Ford Kenya Deputy Party Leader Dr Boni Khalwale aka the ‘Bull fighter’ speaks to our Special Projects Editor Patrick Wachira, on his support for Deputy President William Ruto’s race for State House in 2022, elusive Luhya unity and other political issues. Here are excerpts:
QUESTION: You seem to have a lot of confidence— and even faith — that Deputy President William Ruto will be the next president after Uhuru Kenyatta.
ANSWER: Yes, Ruto will be our flag-bearer for the presidency come 2022. It is true I said when the time comes I will throw my weight, if I have any, behind the DP.
It will be strategically brilliant, just like in chess. You have to see five moves ahead of the last move you made. The Constitution defines what you are running for. Your strategy must define how you will go about it.
The presidency is defined in the Constitution. I live in the comfort that as he serves as President he will have a person from my community as his deputy. It is far better to be Deputy President than to be Opposition leader.
Q: There have been a number of your ‘Saul moments’ of attack. What, for instance, explains your current switch from a rabid Ruto and Jubilee Party basher to an admirer of the same?
A: Nothing has changed. Unless you come from Mars, Raila (Odinga) said more unprintable things about Uhuru, than I said about Ruto. That has not prevented them from working together. I have changed parties only three times. There are others who have changed parties many times and you know them. If you want to know (them), ask T.J Kajwang’. He knows them.
Q: Are you still in Ford Kenya?
A: I am a strong politician. I am in Ford Kenya. No one has chased me from there. We shall have talks to decide whether what we will form will be a coalition or merger. Lakini kumezwa iko…(But being swallowed is real).
Q: You have been quiet. What have you been up to?
A: It is true. I have been cooling my heels after a blistering campaign for senator (seat). It is not a joke, I tell you!
Q: Going by recent events, is Nasa, and by extension the Opposition, falling apart?
A: There is no Nasa. We now have a weakened Opposition because most people are trooping to Jubilee. They are coming to establish a Trojan horse. Raila and Kalonzo (Musyoka) are aware of that. It is about proximity to the President. They are rushing for a piece of the cake.
They are hoping that the Presidency will say Raila tosha, or Kalonzo tosha. It is laughable. The President will not be talking to robots.
He will be talking to a youthful vote captivated by Ruto. Young voters will rebel against Uhuru just like they defied (former President Mwai) Kibaki. It will happen again.
Q: Do you have a problem with (ANC Party Leader Musalia) Mudavadi?
A: None. I have no problem at all with him. But Ruto is a front-runner for the presidency. It is easier to team up with a front-runner than (with) a man who has no chance. I have told Mudavadi there is wisdom in working with Ruto.
Q: There has been talk of a Raila, Peter Kenneth team. What do you make of it?
A: I wish them luck. They are like day and night. PK does not believe in the likes of Tibim, Tialala. Raila thrives on confusion and that is why he spins stories of River Jordan and crocodiles. Raila will spoil for himself by forcing himself on Kenyans.
Q: Politicians are agitated about 2022, the call for a referendum, and electoral reforms, specifically at the IEBC. Comment.
A: There are natural calls and test tube calls. The natural is for Wanjiku, riding on the punda amechoka na mzigo thing. But in the lab calls, some guys want to be in the Executive so they are not locked out the Cabinet. While we are at it, those opposed to the winner-take-it-all concept are just noisemakers. It is a lot of noise.Those saying it just want a piece of power. Can you imagine Usain Bolt being told to share his championship and reward money with losers?
Raila has forced himself into governments a few times after losing. If you call someone champion, it is because he won. In winner-take-it-all, it is democracy at its finest. And for me, there is no need for a referendum. IEBC looks bad not because of the law. The problem is impunity.
Q: You have been one of those preaching the gospel of elusive Mulembe Nation unity. Do you still believe it will ever be realised?
A: When you want to kill a dog, you start by giving it a bad name. Ati amekula nyama sijui nini. That description of being elusive is a means to achieve certain ends. We voted for Kibaki more than the Kikuyus did for him as their votes were split between him and Uhuru. Don’t give us a bad name. We have the capacity to mobilise our community to vote in a certain way. In 2022 you will be surprised.
I also believe our community will produce the next Deputy Presidency. Hiyo ingine tutaachia Raila na wengine…(We shall leave the other seats to Raila and others…)