In September last year, former Amani National Congress (ANC) Party Secretary-General, Eliud Owalo, said come what may, he would never support Deputy President William Ruto.
Owalo made the remarks during a political rally in Kibra in the run-up to November 7, 2020 Kibra by-election. The then-holder of the office, Ken Okoth, had passed on, and the race to replace him attracted interest from Owalo, Okoth’s brother, Imran, and former Kenya international McDonald Mariga.
Initially, Owalo attempted to get the ODM ticket ahead of the August 8, 2017 general election, but the Party found a safe custodian of its Kibra interests in Ken Okoth.
This resulted in Owalo ditching the ODM Party on August 13, 2019, citing “clashing political ideology” which made him “lose enthusiasm in pushing the Party’s agenda” as reasons for the termination of his membership.
“My resignation is informed by the fact that my political ideology, convictions and belief no longer has convergence or depict any congruence and common denominator with that of the ODM Party; its value-orientation and practices,” Owalo said in a letter addressed to Registrar of Political Parties.
“Consequently, there is no iota of enthusiasm remaining in me to warrant my continued stay in the ODM Party; thereby necessitating my strategic exit from the Party by way of immediate resignation. I therefore request that you facilitate the instant removal of my name from the ODM Party Membership Register,” he instructed.
The former Raila Odinga presidential campaign manager would, 15 days later, be unveiled as ANC Party’s candidate in the Ken Okoth-succession race.
During campaigns ahead of the November 7, 2019 Kibra by-election, there were rumours that Owalo had been thrown into the parliamentary contest by Deputy President William Ruto -- through ANC -- so as to scuttle ODM candidate Imran Okoth’s chances of winning the seat.
Taking to the podium in early September last year, during a political rally ahead of the November by-election, Owalo termed such speculation as “propaganda”.
“Others have now begun spreading propaganda that Owalo will withdraw from the Kibra parliamentary race, and throw his support behind Jubilee Party candidate MacDonald Mariga. Do you think someone as educated as me would pull out of the race to root for a tout in the by-election? What form of stupidity would that be?” he posed.
“Let me tell you one thing: I stood firmly with Raila Odinga because I know he is a strong anti-corruption crusader, and usually champions good governance. I left his camp and joined Musalia Mudavadi’s political outfit. I know Musalia Mudavadi’s style of politics prioritises the common mwananchi.
“I, Owalo, have stood with Raila Odinga, an honest person; I have stood with Mudavadi, another honest person. Do you think I will betray what I believe in, and strike a political deal with a thief?” he posed.
“There is no day you will hear that Owalo has struck a political deal with [Deputy President William] Ruto… I do not need someone’s money; I have mine, which is enough. Those who think that I would pull out of the race [because money has been used to buy my loyalty], you are in for a rude shock,” he asserted.
One year later, Owalo has since resigned from ANC, and vowed to support Deputy President William Ruto, the man he swore on a public podium that he won’t forge any political camaraderie with come what may.
On Monday, September 14, he, being the star attraction, was welcomed to the “Hustler Movement” by Deputy President William Ruto, who hosted him at the DP’s Karen residence.
“I have with effect from today made a deliberate and conscious decision to stand with Kenyans by pursuing my political interests and aspirations within the ambit of the “Hustler” Political Matrix. I’m also going the full-hog with Bill Ruto’ 2022. @WilliamsRuto,” Owalo tweeted at 4:41pm Monday.
His reception to the Ruto camp was warmly welcomed by early-arrivers Rigathi Gachagua (MP, Mathira), Nixon Korir (MP, Lang’ata), Johnston Muthama (former Senator, Machakos), Boni Khalwale (former Senator, Kakamega), among others.
Taking to his Twitter page Monday evening, Deputy President William Ruto said he was happy to host hundreds of leaders, “led by Owalo”, who will form part of the “Hustler political matrix”.
“Hosted hundreds of leaders led by former @anc_party official @EliudOwalo who joined the ‘Hustler’ political matrix, Karen Residence, Nairobi County. Joined by MPs @Rigathi_G (Mathira), @nixon_korir (Lang’ata), former Senators @KBonimtetezi (Kakamega) and @nduyamuthama (Machakos), Ruto tweeted at 7:10pm.
A week, is clearly a long time in politics, and politics is one space, they say, there are no permanent enemies or friends.
In one year, Owalo has shifted his loyalty from ODM to ANC and now to the “Hustler political matrix”.
Let’s wait and see what the coming “several weeks” in politics hold!