Kenya's Most Authoritative Political Newspaper

Citizen Weekly

Monday, 16 February 2015

RAILA GROOMS KALONZO TO FACE UHURU 2017

Raila Odinga is working on an elaborate formula that could ultimately give him a frontal political muscle to push for Kalonzo Musyoka as Cord presidential torchbearer in 2017 general elections.
According to sources within the opposition, Raila is likely not to run for the top seat just like he did in 2002. But in case he decides to give it another stab, it will only happen if Deputy President William Ruto is found guilty by the International Criminal Court.
In the event of the ICC crucifying Ruto, the argument is that Jubilee will break up more so, with Uhuru Kenyatta now off the hook. The disintegration of Jubilee, the opposition is sure, would work to Raila’s advantage. Raila willingness to be a defence witness for the DP is part of the scheme to endear himself to Ruto’s rich political bloc.
Those well versed with Raila’s style of operation say the former PM has worked on a plan B that will stun the ruling Jubilee to its nerve centre. This involves dropping his presidential ambitions if need be. According to those in the know, Raila feels that Jubilee has exposed its soft belly in the shape its subjugation of press and the runaway insecurity amongst other grievances such as the high cost of living. To add on, the Muslim community is feeling victimised. All this, Raila reportedly says, is fodder handed to opposition by Jubilee on a silver platter.
That Raila is grooming Kalonzo is no secret. When Raila lost his son Fidel Castro Odinga, the first person outside the larger Odinga family he informed was Kalonzo who was his running mate 2013. During the Homa Bay by-election and that of Mathare North which Cord bagged, Raila made sure Kalonzo played a central role. During his return from America rally at Uhuru Park last year, Raila had Kalonzo’s presence be well felt in what many saw as Raila’s way of officially introducing Kalonzo to his supporters.
In fact, analysts say that Raila’s declaration that he is in 2017 presidential race is aimed at uniting his supporters ahead of the polls. This on the calculation that should he announce he has shelved his State House ambitions, his bloc is bound to lose hope, leading to the ruling wing benefiting from the resultant lethargy amongst his followers.
Raila is said to be concerned that if Kalonzo is not well handled, the possibility of Kamba vote going to Uhuru in 2017 cannot be ruled out. The talk is that he had a 2013 pact with Kalonzo to be a one-term president and then back Kalonzo come the next elections. In Raila’s plan B, Senator Moses Wetang’ula will be Kalonzo’s running mate with Adan Keynan, the leader of the majority in parliament to counter the Aden Duale in North Eastern politics. Coast is to benefit for the slot of majority leader in senate. Jubilee’s decision to isolate the pro-opposition regions in plum government appointments and the profiling of Muslims has badly tainted the image not forgetting rampant corruption.
The Luo are to get the national speaker position with the Kisii region earmarked for senate speaker. Cabinet secretary slots are to be spread across the country to avoid outcry of regions being left out.
To counter the tyranny of numbers so-called, Cord has started working on tribal numbers going by the last general elections voter registration in a bid to register their regions in huge numbers. What Raila and his co-principals are failing to know and work on is that voter registration is on and registration in Jubilee zones is on day and night. It is even claimed that underage people are being registered in certain regions.
Estimated registered voters by main ethnic groups had Luhyas at 1.8million, Luos, 1.6million, Kambas 1.5million and other ethnic communities had 2million giving them a strong combined vote block of 6.9million.
Jubilee on the other hand had Gema votes which were estimated at 4.6million and Kalenjins at 1.7million giving them a total of 6.3million votes. In terms of percentage to total voter registration, Gema registered 32pc of registered voters, Luhya 12pc, Kalenjin 11pc, Luo 11pc, Kamba 10pc and others 20pc.
During the last general elections, areas perceived to be strongholds of Jubilee had registered significantly more voters than those perceived to be Cord strongholds. Another factor that gave Jubilee victory was the voter turnout, which was higher in the latter’s strongholds than in the Cord strongholds.
With the 2017 general elections only two years away, the question is: has Cord learnt a lesson and can the tyranny of numbers be reversed in its favour?
Analysts say Cord still has a chance by ensuring that most of its 9.4 million potential voters in its strongholds and mixed support areas are registered before the 2017.
The voting population is expected to grow with those who were 15 years old or above in 2013, becoming eligible to register as voters. It is estimated that about 22 million Kenyans will be eligible to register and vote in 2017, out of which about 12 million will be from Cord strongholds and 10 million from Jubilee bastion.
The Jubilee coalition draws the majority of its support from the Kikuyu, Kalenjin, Meru, Embu, Tharaka and Mbeere while Cord draws the majority of its support from the Luhya, Luo Kamba, Kisii, MijiKenda, Teso and Taita.
Ever since the 1992 presidential elections, Kenyans have always voted on ethnic group lines with the exception of the 2002 elections when the top two candidates were from the same ethnic group  where Mwai Kibaki of Narc defeated Uhuru Kenyatta of Kanu with 62pc of the national vote.
To counter, Jubilee, Raila has now resorted to bringing on board youthful and vibrant politicians to take on Jubilee in 2017. Those whom Raila are now relying on are Ababu Namwamba, Keynan, Hassan Joho and John Mbandi.
