Struggle For Leadership Threaten To Split Azimio Coalition 

Details have emerged of the increased campaign for the leadership of Azimio between Narc Kenya Party leader Martha Karua and Wiper Party Kalonzo Musyoka to succeed the outfit’s outgoing leader, Raila Odinga. The leadership issue is compounded by reports that former President Uhuru Kenyatta persuaded Kalonzo to withdraw his presidential bid and support Raila Odinga’s bid before the last general elections without informing Ms Karua. 

By The Weekly Vision Team

Two top leaders in the opposition Azimio la Umoja Coalition party are embroiled in a nasty power struggle that could lead to the disintegration of the outfit if not well handled. Details have emerged of the increased campaigns between Narc Kenya Party leader Martha Karua and Wiper Kalonzo Musyoka to succeed the outfit’s leader Raila Odinga. 

The struggle between the two has been compounded by reports that before the last general elections, former President Uhuru Kenyatta managed to persuade Kalonzo to withdraw his presidential bid and offer his support to Raila Odinga’s bid instead. Sources say that there exists an informal gentleman’s agreement, in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which names Kalonzo Msyoka as the automatic Azimio presidential flag bearer in 2027. However, the same sources also add that Martha Karua was not part of a small team that negotiated the deal; the agreement was solely by Kalonzo Musyoka, Raila Odinga, and Uhuru Kenyatta.

The leak of this purported secret MoU to some media outlets, which reportedly bares Martha Karua from assuming leadership in Azimio, is the root cause of the turmoil in Azimio. According to sources, there appears to be a well-constructed plot by politicians allied to Kalonzo Musyoka aimed at removing Martha Karua and her Narc-Kenya party from the Azimio coalition before the 2027 elections. According to them, Ms Karua does not have what it takes to succeed Raila Odinga as Azimio’s leader.

A few days ago, Marha Karua wasted no time; she fired back at Kalonzo Musyoka by advising him of the importance of engaging the people of Kenya to boost his political image. In a statement she released in response to Kalonzo’s claims, she said, “My unsolicited advice to my brother Kalonzo Musyoka is for him to focus on marketing himself and leave the decision of who is best to lead Azimio to the vote.” Her remarks were in response to a report where Kalonzo was quoted as saying that he is the best man to take charge of the Azimio coalition should Raila Odinga become the next African Union Commission chairman.

Technically, in the absence of Raila Odinga, Kalonzo has officially taken charge of the coalition, as claimed by sources within Azimio. Raila Odinga, on the other hand, has chosen to temporarily step away from local politics and concentrate on his campaign for the African Union Commission Chairmanship. Last week, a high-level meeting of Narc-Kenya officials approved Ms. Karua as Raila’s successor in Azimio as well as their presidential candidate for 2027. This endorsement was met with disapproval from Kalonzo’s corner, who felt that Karua and her team acted prematurely. 

In response to what appears to be a demonstration of his newfound power within Azimio, he has organized public rallies in Kisii, Nyamira, and Migori counties to sell his agenda to the public. 

To downplay Karua’s political strength in Azimio, Wiper politicians have gone to the extent of stating that, despite being Raila’s running mate in the 2022 elections; she did not manage to secure the election of a single MCA for the coalition. Furthermore, they have provided proof that all the MCAs in her own Gichugu constituency were elected under the UDA ticket. According to Kalonzo’s inner circle, Karua, without an elected leader from her narc-Kenya party, is not qualified to lead the coalition. 

Karua, in a quick rejoinder, reminded Kalonzo that, as Raila’s running mate, she automatically assumes the position of the coalition’s leader in his absence. Additionally, the National Dialogue Committee report (NADCO) has become a source of contention between Karua and Kalonzo. While Kalonzo supports the report, Karua has dismissed it, leading to further disagreement between them.