One Kenya Alliance leaders hope to ink deal in a week’s time
ODM leader Raila Odinga is walking a tight rope following Tuesday’s State House meeting where leaders of the One Kenya Alliance (OKA) remained apprehensive over his presidential bid.
Shunned by his former National Super Alliance (Nasa) allies, Raila seems to have been boxed into a tight corner, with three main options: To drop his presidential bid and support one of the OKA four, mount a lone presidential campaign or cobble up a new alliance with other allies.
During the Mombasa meeting, OKA principals are said to have put up a spirited opposition to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s proposal that they back Raila for August 2022 polls, arguing he stands a better chance among them, People Dailycan reveal.
Details have emerged that Uhuru, who chaired the meeting, told the principals that they should go and soul search and meet after one week with “a realistic answer” on how they want to approach the 2022 polls.
Uhuru is said to have reiterated that he would not support them in their quest if they cannot unite as one force- to face off with Deputy President William Ruto.
“I cannot support you, if you are not united. From the poll if you do not unite, Ruto will even get 50+1 without the need of a second round.
From where I sit, the best chance you have to win is to support Raila. He seems to have a realistic chance, but only with your support,” President Uhuru is said to have told the leaders.
The Head of State further told Raila, Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi, Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka, Kanu chairman Gideon Moi, Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya that he was willing to strike a deal on the sharing of the positions proposed in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) should it be allowed to proceed.
The leaders at the talks are said to have explored the possibility of having a referendum before the 2022 polls, admitting that it would be unrealistic to conduct the plebiscite, but agreed to prioritise it immediately after the polls and create those other positions.
The source disclosed that Uhuru dangled the carrot that the leaders were free to discuss and share government slots now, so that everyone knows exactly what they will get once the coalition wins.
In addition, the source said that Raila agreed he can serve for one term and hand over to any of the OKA leaders.
However, Kalonzo is said to have protested the ‘one-term narrative’ saying Raila had not honoured the agreement in 2013 and 2017 in different forms, arguing that it was impossible to sell the same story in his stronghold.
It was after Kalonzo’s protest that the leaders agreed to work on a tight Memorandum of Understanding that none of them would go against.
Raila, who is the eldest in the group, accepted the move and told his colleagues to go and market themselves even as they ponder on how they will create the government should their coalition win the presidency.
Mudavadi, who has set his eyes on State House, weighed on such a deal but with a rider that only if Raila played as an equal in the yet to be formed grand alliance, that will bring all them together.
Mudavadi, Kalonzo and Wetangula insisted that Raila had not announced his candidature publicly and should not be considered a candidate until he does so, adding that Raila’s candidacy can only be discussed once he launches his campaign.
“The President asked that the leaders go and reflect on the issues and meet again in a month’s time after the Court of Appeal decision on BBI,” said the source.
Reacting to reports that OKA leaders are insisting on Raila stepping down for them, ODM chairman John Mbadi said to vie for the presidency is not a walk in the park. He said many factors are usually factored in.
“It is not a joke as some people would want us to imagine. It involves networking, massive resources and winning a reliable support base,” said Mbadi, who declined to comment further claiming that he was yet to be briefed by Raila.
But Prof Macharia Munene warns that it is too early to rule Raila out of the 2022 political matrix due to his experience and being a strategist.
The don also poured cold water on OKA, saying it was an alliance “standing on myths” and cobbled up to oppose the candidacy of Raila and Ruto.
“Raila is a man known to pull a fast one on his political opponents and it is times like this, that he seems to operate very well.
But I don’t think the OKA would translate into a formidable political force to give Ruto a run for his money.
Either way, tProf Macharia who teaches at the United State International University.
Macharia says Raila has the option to either go it alone in 2022 and still make an impact or cobble up a new alliance with other politicians outside OKA.
According to Macharia, should OKA completely shut doors on him, Raila could easily cobble up a new alliance bringing together President Uhuru’s Jubilee, Moi’s Kanu, Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho, Charity Ngilu (Kitui), Oparanya, Alfred Mutua and some youthful politicians.
And apart from politics, the source further divulged that the President asked the leaders to point out areas that he needed to address ahead of his State of the Nation address.
The leaders are reported to have told Uhuru that he should continue cracking the whip on corruption and open up the economy, adding that the majority of Kenyans are suffering.
According to the source, the political leaders were split on whether the President should fully open the economy following the Covid-19 pandemic; with others arguing that the cases are still on the increase while others argued that the economy can be opened even as Kenyans get vaccinated.
The President is also said to have sought the input of the five leaders in his scheduled State of the Nation Address slated for later this month.
Later, Raila, Kalonzo and Oparanya went to have dinner at Central Organisation of Trade Union (Cotu) Secretary General Francis Atwoli’s home at the Coast.