Balancing act dilemma in Uhuru succession politics
The race to 2022 is hitting fever pitch as politicians jostle and angle not just for President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Mt Kenya support, but also strategic positions in the next political dispensation.
A few top politicians who until 2013 had never been out of government, have been out in the cold for close to 10 years and 2022 presents them an opportunity to come back to the fold.
Kiambaa by elections victory by UDA has certainly cemented Deputy President William Ruto’s position as the man to beat. You are either with Ruto or the Raila Odinga axis that will be formed to challenge the DP’s Hustler Nation juggernaut.
A lot depends on President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila and how the emergent One Kenya Alliance (OKA) will play out.
Critics have not had kind analysis of OKA, with many opining that their one and only strategy is at best to lobby or at worst wait for Uhuru and Raila to endorse the outfit.
It does appear that without the support of the President and the former Prime Minister - OKA is all but a shell, though Musalia Mudavadi has recently come out strongly to push his candidature. He needs to keep those rallies rolling.
However, former Nasa co-partners’ new found courage to attack Raila has not covered them in glory, and in the event that the ODM leader decides to support any of the three principals, the hustler nation will have a field day replaying the clips of some of their shocking political utternaces to would be sympathisers in Raila’s strongholds.
Granted, politicians eat their own words without constipation as Winston Churchill once said, but you replay Mudavadi and Kalonzo’s clips talking about Raila in the last few months, and you realise that they have spewed words that would certainly cause some stomach upsets.
To situate the OKA scenario, these are the likely outcomes: Raila supporting OKA - which will be a hard sell and unlikely to replicate the 2002 scenario given that none of the three Nasa principals in OKA has any serious national political gravitas.
Two is President Uhuru supporting OKA – a scenario that will cause political shockwaves, but only if the President convinces Raila to support one of the four OKA leaders.
Well, even if he wanted, the President would not want to lower himself to the level of meddling and pushing any definitive decision.
It is also unlikely that Raila will get into a negotiating table with hard stance former allies, who come with fairly modest national clout-in terms of voting blocks and agree to play second fiddle when everything seems to be falling in place for him.
That is almost impossible and two factors further underscore the impossibility.
One, Raila has been a big factor in President Uhuru’s second term stellar service delivery to the public and he knows that with the President behind him, he is likely to finally stroll to State House.
He will unleash all his political wits to put at least three of the four OKA luminaries on his side and all will be set.
Number two; for these four luminaries the other option will be joining Ruto and fitting within a pecking order, that may even lower their status further given the many lieutenants that have been with the DP since 2013.
Other than Bungoma Senator Wetangula and Baringo’s Gideon Moi, the other two also have to decide whether they want to go the next 10 years in the political cold and possibly oblivion or be part of the next government.
Simply put, for Mudavadi and Kalonzo Musyoka, there are three choices: Support Baba, join the Chief Hustler or go it alone.
The last two options are like giving a thirsty man the options of either drinking ocean water or remain thirsty.
Hard choices indeed. Nevertheless, the winning coalition is likely to be built on continuity with grand development agenda that we have witnessed in the President’s second term as the anchor. — [email protected]