Wiper Democratic Movement leader Kalonzo Musyoka is facing a serious political revolt from his key allies in Ukambani that threatens to tear apart his party.
Mr Musyoka has been at loggerheads with his three key political lieutenants – Senators David Musila (Kitui), Mutula Kilonzo Jr (Makueni) and Johnson Muthama (Machakos) – over the manner in which the party is being run.
The bone of contention is a disagreement over the party’s stake in the Cord presidential nominations and alleged attempts by Mr Musyoka to impose candidates for various seats across the region.
On several occasions, Mr Musyoka has told fellow Cord partners Raila Odinga and Moses Wetang’ula to pave the way for him because he is best suited to send the Jubilee government packing in the August elections.
However, within Wiper ranks, the remarks have been taken to mean that he may be considering bolting out of the Opposition coalition to run a splinter third-force campaign.
MPs and their Senate colleagues fear a repeat of the 2007 Orange split, when Mr Musyoka walked out of ODM to run a solo campaign.
They are worried that if Mr Musyoka walks out of Cord, the party will also bear the shame of having betrayed the Opposition and being rendered “political sellouts”.
Mr Kilonzo said some people are misadvising Mr Musyoka that he can run separately, to deny both Jubilee and Cord an outright majority, and therefore force a runoff.
The Senator said the inconsistencies were not good for the party’s standing within and outside the coalition.
On the other hand, Senator Musila convened a press briefing on January 27 to warn Mr Musyoka against leaving Cord.
“It’s a shame Wiper party has portrayed a bad image on the national stage. We look indecisive and concentrating on the wrong things. The party has no choice but to remain focused within Cord,” Mr Kilonzo said.
Mr Musila categorically declared that the Wiper party will not be dragged out of Cord and if Mr Musyoka wants to leave, he will go out alone.
“If our party leader decides to run the presidential race on his own outside the Opposition umbrella, he will go that route alone,” Mr Musila told journalists in Kitui.
He added that the party leadership has a huge responsibility of providing the best political direction for its supporters across the country, and that there is no room for a third force to win the elections.
Two months ago, Mr Musyoka disagreed publicly with Mr Muthama, whom he accused of advancing the interests of the ODM leader at the expense of his sponsor party.
An incensed Mr Musyoka rebuked Mr Muthama, saying he was working in cahoots with Siaya Senator James Orengo to ensure Mr Odinga becomes the Cord presidential flag-bearer to his detriment.
“I am fully aware of what you have been doing behind my back with Orengo to predetermine the outcome of the Cord presidential primaries and deny me the ticket.
“You must convince Wiper supporters that the ticket you are pushing for can deliver victory for Cord,” he said.
Two weeks ago, Mr Musyoka publicly disagreed with Mr Musila when he made comments that intimated Kitui Governor Julius Malombe will get a direct nomination for his re-election bid.
Mr Musila understood it to mean that he should drop his candidacy.
However, he told Mr Musyoka to concentrate on presidential campaigns and keep off county politics.
Mr Musila enjoys strong support in the county.
“It is unacceptable for the party leader to take sides because that goes against our stated position that Wiper party primaries for all elective posts will be free and fair,” Mr Musila told Mr Musyoka.
On Thursday last week, about 30 contractors and traders who have benefitted immensely from county government tenders hosted a party at a Kitui hotel to celebrate alleged backing of Dr Malombe.
The contractors, led by Joseph Ngeana, said they had been emboldened by Mr Musyoka’s approval and that they will campaign for the re-election of Dr Malombe.
In Machakos, former Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo, East African Legislative Assembly MP Peter Mathuki and Deputy Governor Bernard Kiala intend to run against incumbent Governor Alfred Mutua, who left Wiper to form his own outfit, Maendeleo Chap Chap.
In Makueni, Senator Kilonzo and real estate mogul David Masika have expressed interest in unseating Governor Kivutha Kibwana, who leads the Muungano party.