As the clocks ticks towards the deadline on the choice of the Opposition’s presidential flagbearer, Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka’s public demeanour has changed.
The smooth, diplomatic posture has been replaced by a rough, populist stance as the jockeying on who will take on President Uhuru Kenyatta in the coming elections hits the home stretch.
The Wiper Democratic Movement party leader has admitted as much but he is still unhappy. His body language when among his National Super Alliance (Nasa) co-principals betrays him — a little withdrawn and uncharacteristically quiet.
He is no longer the cheerful, boisterous soul of the Narc days — when he bolted out of then ruling party Kanu to help wrest power from the Nyayo regime.
Speaking candidly, Mr Musyoka recently expressed his disgust at the talk that he will quit Nasa should he fail to be picked as the Opposition’s candidate in the August 8 General Election.
It all boils down to trust and Mr Musyoka feels he is a victim of spurious half-truths as he battles growing chatter that he will leave Nasa.
History is not on his side, however.
In August 2007, Mr Musyoka bolted out with the Orange Democratic Movement of Kenya (ODM-Kenya) certificate and abandoned Mr Raila Odinga, who found solace in lawyer Mugambi Imanyara’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).
His relationship with Mr Odinga and other stalwarts hit a sour note during the infamous rally at Hadija Primary School, Mombasa, when he was jeered by Mr Odinga’s supporters, who told him to step down from the presidential race.
They both lost to former President Mwai Kibaki but Mr Musyoka was appointed Vice-President as the country plunged into chaos. Mr Odinga would become Prime Minister in a deal to end the infamous 2007/2008 post-election violence, the country’s worst ever.
The former long-serving Mwingi North Member of Parliament is usually blamed for that split.
“I was made to look like I am the one who left, yet I stuck in the party and Raila left” said Mr Musyoka.
“I am not good at propaganda; I guess that is why.”
One of the people he remembers on that day carrying the “nyundo” (hammer) is the then Kisauni MP Hassan Joho, now the Governor of Mombasa and Deputy Party Leader of ODM.
FORCE HIM OUT
Mr Musyoka told the Nation that his critics, especially in Nasa, want to force him out of the nascent coalition.
“They are in for a surprise,” said Mr Musyoka, “because I am in Nasa to stay.”
He added: “I have heard claims that I have been paid millions by Jubilee to quit Nasa. These are people who do not know me. Why is it that I attract such suspicions? I respect myself.”
Mr Musyoka is unhappy that, despite his public assurances and insistence that he will remain in Nasa, his critics continue to push the defection line.
Last week, Mr Musyoka defended Minority Leader Francis Nyenze, who had provoked outrage for saying that Wiper would leave Nasa if Mr Musyoka was not given the presidential ticket.
While other politicians within Nasa have openly campaigned for their own candidates, Mr Musyoka asked, why was Mr Nyenze being vilified?
©Alleastafrica and Daily Nation