Kalonzo Musyoka stayed on brand on Thursday as he took Kenyans by surprise by withdrawing from the Senate Speaker race at the very last minute.
The Wiper Party leader and former Kilifi governor Amason Kingi were among seven candidates in the race for the coveted seat.
Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Alliance members boycotted the voting, allowing Amason Kingi to sail through with 46 out of 66 votes.
Kalonzo’s withdrawal raised some eyebrows, with some observers claiming he had been “bought” by Kenya Kwanza. Others saw it as just another “watermelon” move from the former Vice President.
Well, Kalonzo spoke later in the day, saying it was not a knee-jerk reaction. He said the Azimio leadership together with his party advised him to boycott the process.
“The decision was not impromptu. I was well guided by my party and the Azimio top leadership after we realised the process had been marred with corruption and bribery. We decided that we needed to keep it clean and in that case, step out of the race,” Kalonzo said.
The politician said they arrived at the decision during a meeting with Azimio Senators that went up to midnight on Wednesday at his Karen Command Centre in Nairobi.
Kalonzo said they had hoped for a credible process where they would have won fairly but their opponents ‘bought’ lawmakers.
“You know former Speaker Kenneth Marende was to go for the Senate seat and I for the National Assembly. We then as a coalition agreed on the changes that I go for Senate Speaker seat, but our members were being approached as late as midnight,” he said.
Indeed, after walking out of the House on Thursday, Azimio Senators said they had integrity concerns with some of the candidates running for the speakership of the House.
“It is better to be defeated in honour than be part of fraud. That’s why we are walking out. We are refusing to sanitise a fraudulent process,” Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna said.
Kalonzo also denied allegations of being ‘bought’ by Kenya Kwanza for an appointment in Ruto’s government.
“I have not had any consultation with Kenya Kwanza and Ruto. Those are frivolous allegations. I am taking a strategic retreat so that I can plan my political future which is still bright,” said Kalonzo.