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Political Defections That Shaped the 2022 Elections

  • From the onset, 2022 was poised to be full of political activities considering it was an electioneering year in Kenya. 

    At the start of the year, many politicians had made a stand on their political ambitions and were moving to consolidate their bases ahead of the August 9 elections. 

    However, as the year progressed, political realignments characterised by defections became a norm. 

    Below are some of the political defections that shaped the 2022 elections.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga during an Azimio Council meeting.

    Former President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga during an Azimio Council meeting.

    The Standard

    Kalonzo Musyoka to Raila

    Wiper party leader, Kalonzo Musyoka, once again put Kenyans at the edge of their seat during the 2022 General Election.

    Kalonzo assured his supporters that he would be running for president, reiterating his declaration in June 2021  that he would be stupid to support Raila Odinga for the third time.

    However, on March 12, during the Azimio National Delegates Conference, President (Rtd) Uhuru Kenyatta, announced that Kalonzo had joined the coalition party, much to his surprise.

    “If I asked all those party secretaries-general what they affixed their signatures to, nobody knows,” Kalonzo declared

    Kalonzo returned to Azimio on June 2 after he was promised to be among the front runners to deputise Raila Odinga.

    He found himself in a pool of 10 others running for the same position. After an interview with a selection panel, Raila settled for Narc Kenya’s Martha Karua as his running mate.

    As Odinga unveiled Karua as his running mate, Kalonzo unveiled his presidential bid, picking Andrew Sunkuli as his running mate.

    A back and forth ensued, but a deal was sealed, prompting Kalonzo to return to Azimio with the promise of being given the Prime Cabinet Secretary position. 

    ODM party leader Raila Odinga and Wiper's Kalonzo Musyoka shake hands after Kalonzo endorsed him for the presidency at Jacaranda Grounds on Saturday, March 12, 2022

    ODM party leader Raila Odinga and Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka shake hands after Kalonzo endorsed him for the presidency at Jacaranda Grounds on Saturday, March 12, 2022



    However, he maintained that Raila would never be president without him as a running mate and his revelation came true once the outcome of the August 9 poll was announced. 

    Mudavadi and Wetangula to Kenya Kwanza

    National Assembly speaker, Moses Wetangula. and Prime Cabinet Secretary, Musalia Mudavadi, decamped from the One Kenya Alliance on January 23 and formed a political pact with then Deputy President William Ruto.

    Political pundits termed the defections inconsequential, claiming that the two had no influence to counter Raila Odinga’s support in Western Kenya.

    Others claimed that Ruto got Wetangula as a bargain, arguing that his party, Ford Kenya was on its deathbed and had nothing to offer. These theories were evidenced in a leaked power-sharing deal

    Mudavadi was offered the Prime Cabinet Minister position. At the same time, Wetangula was promised the Speaker of the National Assembly on condition that they delivered 70 per cent of the region’s votes to Kenya Kwanza.

    While opponents laughed off at the targets, the two leaders went to the ground and delivered 611,475 votes to Ruto against Odinga’s 955,185. 

    Wetangula came closest to his target, delivering 63 per cent of the vote in Bungoma County while simultaneously delivering the gubernatorial, senatorial and several parliamentary seats.

    Ruto honoured his pre-election promise to the duo when he appointed Mudavadi as Prime CS while Wetangula was elected speaker of the August House.

    Uhuru Delivers Jubilee to Raila 

    Uhuru made good on his promise to deliver the people of Mount Kenya region to Raila Odinga after he officially endorsed him as his successor. 

    While the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and Jubilee held different national delegates conventions (NDCs), Uhuru attended Raila’s meeting and publicly declared him as his choice.

    He rallied leaders under the then ruling party to campaign for the former Premier, with the ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna indicating that they agreed to deliver 40 per cent of the region’s vote to Raila. 


    Speaker Moses Wetangula shakes hands with President William Ruto at a past event


    Kuria, Kiunjuri and Muturi Join Kenya Kwanza

    Ruto moved swiftly to counter his former party leader and brought in some of his closest allies, including former Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, former CS  Mwangi Kiunjuri and then Speaker Justin Muturi.

    The three, alongside Karua were part of the Mount Kenya Unity forum – which held talks to unite the region to speak in one voice since it had no presidential candidate.

    Kuria and Muturi’s defection were considered as a strong message to Uhuru as they were among his closest allies.

    “Today I am happy because my party has given me that backing and I indeed want to say to my brothers who believe in this conversation that we cannot be if the others can’t,” Muturi stated.

    Kiunjuri won the Laikipia East seat while Kuria and Muturi were nominated and thereafter appointed as Trade CS and Attorney General respectively.


Jay Ndungu

Jay is a computer scientist and journalist with a passion for the intersection of technology and society. He has a background in computer science, developing a deep understanding of the technical aspects of the industry, including programming languages and software development methodologies. Currently, He writes for Nairobi Times, covering a wide range of topics including technology, politics, sports, and entertainment. With his unique combination of technical knowledge and journalistic experience, Jay brings a unique perspective to the stories he covers, able to explain complex technical concepts in an easy-to-understand manner. His work is dedicated to bridge the gap between technology and society, and to make people more aware of the potential of technology to make the world a better place.

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