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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 10 May 2015

2017: BIG NAMES SEARCH FOR WINNING FORMULA


The political road to 2017 elections has placed a number of potential presidential candidates in a tight corner as their supporters engage in early preparations for the gigantic battle and race.
 Uhuru Kenyatta is under pressure and is said to be working on a winning formula that is likely to see him drop William Ruto who is currently facing  political rebellion from his Rift Valley backyard amid corruption charges.
Cord leader Raila Odinga who last week launched a personal website that he says will be his centre of interaction with Kenyans is equally under pressure from his supporters to take the final stab at the presidency while his co-principal in the Cord and Kalonzo Musyoka has already been endorsed as the party’s 2017 flagbearer. He launched his website before Raila’s.
Musalia Mudavadi is currently working on rebranding his UDF party to ANC in readiness for 2017 while James Ole Kiyiapi has also declared that he will be in the race in 2017 so is Martha Karua.
Majority of Raila’s supporters are not keen on his 2017 candidature and want him to support Kalonzo while others believe the combination of Raila, Kalonzo and Mudavadi will easily make Uhuru a one term president.
Those pushing for the Raila, Kalonzo, Mudavadi pact say Raila should swallow his political pride and support Mudavadi as the compromise presidential candidate with Kalonzo as running mate or vice versa. Kalonzo and Mudavadi are former vice-presidents and being a deputy to the other cannot be seen as a demotion.
Also proposed in the team are Ford-Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula, Mombasa governor Hassan Joho representing Coast and former House Speaker Farah Maalim representing North Eastern Kenya. Those who are pushing for the Raila-Kalonzo-Mudavadi pact say the coalition will bag maximum votes from Nyanza, Western, Eastern, Nairobi, Coast and North Eastern regions.
After getting endorsement from his party, Kalonzo and his sidekicks Johnson Muthama, David Musila and Francis Nyenze now expect the Cord coalition partners to support his presidential bid in 2017.
According to Kalonzo, he has shelved his presidential ambitions twice in favour of Mwai Kibaki in 2002 and Raila in 2013 and now hopes that it is time Raila reciprocates in 2017. 
But even as Kalonzo reaches out to Raila and Wetang’ula to back him in 2017, Raila backers led by Siaya senator James Orengo feel that Raila has one bullet left in his gun to fire in 2017 before paving way for Kalonzo in 2022. ODM secretary general Ababu Namwamba and ODM chairman John Mbandi have been saying 2017 is Raila’s last chance and to them supporting Kalonzo is not in their arithmetic.
A section of Cord now wants Raila, Kalonzo and Wetang’ula to go for primaries to have the winner fly the coalition’s flag with number two as running mate. This is however likely to split the coalition and this would be to the advantage of Jubilee.
Sources close to Kalonzo claim that together with Raila and Wetang’ula, the trio signed a memorandum of understanding in the run-up to the last election, a document whose content reportedly says Raila would be a one-term president and then support Kalonzo in 2017. It is said, in the MoU, in the event Raila was not elected, which was the case, he would be deemed to have served and therefore bound to support Kalonzo in 2017.
Reports are rife that Raila could also be working on a formula that could ultimately give him a frontal political muscle to push for Kalonzo as Cord presidential torchbearer in 2017 general elections.
Raila and Kalonzo now feel that Jubilee has failed more so in the runaway insecurity amongst other grievances such as the high cost of living and corruption. To add on, the Muslim community is feeling victimised. All this, Raila and Kalonzo feel, will work for them in 2017.
Analysts now say that should Raila not support Kalonzo in 2017, the possibility of Kamba vote going to Uhuru in 2017 cannot be ruled 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.
That Ruto is under serious political rebellion is no longer a secret. Fear within TNA and amongst Uhuru’s strategists is that if the current happenings in URP are not handled firmly are likely to complicate Uhuru’s second State House bid.
Sources close to some TNA top operatives now say that they are keenly watching the political events as they unfold in URP and by extension Rift Valley. If URP loses ground in the region as political signs are showing, Uhuru has to work on plan B for his second stab at the presidency.
According to well-placed sources, TNA’s worry is that should Ruto fail to contain dissenting and rebellious voices in his party, having him as Uhuru’s running mate in 2017 will be disastrous and could make Uhuru a one-term president.
Ruto allies are also saying that if Uhuru team kicks him out of the coalition in the name of rebellion in Rift Valley, he could counter them by forming a new coalition with other parties.
One such scenario is that of Ruto ganging up with Cord to give Uhuru a sounding defeat in 2017. But the question is whether Cord will allow him to fly the flag or as a running mate to either Kalonzo or Raila.
According to majority of Ruto supporters, they do not believe that TNA will support him after finishing his second term. Should Ruto agree to back Raila in 2017, but where will be Kalonzo? Going by the age factor, Raila will be 77 in 2022 and will only serve one term and then back Ruto. This is a deal Ruto allies say is much better than having Uhuru back him in 2022.
Uhuru’s plan B without Ruto is to bring on board either Kalonzo or Mudavadi. Majority of his handlers are however for a deal with Mudavadi.
Uhuru handlers say he should convince Mudavadi to be his deputy in 2017 and marshal the Luhya vote. This is on the understanding that come 2023, it will be easier to sell Mudavadi among the Mt Kenya vote compared to Ruto. Mudavadi enjoys support across the country as a sober politician.
Those pushing for Mudavadi to be Uhuru running mate argue that if Uhuru dumps Ruto in his favour, the Luhya will be in government in 2017-2022 and then inherit the seat with the backing of Mt Kenya vote bloc.
Already, the Luhya community has been complaining of being sidelined in key government positions and being targeted by the URP wing in Jubilee.
Sources well versed with the scheme aver that Mudavadi wants to be convinced that as Uhuru’s deputy, it will only take five years to be in the high office rather than run for presidency in 2017 then lose to either Jubilee or Cord. He will be forced to wait for another 10 years and the possibility of him being relevant then is slim.