Despite murmurs from his party, Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka yesterday started work as a special peace envoy.
Kalonzo and Foreign Affairs CS Monica Juma flew to Juba, where they delivered President Uhuru Kenyatta’s congratulatory message to President Salva Kiir for implementing the South Sudan peace agreement.
During his father’s burial last Friday, Kalonzo said he will not mind being Uhuru’s “mtu wa mkono [errand boy]”.
He even ‘threatened’ those who will meddle in his relationship with the President of unspecified action.
“From today, let no one separate me and my brother Uhuru. I have accepted to run his errands. Those who will attempt to interfere will see my other side,” Kalonzo said.
His remarks upset some of his senior party members, including chairman Kivutha Kibwana and Johnson Muthama, who asked him to clarify what he meant.
Kalonzo’s new role, however, has not gone down well with leaders from his backyard who have hinted at withdrawing their support for his presidential bid.
Muthama was particularly concerned about the “mtu wa mkono” role that Kalonzo has landed and likened him to an athlete who fails to complete a race. “As Kambas, we are pushing Kalonzo to become the next President and he is now running to the opposite direction with the relay baton,” Muthama said.
“Let him explain to us what he meant by ‘mtu wa mkono’.” He spoke during a fundraiser at St John’s Catholic Church Lita, Kathiani, on Sunday.
Kibwana questioned Kalonzo’s seriousness in running for the county’s top job. “When a leader of the people becomes an errand boy, what becomes of the followers who have elevated him to the negotiation table?” Kibwana posted in a WhatsApp group.
Although there has been no official communication on Kalonzo’s new role, he is largely expected to monitor the South Sudan peace process as the head of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC). K
Kiir entered into a deal with rebel leader Riek Machar, ending years of bloody conflict.
Kalonzo’s elevation to a diplomatic role comes a month after ODM leader Raila Odinga was appointed African Union High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa.
Raila is the first holder of the new office established to promote integration, cross-border trade and regional projects, including railways, roads and energy.
Kalonzo has a chequered career as a diplomat, having played a role in mediation initiatives in Somalia and South Sudan.
His most poignant achievement was when, together with retired General Lazarus Sumbeiywo, they helped end the long-running conflict that saw Khartoum agree to allow South Sudan to break away.
The latest mediation talks, which Kenya played little role, led to the return of the exiled Machar to Juba from South Africa, where he had been under house arrest for two years.
Kalonzo’s post was held by former Botswana President Festus Mogae, who left office in August.