been discredited.

In Kenya Ipsos as well as Infotrak and other pollsters have been put on notice that they need to stop the practice of manipulating and monetising polls.

Mr Musyoka, the vices we are seeing in the Jubilee government such as corruption, tribalism and looting were bred in past governments where you served for decades.

Don’t you see yourself as part of the problem?

Bernard Nyang’ondi, Mombasa

The degree of these vices that we are currently witnessing under Jubilee are unprecedented in Kenyan history.

Personally I have fought against these vices in the various portfolios that I held in previous administrations.

In your memoir Against all Odds, you do not explain why you chose to run for president in 2007 rather than support the other main opposition candidate. Did you really expect to win?

Paul Gesimba, Nairobi 

I explained in some details that since 2002 when Kanu collapsed, I was ready to run for elections as President and that legitimate ambition and my passion to change Kenya for the better continued through 2007.

But in 2013, contrary to the belief in some quarters that I could not support any other candidate, I actually shelved my presidential ambitions and supported Mr Odinga.

I ran to win and scored almost a million votes.

One of the reasons you want Jubilee out of power is corruption.

An insight into your record while in government begs for answers. Can you, for example, clearly explain how you got thousands of acres hived off the National Youth Service land in Yatta?

Robinson Kariuki, Nyandia, Thika

The 200 acres that make up Yatta farm were bought with a loan from a bank and the issue of impropriety in its acquisition does not arise. However, this has been the only concoction aimed at damaging my otherwise clean reputation. 

Kalonzo Musyoka

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka addressing the media at his office in Nairobi on January 20, 2017. He said opinion polls should not always be believed. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Why have you resisted defecting to Jubilee yet the party’s leaders seem to have been making efforts for you to join them?

Francis Njuguna, Kibichoi

You can take this to the bank: Joining Jubilee is not an option. My resolve is to defeat them at the next polls.

Do you regret telling off Senator Johnson Muthama before a crowd in Machakos County with words like “hawa ndio watakutoa suruali” (these people will undress you) and have you now resolved your differences?

Githuku Mungai, Nairobi

Those remarks were made with a light touch.

What do you make of parts of a song praising the Jubilee government, which portrays you as “Mzee Kati Kati”?
Paul Ochieng, Rongai

I think “wakati wa kuwa kati kati umepita” and now we will lead from the front.

The best way for you to shed off the offensive ‘Water Melon’ tag, which has painted a bad image of you, is to demand the united opposition’s presidential ticket. Do you agree with me?

Erick Ole Agade, Malaba

The ‘water melon’ tag was a dirty attempt to paint me in a bad light and I have dealt with this challenge in my publication Against All Odds.

As witnessed in Kitui County during your recent voter registration campaign, there were mixed reactions after you purportedly mentioned Governor Julius Malombe’s candidature in the elections.

What party structures are you setting up to counter any divisions during the party primaries?

Martin Muia, Mombasa

The party has put in place a credible National Elections Board whose mandate is to ensure free, fair and credible nominations.

Mr Musyoka, you have been a vice-president and held many ministerial positions in various administrations.

But until today, people from your own backyard of Mwingi North still lack basic amenities like water, and roads are nearly impassable. Why?

Vincent Muyela, Mwingi North

While I appreciate your comment I must tell you that contrary to the often told lies, the cleanest and one of the biggest water projects in the country, the Kiambere Mwingi water project, was implemented at my initiative, the Mwingi Kalanga Corner Tarmac Road on Garissa Road as well as Mwingi-Kamuwongo Road were also tarmacked at my initiative.

The Wikithuki irrigation scheme was also my initiative but sadly the Jubilee administration has allowed a rundown of this important food security project.

It is my intention to have the phase two of Kiambere Mwingi water project undertaken from where I left it because Jubilee has failed to actualise it, although the Italian Government had already approved the financing package.

I had also secured funding for the Kibwezi-Mutomo-Kitui-Mwingi-Kandwia-Kyuso-Tseikuru-Usueni Road projects from the Chinese Exim Bank but the Jubilee Government scuttled the project but now six months to elections, they rushed to re-launch this project.

Cord

Cord leaders address the media at Capitol Hill on December 22, 2016. Mr Musyoka said the agenda of Cord is to defeat Jubilee government in the next polls. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

How will the opposition ensure the voter register is forensically audited by an experienced firm of international repute as stipulated by law and seal election fraud loopholes? And will the opposition set up a parallel tallying centre in August?

