She ably and eloquently presented her case against the election of President Uhuru Kenyatta before the Supreme Court, alongside a team of lawyers including her late father, Senior Counsel Mutula Kilonzo.
Now some leaders within the CORD fraternity and supporters in Makueni County want Kethi Diana Kilonzo to step into her father’s shoes in the Senate.
While this has been the quiet prayer and push of supporters of the late Mutula, the pressure on his daughter to replace him in the Senate has heightened. This follows the issuance of writs for the seat by Speaker Ekwe Ethuro on Thursday.
As political pressure piles on the celebrated lawyer, she opts to stay mum to weigh her options first. At one point she agreed to accord The Standard On Sunday an interview but on second thought postponed the same to Monday.
The pressure notwithstanding, a Wiper Democratic Movement (WMD) allied MP who pleaded anonymity, confided to The Standard On Sunday that Kethi was less enthusiastic about joining politics as compared to his elder brother and lawyer, Mutula Kilonzo Jnr.
“But the reality is that our people are keener on Kethi and not Jnr. In fact if he opts to vie, Jnr will get challengers and might even be shocked at the ballot, as opposed to Kethi who could get elected unopposed,” opines the politician.
In the meantime, The Standard On Sunday has learnt that the Mutula family has been consulting over the matter and has certainly agreed to present a candidate for the Makueni County seat. What remains unclear is who between Kethi and Mutula Jnr is that candidate.
Interestingly, all those harbouring ambitions to succeed the late Mutula are anxiously monitoring the signals and direction of his family members. Although Makueni has a long list of experienced politicians, they have all separately adopted a “wait-and-see” approach.
Mr Michael Kisoi Munyao, who succeeded Mutula as Mbooni MP, appeals to the people of Makueni to elect a suitable replacement for Mutula – a person who has the charisma and zeal to deliver on services as the former Education minister. Given that the Senator hailed from Mbooni, it is Munyao’s prayer that his constituency produces Mutula’s replacement.
But Yatta MP, Francis Mwangangi openly roots for Kethi: “There are three reasons why her name is on the lips everyone in the County – she demonstrated, during the Supreme Court sessions, her ability of being ruthlessly efficient just like the father, she is young and just the kind of crop of leaders that this country now wants.
And finally, considering that the Senate is full of men, her inclusion is good for gender balance.” Other possible names on the card include that of former Minister and Kaiti MP, Gideon Ndambuki, whom Kalonzo trounced during the Wiper party nominations. There is also former Kibwezi MP, Prof Philip Kaloki, who lost the Governor’s contest to Prof Kivutha Kibwana.
And of course, the former Kilome MP John Harun Mwau, who lost to Mutula during the March 4 poll. Mwau, who lost by a huge margin, had filed a petition contesting Mutula’s win.
There are two other possible challengers – the immediate former Makueni MP Peter Kiilu who lost the seat youthful lawyer Daniel Maanzo and former Provincial Commissioner Alfred Ndolo.
The latter hails from Mbooni and has had long term close relations with the departed senator. Instructively, Ndolo played a central role in Mutula’s burial arrangements including as master of ceremony.
Reached for comment, Kaloki admitted that a larger section of Makueni residents have approached him to contest the seat. However, he said was weighing options with a strong indication that he was ready to run.
“I jointly campaigned with the late Mutula throughout the entire county as Senator and Governor candidates of the Wiper party under the CORD alliance and the Makueni people are asking me to contest”, he added.
He admitted the late Mutula was a focused leader who would have helped the Makueni County develop because he had great ideas.
On his part Ndambuki said it was too early to say whether he will contest or not choosing to give the matter a bit of time.
A Makueni County Assembly member Francis Mutuku alias Muso said the possible entry of the late Mutula’s daughter Kethi would complicate matters for the other candidates.
He however said in the absence of Kethi or her brother Mutula jnr, Kaloki will be the man to beat in the race expected to be the mother of all battles.
But even as the replacement of Mutula in the Senate gets underway, leaders of the Wiper party are in agreement that it will be difficult to get a politician who can add value to the party and CORD coalition as Mutula.
Ideally, while residents of Makueni County will soon get a new Senator, the Wiper party and CORD coalition have doubtlessly been left poorer, with regard to organizational strategy and legal mind. These are crucial skills in today’s highly competitive politics.– The Standard