What next for Wiper’s Kaloki in Nairobi governor contest?

Wiper’s Kaloki on the horns of a dilemma in the Nairobi governor contest.

Former Kibwezi MP Philip Kaloki, a Wiper party member nominated as running mate for the Nairobi governor seat under the Azimio One Kenya Coalition, finds himself in a dilemma following the fallout between Mr Kalonzo Musyoka and the coalition’s flagbearer Raila Odinga.

Prof Kaloki was nominated to deputise Mr Polycarp Igathe in the deal brokered by Mr Musyoka after Mr Odinga got the presidential ticket in the coalition.

But it’s unclear whether he is set to be a victim of Mr Musyoka’s fallout with Mr Odinga over the nomination of Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua as Mr Odinga’s running mate, a post the former vice president had insisted was his.

Mr Musyoka cut ties with Mr Odinga yesterday, withdrew his support for his presidential bid and vowed to run for president.

As Mr Odinga was unveiling Ms Karua at KICC, Mr Musyoka met his allies at his campaign headquarters, announced his presidential bid and unveiled his running mate, Mr Andrew Sunkuli.

Prof Kaloki accompanied Mr Igathe to a campaign rally Mr Odinga held at Kamukunji grounds in Nairobi on Sunday, which Mr Musyoka snubbed.

Yesterday, Prof Kaloki defied the former vice-president’s invite and made his way to KICC, capturing the awkward position Mr Musyoka’s move had put him in.

Although Mr Musyoka declared that he had parted ways with Mr Odinga to avoid devaluing the many candidates flying the Wiper ticket across the country, observers feel that the move may spell doom for some of the party’s candidates, among them Prof Kaloki, whose long political journey has been defined by misfortunes.

A scholar, who taught in a United States university for many years, Prof Kaloki debuted in politics when he returned home quietly in the run-up to the 2007 General Election. He came into the national limelight when he defeated then Kibwezi MP Kalembe Ndile in that election.

At the advent of devolution, he contested the Makueni governor seat on a Wiper ticket but lost to governor Kivutha Kibwana. In hushed tones, he accused Mr Musyoka of betraying him.

Three months later, when Senator Mutula Kilonzo died while in office, Prof Kaloki contested the seat on a Narc ticket but lost to Mutula Kilonzo Jnr. He lost to Wiper’s Jessica Mbalu when he contested the Kibwezi East parliamentary seat in 2017 on a Jubilee ticket.

When Mr Musyoka prevailed on Prof Kaloki to drop out of the Makueni governorship race and contest in Nairobi as a running mate to Jubilee’s Richard Ngatia, he argued that he wanted to boost the chances of his party, through Mr Kilonzo, clinching the governor seat.

“Both Prof Kaloki and Mr Kilonzo Jnr were strong candidates. Their competition would have cost the party,” he said a week ago. Prof Kaloki and his supporters welcomed the move. They hoped it would mark the end of the turbulence that has defined Prof Kaloki’s journey in politics.

Their hearts skipped a beat when Jubilee dropped businessman Richard Ngatia as its Nairobi governorship candidate. Crisis talks in Azimio quickly saw Prof Kaloki reinstated as the deputy governor designate.

They skipped a beat again yesterday when Mr Musyoka quit Azimio.

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