Likely scenarios in ODM-K if Mudavadi was the torch bearer

Talking to people in different camps in ODM-K, it is absolutely evident that every one of the big guns hopes that it will be them who will land the party’s nomination. Realistically, the people with the greatest chance are three; Raila, Kalonzo and Mudavadi. But Ruto and Uhuru still entertain the hope that when all the equations are in, they will still have an outside chance to land the nomination by default. But what will be the fortunes of the rest if Musalia does, indeed, land it?


Whoever gets nominated, Raila will certainly have played the king maker. Raila is a formidable political operator who works very hard towards the goals he sets for himself and currently, there is no doubt that he is the most consummate schemer and organizer across the political divide.

At present, he occupies the enviable position of being the only person among his competitors in ODM who has a countrywide network, meticulously built over the years, a machinery he can call on at the snap of the finger to do his bidding.

All that he has been doing in the last few years points to the inevitability of his making a stab at the presidency this year. In fact, he has stated, quite unambiguously, that the race in December will be between himself and Kibaki.

He put together a campaign team more than a year ago whose mandate has been to organize his campaign not just for the ODM nomination but for the big one. There is virtual consensus, even among those close to him, that it is now or never.

To this end, he has used a lot of personal resources and expended a lot energy which has seen him globetrot to seek international endorsement and open campaign offices abroad. It is unlikely that he is doing what he is doing in order to hand over the fruits of his labour to someone else on a silver platter.

However, there is also an acknowledgement among pundits that Raila is also the only one among the pretenders to the throne who is mature enough to be realistic. If, as it is likely, he reaches the inevitable conclusion that he is barking up the wrong tree, the reasoning goes, he will be big enough to accept that the odds are against him and back someone else.

The person most likely to benefit from such political rationalization would be Musalia Mudavadi for two main reasons.

One, Raila probably figures that he is a man who is malleable enough to do his bidding when he ascends to the throne but most importantly, he is the one person whom the rest of the country would not feel unduly threatened by.


Kalonzo’s confidence that he will be the man beat issues from opinion polls which have been showing him leading the ODM presidential pack in the last one or two years.

There is, however, a pervasive feeling within ODM that the Mwingi North MP is an unknown quantity. Most importantly and damaging, though, is the perception that he cannot be trusted. It is unclear where the notion that Kalonzo is untrustworthy emanates from because it does not appear to be based on anything tangible.

His undoing, however, appears, appears to be informed by the perception, which is evident even when he talks, that he is arrogant and snooty, a man who walks with his nose in the air. He is also considered either too poor to fund a campaign or tight-fisted.

Kalonzo has repeatedly said that whether he is nominated or not, he is in ODM to stay. Nobody, however, appears to believe him. Sources, one from the Mudavadi camp and the other from the Raila camp, separately told The Leader that they do not consider Kalonzo one of them, whatever else he says, and expect he will decamp and go it alone if he is not the party’s nominee.

Kalonzo, like Raila, has also put together a war council to help him campaign for the nomination. He, however, starts off disadvantaged by his lack of a national network, lack of resources and suspicion form his colleagues.


Raila once said that ODM needed Uhuru simply for sentimental reasons, whatever those were. Unless he is the party’s nominee which is most unlikely but not impossible, Uhuru’s goose will be cooked and he is unlikely to even defend his parliamentary seat successfully.

Uhuru occupies the unenviable position of having no tribal bargaining chip in a situation where what one brings to the table will influence one’s fortunes. The only saving grace for the son of the founding president would be the adoption of the power sharing formula which the Bomas draft had recommended, essentially a presidium where slots were allocated regionally.

Even then, he would have to be in parliament to be considered and that alone will be an uphill task for him.


Ruto’s attraction to ODM is the prospect that he could bring a huge chunk of voters from the expansive Rift valley province which would influence the presidential election.

He has never been a serious contender for the ticket but his profile has risen in the last two years because of his penchant to defy traditional power barons among the Kalenjins, personified by former President Daniel Arap Moi. In the event that Mudavadi clinches the ODM ticket, Ruto would be well positioned to be an important player in a post-Kibaki dispensation.

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