Vincent Owino, Siaya County

This is a responsibility of the IEBC under the law. The opposition will not be willing to take part in the elections if the playing field is not fair.

The opposition is willing to sit with IEBC along with other parties and will recommend hiring of a reputable audit firm but not the earlier proposed KPMG.

By their own admission, there are serious flaws in the register where over 128,000 voters share national identity card numbers.

I personally believe that the figure is much higher and the objective would be linked to a possible manipulation of the next elections.

Sir, has the defection of legislators from your stronghold such as Regina Ndambuki (Kilome), Joe Mutambu (Mwingi Central), John Munuve (Mwingi North) and Kisoi Munyao (Mbooni) to Jubilee and Governor Alfred Mutua (Machakos County) to Maendeleo Chap Chap weakened the Wiper Democratic Party?
Derek Liech, Mombasa County

No, on the contrary, the voters are waiting to throw all those legislators you mentioned out of Parliament because of their betrayal of the electorate and the party that sponsored them to Parliament.

Sir, are you threatened by Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua’s popularity in Ukambani?

Evans Wanyonyi, Kabuchai

I hate to answer this question but the truth will be known about the so-called popularity after the August 2017 polls.

Wiper Democratic Movement will present a strong candidate for the Machakos gubernatorial seat.

Is there a reason why, during your tenure as Home Affairs Minister in the Grand Coalition Government, reformist Principal Deputy Commissioner of Prisons George Macgoye was hounded out of office in unclear circumstances? 

Dickson Nyamweya, Lodwar  

The changes were normal and the reform programme in the Prisons Department got seriously under way under my watch.

Mheshimiwa, are you aware of the urgent need for a bridge on River Tana to connect Tharaka Nithi County and the Ukambani region and what have you done about it over the years?

Paul Kimathi, Kasarani

Already through my initiative, the Belgium Government constructed the Usueni Bridge in the late 1980s but the same needs strengthening and is indeed part of the Tseikuru-Usueni-Maua-Isiolo anticipated road project.

Mr Musyoka, why are you people in the Opposition insisting on using street demonstrations as a solution to political problems?

Brian Machira, Nyeri County

As a result of what we call street demonstrations, we were able to bring Jubilee to the negotiating table and were subsequently able to get the discredited IEBC out of office.

Please note that our Constitution is clear on the right of Kenyans to hold peaceful demonstrations.

Why were you given the African Dignitary Man of the Year award 2016 and how are you utilising this recognition? Shouldn’t you leave politics and concentrate on such initiatives?

Allan Njenga, Kiambu County

The award was in recognition of my commitment to the fight against poverty as exemplified by the work of the Kalonzo Musyoka Foundation (KMF) among other initiatives.

The work of KMF continues with many young Kenyans having acquired education through the foundation. This work is complementary to my political agenda.

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka (center) gestures while addressing the media on December 29, 2016 in Nairobi. He said Wiper Democratic Movement will present a strong candidate for the Machakos gubernatorial seat. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Any time the peace process in South Sudan is mentioned, your name will permanently feature because of the role you played.

Barely five years down the line, the world’s youngest nation is in trouble again.

What is your take on the current situation in South Sudan and, were you to clinch the Presidency, how would you help reconcile the warring parties?

Komen Moris, Eldoret 

I appreciate your compliments. I personally continue to monitor developments in the Republic of South Sudan and I am convinced that, in due course, the nation will reconcile.

I disagree with those who are calling for UN to establish a trusteeship in South Sudan and encourage the process of national dialogue. 

You said you will write to the ICC about Garissa MP Aden Duale for alleged incitement against the Kamba community living in Garissa.

But what would you say about George Aladwa who was recorded as saying that people must die for Raila Odinga to be President?

Eric Mugo, Murang’a County

You must separate those two issues. Mr George Aladwa is already in court for hate speech and Mr Duale has never been charged and is walking free in the streets of Nairobi and Garissa.

In Garissa you breathed fire accusing Mr Duale of incitement. 

But have you forgotten you once told a journalist from Central Kenya that his name betrayed him?

Njuguna Karanja, Nyandarua County

That was not hate speech. It was said in jest and I apologised to the journalist.

For more questions and answers go to www.nation.co.ke

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