Raila-Kalonzo 2022 alliance ‘in the offing’
By Eric Wainaina and Mutuku Mwangangi
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his two-time running-mate Kalonzo Musyoka are engaged in private talks that could see them rekindle their political partnership.
The two have been holding discussions with a view to approaching next year’s General Election as a team in a move geared towards countering Deputy President William Ruto.
People Daily has established that the closely-guarded talks have been going on for a while, and should they bear fruit, Raila and Kalonzo, who have in the past cooperated under the Coalition of Reforms and Democracy (Cord) and the National Super Alliance (Nasa), could reunite.
Close allies of both leaders have confirmed that though the latter has previously ruled out working with the former prime minister for a third time, the talks have been progressing well.
The allies are, however, tight-lipped on finer details of the discussions and how long they have been going on.
Sources confided that the talks were being spearheaded by the Mt Kenya Foundation, a group of influential businessmen from Central Kenya and some confidants of President Uhuru Kenyatta, who are working on a strategy that could see Raila, Kalonzo and Kanu chairman Gideon Moi join forces.
Success of these talks could leave Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi largely isolated.
The same sources revealed that it may have been because of the possible Raila-Kalonzo re-union that prompted Mudavadi to reach out to former Justice minister Martha Karua and her colleagues in the Mt Kenya Leaders Forum.
Orange Democratic Movement national chairman John Mbadi, without divulging the extent of the talks, said Raila and Kalonzo were engaged in discussions aimed at forming an alliance.
“These are leaders who have worked together before. Nothing stops them from engaging in talks. We need to have everyone on board so that we have an easy win. The talks have been there; that one I know for sure but this is not something that I can talk to you about because I am not authorised to do so. Just know that the talks have been there,” Mbadi said when reached by People Daily.
Kitui Senator Enock Wambui, a close Kalonzo ally, also confirmed that their camp was reaching out to “all formidable forces” with a view to coming up with a strong coalition to win the 2022 elections.
“We are reaching out to various parties with the main aim of forming a formidable team that will easily win the General Election. There is nothing that stops us from talking to anybody, apart from our common enemy (Ruto) as long as we can attain our goal,” Wambua said.
That there is “something cooking” between Raila and Kalonzo away from the public glare was projected yesterday when the ODM leader graced the Wiper party’s National Delegates Conference that was held at Kasarani, sparking protests from Mudavadi’s surrogates who accused the former Vice President of inviting an “enemy”.
Speaking at the NDC where he reminisced his political journey with Kalonzo, Raila who tagged along Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu, appeared to confirm the ongoing talks, hinting that he and Kalonzo could still work together because their political ideologies are still the same.
“I spoke about Azimio La Umoja that is aimed at uniting all Kenyans so that we can achieve the dreams of our forefathers. I am sure because what Kalonzo wants (policies in running the country) is what Raila wants; our roads will link up once again, we will meet ahead in our journey,” Raila said vaguely.
He added that he would share details of their possible reunion during a December 9 rally that would mark the culmination of his nationwide unity campaigns.
The ODM leader said he has been “seeking views and preparing his soldiers” for the 2022 political battle against his opponents, whom he said, have been campaigning for a long time.
And Ngilu, an open Raila proponent, told the One Kenya Alliance (OKA) principals – Kalonzo, Mudavadi, Gideon and Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula – to stop being suspicious of one another, shun political mistrust and agree to work together.
Earlier, while talking to People Daily, Ngilu said Kalonzo had no choice but work with Raila.
“That is where he has his chances of being part of the next government. I am aware of the talks that have been going on, and very soon, you will see white smoke,” Ngilu said.
But yesterday, Kalonzo avoided the subject and instead concentrated on issues that he would implement should he be elected president.
Though details of the Raila-Kalonzo talks remained scanty, sources hinted that should Kalonzo play ball, he may be compensated for the resources he has so far spent in his campaigns and settle for one of the senior influential positions in government since the deputy presidency is likely to be given to a person from Mt Kenya.
While Kalonzo invited Raila to his NDC, his OKA colleagues Mudavadi and Wetang’ula did not invite the ODM leader to their respective congresses held recently, during which some of their allies used the platform to attack the former premier accusing him of betrayal and selfishness by allegedly refusing to honour their 2017 Nasa deal.
Former Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) chairman and a key Kalonzo ally, Philip Kaloki, while speaking to People Daily separately, corroborated Mbadi’s position on the political discussions between his party boss and Raila, adding that the former Vice-President was also having political negotiations with national and regional leaders from other parts of the country.
“I know the party leader is having discussions with Raila Odinga on who is going to support who because two of them are contesting. If they join together and come up with a way forward, then that is going to be great. I can also see that the discussion is going to bring some good results. These discussions are going on and we want to see if they are going to have a formidable force, but it’s too early to say who is supporting who” said Kaloki, who had moved to Jubilee before returning to Wiper.
The move could complicate matters for Mudavadi, who is keen at making a second stab at the presidency, and who has insisted that OKA must remain united.
Only recently, the Mudavadi camp accused Gideon of working secretly with Raila.
“We are disappointed as One Kenya Alliance footsoldiers when we see some of our principals having weak body language politically. Recently you heard Senator Moi stating that we are working with Raila Odinga,” Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala said.
Kalonzo had earlier maintained that he would never back the former prime minister, saying: “For me, as of now, it is unthinkable that I, Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, would support Raila Odinga for the third time… I would be the most stupid fellow on earth to go and support — for the third time — a presidential candidate without a measure of reciprocity.”
But he has remained under pressure from leaders from his backyard including governors Ngilu (Kitui), Alfred Mutua (Machakos) and Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni) to support Raila, on grounds that the Wiper leader does not have the political stamina to win the presidency.
Attending the Wiper NDC yesterday, Jubilee Party secretary general Raphael Tuju, who said he had been sent to represent President Kenyatta, also said the five must unite and support one of them.
Tuju said if that succeeds, the election will be as good as done, and challenged Kalonzo who he described as a consummate diplomat, to ensure that he, Raila, Musalia, Wetang’ula and Moi approach the election as a team.
Yesterday, Ruaraka MP T J Kajwang, a key ally of Raila who addressed the Wiper NDC on behalf of ODM elected leaders sustained the push for the ODM leader, Kalonzo, Musalia, Wetang’ula and Moi to settle on one of them to face the DP.
“The enemy is mutual, the vice is one, we are fighting corruption, and we are fighting exclusivity. And Kalonzo you are endowed with diplomatic expertise. Use your skills the way you know best to take us to the government. And there is no time because the answer to that lies here and it is with you,” Kajwang said.