Thursday, February 9, 2012



Kenya's Vice President Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka
Compiled by Jerry Okungu
Nairobi, Kenya
February 8, 2012

Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka was born on December 24, 1953. He is a Kenyan politician, currently serving as Vice President of the Republic of Kenya. 

Musyoka served in the government under President Daniel arap Moi and was Minister for Foreign Affairs from 1993 to 1998; subsequently, under President Mwai Kibaki, as Minister of Foreign Affairs again from 2003 to 2004, then Minister of the Environment from 2004 to 2005.

He was an unsuccessful candidate in the 2007 presidential election, after which he was appointed Vice-President by Kibaki in January 2008. He also serves as Chief Commissioner for The Kenya Scouts Association. 

A good number of Kenyans and media houses call him "watermelon" due to his "divided stand" during the last Constitution Referendum.

Early life

He was born in Tseikuru, in a remote part of Mwingi District, then part of Kitui District in Kenya's Eastern Province.

Between 1960 and 1967 he went to school at Tseikuru Full Primary School before proceeding to Kitui High School in Kitui and eventually to Meru School High School in Meru from where he completed A Levels in 1973. Kalonzo Musyoka graduated with a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Nairobi in 1977. He continued further studies at the Kenya School of Law and Mediterranean Institute of Management in Cyprus.

His Politics

Musyoka vied for the Kitui North Constituency parliamentary seat in 1983, but was defeated. At the time, Kenya was a one-party state and the only party fielding candidates was Kenya African National Union (KANU). However, only two years later, in 1985 the Kitui North seat fell vacant and Musyoka won the subsequent by-election, thus becoming an MP at the age of 32.

In 1986 he was appointed Assistant Minister for Works. He was re-elected at the 1988 parliamentary elections and became KANU's National Organizing Secretary from 1988 to 1998.

When Kenya's first multiparty elections were held in 1992, Musyoka stayed in KANU, renewed his parliamentary position and was appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. He also held a couple of other ministerial positions as a KANU MP.

He was reelected to parliament in 1997, but this time was now from Mwingi North Constituency, since his former constituency Kitui North had been split into new constituencies

In the months leading up to the 2002 general elections, under the leadership of then KANU secretary general, Raila Odinga, he decamped from KANU to join the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) under the banner of the National Rainbow Coalition, which went on to win the general elections.

Musyoka became Minister for Foreign Affairs for a second time under President Mwai Kibaki, but in a cabinet reshuffle on June 30, 2004 he was moved to the post of Minister for the Environment. In late August 2004, he was additionally removed from his position as chairman of the Sudanese and Somali peace talks and was replaced by John Koech.

 Musyoka was reportedly unhappy with President Kibaki's refusal to honour a pre-election Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which they had signed with the President's party NAK. He was one of the leaders of the successful "No"-campaign in the November 2005 referendum on the proposed new constitution. Following the referendum, he was dismissed from the Cabinet.

Subsequently Kalonzo Musyoka decamped from Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) into the little known Labor Party of Kenya led by Dr. Julia Ojiambo of Western Province.

Kalonzo Musyoka was widely expected to vie for the presidency in the December 2007 elections. He campaigned for the ODM-Kenya ticket, facing a number of other contenders. His ratings for December 2007 election steadily dropped, and political analysts wondered whether he would make a significant impact. 

His relationship with fellow ODM-Kenya leader Raila Odinga, who was also after the ODM-Kenya presidential ticket, was the subject of much speculation. Many observers questioned whether the presidential hopefuls of ODM-Kenya, particularly Raila and Musyoka, could unite to support one common candidate for the general election.

The ODM-Kenya split into two factions, one gathered around Musyoka and the other around Odinga, in August 2007. Musyoka was elected by his faction as its presidential candidate on August 31, 2007, receiving 2,835 votes in a secret ballot against Julia Ojiambo, who received 791 votes.

Musyoka has been quoted as saying "... the war against poverty could not be won unless environmental issues were addressed."

Musyoka launched his presidential campaign at Uhuru Park in Nairobi on October 14, 2007. This move was criticized by those who saw him as a traitor to the ODM party of Raila Odinga. Kalonzo however said that "atapitia katikati".

According to official results, Musyoka was placed a distant third behind Kibaki and Odinga with 9% of the vote. Amid a violent crisis over the results, with supporters of Kibaki and Odinga disputing the outcome, Kibaki appointed Musyoka as Vice-President and Minister of Home Affairs on January 8, 2008.

Musyoka expressed gratitude to Kibaki and, referring to the ongoing dispute and violence, said that he was "intensely aware that the appointment has come at a difficult time when our nation is going through a painful moment". He took office as Vice-President on January 9.

The political crisis eventually led to the signing of a power-sharing agreement between Kibaki and Odinga. In the Grand Coalition Cabinet that was announced on April 13, 2008, Musyoka remained Vice President and Minister of Home Affairs.

In 2010 Musyoka supported the draft constitution in the campaign for August 4th referendum but members of the campaign team opposing the draft constitution claimed that he was secretly opposing the draft leading to a satirical comparison of Musyoka to a watermelon which is naturally green outside and red inside. 

The team supporting the draft constitution was represented by color green while the team opposing the draft constitution was represented by the color red hence the "green team" and the "red team". Musyoka's nickname watermelon was because of his alleged open support for the green team in the day and secret support for the red team at night.

Personal life

Kalonzo Musyoka is married to Pauline. They have four children. He was baptized by Pastor Masila Munyoki

Sources: Wikipedia, Local and International newspaper archives