It's make or break for Raila

Although ODM-K leading light Raila Odinga is a darling to many Kenyans having fought for democracy in the past four decades, political analysts say this may be his last and best chance for ever winning the presidency. The same position eluded his father, the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga throughout his life after falling out of Kenyatta's cabinet in 1966 until his death on January 20 1994.

Interestingly as a contrast the senior aging Odinga had the best chance of winning the presidency at the dawn of multi-partyism in 1992 only for Moi to wrong-foot and divide the opposition romping home twice 1992-1997.

With the behind-the-scene meetings by ODM_K presidential candidates to reach at a consensus heading towards a dead end, Raila's political future appears to hang in balance due to pressure from his political bedrock of Luo Nyanza. The political jinx that haunted his father may return to confine his fortunes to oblivion, many watchers are pointing out.

Raila's big headache, according to sources close to his campaign team is that should he fail to win the ODM-K ticket, his clout in Luo Nyanza may die a natural death and this may bring his political ambitions to an abrupt end.

On the other hand, should the ODM-K presidential candidates pick on one of them rather than Raila, it will be an uphill task for him to convince Luo Nyanza voters to vote for the ODM-K presidential candidate and this may be to the advantage of Narc-K and that a third force might emerge in Luo Nyanza leaving Raila politically irrelevant.

The mood on the ground in Luo Nyanza is so tense with voters vowing to support a candidate of their choice should Raila withdraw from the race to declare somebody "Tosha".

To show how serious Raila is taking such threats, last week he was conspicuously missing during his late father's 13th anniversary and toured coast province where he held several rallies and strategy meetings.

Apart from bickering and looming rebellion in Luo Nyanza, Raila's bid for the top seat however has two major hurdles that he must be prepared to successfully jump over. One is the winning formula for the ODM-K ticket and second, the real challenge he will face will however be beating the incumbent, President Mwai Kibaki of Narc-K.

Although the race for the ODM-K ticket has narrowed down to two horse race between Raila and Kalonzo Musyoka, ODM sources say, Kalonzo is better placed to beat Kibaki at the polls than Raila.

Those rooting for Kalonzo say, Narc-Kenya are widely expected to fan anti-Luo tribal sentiments promoted by the late Jomo Kenyatta administration in the 60s and 70s a claim that Raila team have downplayed.

We have reliably established that the Raila group are reaching out for a candidate who will serve Agwambo's political interests well and give him a higher chance of beating Kibaki. The man is Kanu national chairman Uhuru Kenyatta.

According to Raila's think tank although this will have minimal influence over the Kikuyu vote as a vice-presidential running mate of Raila, he remains Odinga's best option because the number of youth voters across tribal lines in the country will be quick to identify with Uhuru is huge.

Investigations reveal that all is not well at ODM-K after word leaked out that Narc-K are hoping that Raila will be the presidential nominee to face Kibaki as they (Narc-K) have worked out a very dirty campaign propaganda to discredit him. According to Narc-K sources it is believed that a straight race between Raila and Kibaki would be a sure ticket back to state house for Kibaki.

Other sources divulged that Raila, Ruto and Balala are seriously consulting to opt for a compromise candidate in order to keep ODM-K intact. Considering several factors, we have information should they agree on a consensus, Uhuru Kenyatta is in a perfect position to be that compromise candidate. But watchers wonder if Uhuru is capable of beating Kibaki after having lost heavily in 2002 dubbed as a Moi project, a tag that has never left him.

Even through a cross-section of ODM-K supporters are for consensus, Raila and Kalonzo supporters are said to be playing with dangerous cards below the table. Last week after the successful Machakos rally, Kalonzo jetted out of the country to the United States for the second time in three months to raise funds fro his presidential campaigns as if already sure of being nominated.

Raila is also expected to jet out any time this week where he will visit Minnesota, North Carolina and Florida in the United States. He will then tour a few cities in the United Kingdom before returning to Kenya for the third phase of his presidential campaign. Other reports say all is not well in Raila's US campaign team as some of the committees have been infiltrated by fraudsters and conmen.

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