Senators' heated TV debate reveals unknown details of Kalonzo-Raila standoff

Ledama-Wambua clash on national TV provides insights into boardroom negotiations around Kenya's 2022 presidential election

Narok Senator Ledama Olekina and Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua reveal unknown details of Kalonzo Musyoka-Raila Odinga stand-off in TV debate.

A heated TV debate between Narok Senator Ledama Olekina and his Kitui counterpart Enoch Kiio Wambua on Tuesday night has introduced new details to the ongoing stand-off between Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and the Azimio La Umoja presidential campaign, spearheaded by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

The debate hosted on Citizen TV's News Night political talk show, centred on a confidential document signed by the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader where Mr Odinga admitted that the defunct National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition owed the Wiper Party, Sh87 million.

Citing it as the reason why Mr Kalonzo took a hard stance on joining forces with Mr Odinga in the 2022 presidential election, Wiper party Vice-Chairperson Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr conveyed that the Wiper party had only received Sh25 million of the amount stipulated.

Asked why the Wiper party leader choose to make public the sensitive document, Senator Wambua stated that Professor Makau Mutua had been given two chances to disclose the information and hesitated.

"An opportunity had been presented to the person who was supposed to reveal the details of that argument, twice. One time in my presence, and that did not happen. Both the principals who signed the document with my party leader and the depository of the agreement are in breach of the contents of the document and so my party leader was forced to make the document public," Wambua outlined.

The Narok Senator's position on the matter seemed to irk those who followed the interview with a majority suggesting that Olekina may have underestimated Senator Wambua's wherewithal in political rhetoric.

An online commentator identified as Collins Kibet remarked: "Ledama had to even insult leaders who support Kalonzo. Anyway, yesterday's [March 1] discussion was less of facts and full of emotions."

Speaking as a member of the Orange party, Mr Ledama termed Kalonzo's political strategists as 'extremists'. He urged the former Vice President to discard their advice on the matter and to follow his conviction.

"The honourable Kalonzo Musyoka is surrounded by a group of extremists... As I know him, he is a gentleman and he cares about this country... I think Enoch and his group are holding Kalonzo - a fine gentleman - hostage and the only ransom there is their re-election... So it's not about Kalonzo, it's about their aim," Senator Olekina insisted.

The details of the leaked document come at the height of ongoing renegotiations ahead of the 2022 presidential election, with Kalonzo being fronted as a possible third-time running-mate for former PM Odinga.

A resolution to the stand-off is now hinged on the Sh62 million deficit, Wiper claims is rightfully owed to them, as per the details of the signed document.

"Raila remains a brother with whom I've labored with in absolute good faith to bring true democratic change to our country. I am ready to work with him again, I urge that as we engage in fresh negotiations, this document forms the basis of such negotiations," Kalonzo stated in a March 1 press address.

With Azimio La Umoja and ODM luminaries taking the charm-offensive route with Kalonzo, the former VP's pending Sh62 million decision remains one of the closely watched developments around Kenya's 2022 presidential election.

Here are more reactions to the heated, and telling debate:-

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