Raila, insiders say, wants to honour a power agreement deal signed just a few months towards 2013 general elections by Cord principals that has leaked putting him in an awkward situation as reneging will portray him as untrustworthy a charge those who have parted ways with him have harped on. To dupe Jubilee, Cord principals have agreed to for the time being all give the impression that they will run for president in 2017 all the while as they make Jubilee their common enemy. The plan however, it is said, is importantly to confine their vote blocks locked behind the principals in the belief that one of their own is going to become president only for them to agree on one at the eleventh hour giving their voters no time to choose another path to follow.
The pact signed in the presence of their trusted allies has ignited debate ahead of 2017 polls. Information available to Weekly Citizen indicates that present key political players in the three parties drafted an agreement that appeared to soothe Kalonzo  who was reluctant to join Raila after UDF leader Musalia Mudavadi ditched him at the hour of need.
 The soft offers by Raila’s team convinced Kalonzo, then vice-president to join the coalition but with condition that the agreement be made in writing and kept in custody of their lawyers. With this, Kalonzo was trying to seal loopholes of either party dishonouring the agreement as witnessed during 2002. Narc’s Memorandum of Understanding, where former president Mwai Kibaki shortchanged Liberal Democratic Party in which Kalonzo and Raila belonged. The disagreements would later split the coalition. Raila and Kalonzo would later be part of a team that was fired in 2005 for campaigning against the draft constitution supported by Kibaki and his ministers. During campaigns, ODM-K was born and later transformed from a movement to a party.
Raila and Kalonzo later split after both of them expressed interest to go for the biggest seat in the county. While Kalonzo remained with ODM-K whose bonafide chairman was now Makueni MP Daniel Maanzo, Raila found solace from lawyer Mugambi Imanyara who handed ODM to him. Raila emerged second in the disputed 2007 general election while Kalonzo emerged distant third only galvanising Kamba votes to his side.
Kalonzo was soon named vice president by Kibaki as ODM led mass protests which led to the death of over 1,300 citizens and mass destruction of property.
With all this happening,  Kalonzo’s acceptance of Kibaki’s offer was viewed as a betrayal by Raila. Raila was however himself to join Kibaki as prime minister in the second coalition government and supremacy battles between him and Kalonzo played out in parliament and official functions on who was top in the rank. Kalonzo would later towards the 2013 poll form the G7 alliance with the hope that Uhuru Kenyatta then finance minister would support him together with outgoing president Kibaki to succeed Kibaki.
In G7 horsetrading where Uhuru had brought on board Ruto, Kalonzo was offered the post of majority leader.
Kalonzo bolted away to Raila where he was designated running mate in the coaltion they christened Cord.
After the coalition was upstaged by Jubilee, there is talk within the Cord fraternity that Raila should now support Kalonzo for the seat.
 Supporters of the former prime minister have also expressed their voice urging Raila to retire considering the age factor and now that he has lost three elections. They now want him to support Kalonzo. Aware of the plot to front Kalonzo, Jubilee has embarked on a mission of destabilising the former VP in his backyard by sponsoring rebellion.
Sources intimate that those earmarked and are now in bed with the system include publicity-hungry Machakos governor Alfred Mutua. The governor has found himself singing the government tune in fear that he may be prosecuted after the Auditor General raised queries of embezzlement and blatant disregard of government procedures in awarding tenders. Also targeted in the fight to tame Kalonzo by Jubilee are MPs Victor Munyaka, Benson Mbai Francis Mwangangi, Vincent Musyoka  and Patrick Makau .
The Jubilee allied leaders snubbed a strategy meeting convened by Kalonzo at his Yatta farm where those present urged him to run for the top seat and he agreed. Present in Yatta included his core supporters, MPs, senators and MCAs drawn from the three Ukambani counties. They included Kitui senator David Musila, Kivutha Kibwana and Julius Malombe and Wiper MPs from Ukambani.
Kalonzo made it clear that the agreement was privileged information but cited that the leaders wish was the way to go. After the Yatta meeting, his Ukambani loyalists expressed unhappiness with Kalonzo saying that he was too lenient on rebels in he party led by Mutua. Mutua who had confirmed he would attend kept off instead sending a county employee Mwengi Mutuse to represent him. When the loyalists tried to eject Mwengi, Kalonzo interjected fiercely and told them to leave the man alone. It later emerged that Mutua through Mwengi had funded the meeting.
A day later, Kalonzo called another meeting at Ole Sereni Hotel in Nairobi South C where he tried to pacify his loyalists by promising to crack the whip on rebels. This came to pass last week when Kalonzo suspended five nominated members of the county assembly of Machakos.
The move saw Machakos Town MP Victor Munyaka of CCU an affiliate of Cord hold a rally in Machakos town where Kalonzo was castigated by area women leaders. During the rally held at Mulu Gardens, Munyaka accused Kalonzo of planning to impeach Mutua. The suspension of the five women reps, Munyaka said, was aimed at reducing Mutua supporters in the assembly and intimidating other reps to dance to Kalonzo’s tune when the impeachment debate hits the floor.
Kalonzo, Munyaka claimed, wants to embroil Machakos county in endless infighting like he has allegedly done in Makueni so that time catches up with Mutua and he has no development to show at the end of his term. This, Munyaka said, is because Kalonzo allegedly fears anyone doing development in Ukambani as it would open Kambas’ eyes to the fact that Kalonzo has been taking them for a ride in the three solid decades he has been in government.