OKA, Mt Kenya Forum in plan to form third force
One Kenya Alliance (OKA) leaders yesterday held a meeting with a group of politicians allied to the Mount Kenya Forum caucus and agreed to form a “Third Force” as the 2022 succession politics gathered pace.
While OKA principals Musalia Mudavadi, Kalonzo Musyoka, Moses Wetangula and Gideon Moi have each insisted that they will be on the ballot, they yesterday agreed to form a united front to counter Deputy President William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga’s State House march.
The OKA leaders met Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo of Jibebe Wakenya Party and several former MPs from Mt Kenya, with sources indicating that the group is working on a deal that will see them cobble together a coalition and field one presidential candidate in the August 2022 polls.
Already, all the OKA principals have been endorsed to run for the presidency by their respective parties.
High-profile sources privy to talks disclosed that the group is said to have been concerned by the framing of the 2022 succession race as a contest between Ruto and Raila, who is largely perceived as President Uhuru Kenyatta’s preferred successor.
The sources said that the group had agreed to set up a sub-committee with a
representative from each of the parties, which will be tasked with working on a formula and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on how they would cooperate.
Their main intention is to lock out any of the parties within the movement from negotiating a pre-election deal with Ruto and Raila.
The leaders who met at a Nairobi hotel, are said to have agreed to come up with a strategy that will market the “Third Force” as the alternative to Ruto and Raila who they branded “too divisive.”
“The teams discussed how to work together ahead of 2022. They will ink agreements on how that will be done and their plans involve locking out Raila and Ruto in their arithmetic.
They feel they can marshal the needed support to be a third force,” a source privy to the talks told People Daily.
Sources said the teams are said have explored the possibility of a Mudavadi-Karua presidential ticket, an indication that they were determined to run in 2022.
Karua is the leader of the Mt Kenya Unity Forum that has been seeking to shape alternative political direction for the region ahead of next year’s elections.
Wetangula and Karua, who addressed a press conference on behalf of the leaders who also included politician Cyrus Jirongo, former MPs Ndung’u Gethenji (Tetu) and Humphrey Njuguna (Gatanga), said the meeting explored strategies of forging unity with the aim of forming the next
“Today, in front of you are the leadership of OKA and the leadership of Mt Kenya Unity Forum. We came together to explore possibilities of working together.
We belong to Kenya and none of us can do it alone. That is what today’s meeting was all about,” Karua told reporters after the meeting.
Wetangula said: “The dynamism of politics is at play. We must always come together. Think together, talk together and act together. OKA and Mount Kenya Unity have started a journey of moving together and we have had a very fruitful meeting this morning and more meetings will follow and we can only urge Kenyans to watch this space.”
Social media commentators were quick to point out that while Ruto and Raila had hit the ground running, addressing rallies across the county, the OKA leaders were “busy negotiating unity and charting the country’s political direction” from the comfort of hotel lawns with choreographed
In their new strategy to tame Ruto and Raila, Mudavadi will be required to lock western Kenya in their favour, Kalonzo to deliver Ukambani, Moi to bring significant votes from Rift Valley that is dominated by Ruto while Muturi, Karua and Kabogo will marshal Mt Kenya that is split between the former premier and the deputy president.
Sources within the meeting also revealed that the team would be targeting
the support of Uhuru who has already shown that he is leaning towards Raila because he still enjoys influence in his Mt Kenya backyard.
OKA will also be keen to fight the narrative of disunity, by “dispelling the notion of breakup”, a move that seems to have been informed by the in-fighting within the team after a section of leaders, notably Kakamega Governor Cleophas Malala, accused Senator Moi of being the weak link
in the outfit for working with Raila.
Muturi’s dalliance with the group further complicated the choice of the presidential flag-bearer of the new alliance, having also been endorsed as the Democratic Party presidential candidate.
Muturi, who has been coronated as the Mt Kenya spokesperson, has been on an overdrive in his bid to succeed Uhuru.
Kalonzo has been under pressure from leaders from his backyard, among them Governors Charity Ngilu (Kitui), Alfred Mutua (Machakos) and Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni), to support Raila with similar calls to Mudavadi.
Kalonzo and Mudavadi, who have separately been Raila’s running mates, have reacted with fury to calls for them to play second fiddle to the opposition supremo.
They have so far resisted overtures by Uhuru for them to back Raila who is expected to fight it out with Ruto for the key to State House.
Pundits argue that despite expression of bullishness in podiums, usually rallies after Sunday church services, the OKA leaders’ campaigns have failed further momentum nor attracted support of regional heavyweights.
At yesterday’s press conference, they were accompanied by mostly former
elected leaders. Recently, in what appeared to be a thinly- veiled attack on the President, Mudavadi suggested that someone has been pressuring
them to drop their bids.
“It’s only you (the people) who have the power to decide who will be your leader. We should stop the propaganda of trying to force us that it must be this person or that.
I said that while I was in Kakamega, I will repeat the same here and I will repeat it everywhere. The leadership comes from the people and the people must decide,” he said