Third force: New alliances now shape up

The bitter race now unfolding on who should occupy the country’s highest seat come this year’s presidential elections likely to be hotly-contested has taken a new dimension both within the ruling coalition and ODM-Kenya.

This heat picked up momentum even as president Kibaki celebrated his last Madaraka day fete (at least until he is re-elected if he wins) with the usual pageantry and pomp of choirs and plane fly pasts last week.

As Kibaki marked his last Madaraka Day in office, it was not lost on many watchers that the issue of whether he will again recapture the seat that has afforded him so much power and pomp must have weighed heavily on the man who was elected on a whirlwind euphoria four and half years ago. At one time a pensive Kibaki watched the Nyayo stadium proceedings with something almost next to nostalgia that he could soon be missing all the pomp designed largely for the eyes of one man-the head of state.

Not to be left behind in the unfolding power jostling are the so called political parties with control of voters in certain regions. It has emerged, there is now widespread jostling among those vying for the presidency with those interested not taking anything for granted.

Informed sources say ever since the recent by-election in Magarini constituency that also saw a number of civic seats being won by smaller new parties, political strategies are being redefined.

It has also emerged, the current political uncertainty in ODM-K and President Mwai Kibaki’s perceived political party Narc-Kenya has further complicated matters.

Basing on the above accounts, political players are working on what analysts term as plan B in case of any eventuality.

In ODM-K, confirmed reports have it, in an effort to revive the Western alliance, Luo and Luhya MPs have been talking of a scheme to have Raila Odinga back Musalia Mudavadi in ODM-K presidential race.

Current Luo Mps are said to be aware, selling Raila as presidential candidate to face Kibaki even if he wins ODM ticket could turn out to be an uphill task. To them, Kibaki can pull a surprise and humiliate Raila in a presidential contest.

With this in mind and with a major push to have the presidency taken to Western region this time round, they see Mudavadi as the compromise candidate.

According to our source, Raila for a long time had a soft spot on Mudavadi compared to Kalonzo Musyoka. Raila handlers openly say it is easy for the Langata MP to work with Mudavadi than Musyoka.

We could not establish whether it is true in case things do not work in ODM-K in their favour Raila and Mudavadi may decamp to Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to further political ambitions of wrestling power from Kibaki.

It is imperative to note, LDP registration papers and party structures is in favour of Raila who is always looking ahead of his bitter foes.

Luo MPs have been sending feelers to Raila with an effort to have him secretly back Mudavadi when delegates vote and accept defeat as a democrat.

“Imagine Raila accepting defeat and openly agreeing to work with Mudavadi as ODM presidential candidate,” our sources questioned.

Also at issue is the recently constituted National Election Board chaired by retired Justice Otieno Kwach and the Elders Consultative Forum that was supposed to work towards having a consensus president candidate. The elders group is chaired by Westlands tough talking MP Fred Gumo. Odinga critics say both men will at the end of the day work in favour of Raila and Gumo has been heard on several occasions talking favourably of ‘Agwambo’.

Raila is said to be weighing his options on the planned scheme, he does not want to be seen openly supporting Mudavadi hence his continued campaign across the country for the party presidential ticket. He has been in North-Rift Valley, Coast, and Western and is set to return to Rift Valley again.

What is emerging in ODM-K is that the party will elect the presidential candidate through the delegates system as opposed to consensus.

According to statistics at the Orange party headquarters, Nairobi province which has eight constituencies will deliver 16,000 delegates. The city being the home ground of Raila will definitely see him enjoy an upper hand. Luo Mps in the city are three. Apart from Raila, we have William Omondi (Kasarani) and Reuben Ndolo (Makadara).

With the three add Westlands MP Fred Gumo and Raila gets a formidable following.

Of the Nairobi’s 16,000 delegates, Raila if he plays cards well can win up to 10,000 with other candidates sharing the remaining.

The breakdown is as follows:- Coast province 42,000 delegates, Eastern province 72,000 delegates, Western Province 48,000 delegates with Nayanza province 64,000 delegates with Rift Valley which ahs 49 constituencies producing a whopping 98,000 delegates.

Whereas it is true that Raila has done his groundwork well and may be ahead of others when it comes to delegates voting, his major undoing is if he faces Kibaki in the presidential ballot box.

However a nightmare for Raila could emerge if a deal struck between Musyoka and Uhuru materializes. It is said Uhuru may at long last not participate in ODM presidential race but instead back Musyoka for the seat. With this, it means Kalonzo will enjoy support in Central which has 58,000 delegates, parts of Rift Valley dominated by the Kikuyus and of course Nairobi.

Uhuru is the only ODM presidential candidate who has not presented his nomination papers. The party will remain in ODM-K as corporate and may not pull out as it is expected during the National Delegates Conference on 11th June.

Uhuru Kenyatta game plan is baffling. It is said he will run for the presidency on a Kanu ticket this year and form a coalition with any party. Reason, if Kalonzo emerges ODM-K presidential candidate.

Uhuru schemers believe, Kanu will garner at least 15 seats in Rift valley and nationwide at most 40 hence be able to form a coalition with any other party. Whereas Raila and Mudavadi are pushing for western alliance, Uhuru and Kalonzo are for Mt.Kenya alliance in ODM-K.

To them, leadership should settle in Mt. Kenya region.

We have information, former retired president Daniel arap Moi is caught right in the middle of the schemes. Moi is slowly distancing himself from Kibaki’s second re-election bid, we have established, thanks to the efforts being made by his favourite son Gideon Moi, the Baringo central MP.

It is emerging, the Moi family wants to have influence on who should occupy State House, something that eluded them in 2002 when Kibaki dashed their well planned project by defeating Moi’s preferred successor Uhuru Kenyatta.

The Moi political schemes are already working is well explained when William Ruto while on tour in Marakwet West constituency accompanied by eight MPs urged the community to stop criticizing retired president.

It shocked many since Ruto is known to be the commander-in-chief of anti-Moi political army in Rift Valley.

“Moi is like our father and we should respect him,. We should follow our traditions that prohibit us from arguing and throwing words at our elders,” Ruto said.

And while in Keiyo South, the home ground of Nicholas Biwott, the MPs led by Marakwet West MP David Sudi said they had matured politically and moved out of their father’s house. Ruto went further to say, ‘you should not think that I am bitter with Moi. I am not and you shouldn’t demonize him.”

Those on the campaign trail with Ruto were David Koros (Eldoret South), Musa Sirma (Eldama Ravine), Dr Sammy Rutto (Kipkelion) and Moses Cheboi (Kuresoi).

Others were William Boit (Baringo North), Joseph Langat (Eldoret East) and Charles Keter (Belgut).

It has come to surface, the anti-Moi MPs in Rift valley are making a technical retreat after discovering the former president was grooming and bankrolling certain individuals to take them head-on in the coming elections.

Back to Uhuru-Moi deal, sources say the former head of state is behind the planned Kanu NDC. Moi and Kenyatta families are set to facilitate the logistics.

At the meeting, Uhuru will come out and officially reveal he will not deliver his ODM-K presidential nomination papers.

This will be the beginning of ODM-K troubles and Moi will capitalize on it to bring on board political players, unite them and get one to face Kibaki in what many will refer to it as the Third Force.

That Moi-Kibaki political relationship is slowly hitting the rocks is well explained when Moi refused to accompany Kibaki during his tour in Kipsigisland. State house is said to have invited Moi but were surprised when he pointedly failed to show up, but went ahead to address his own gatherings.

Gideon Moi is said to have told his father not to honour the invitation. That Kibaki desperately wants Moi on his side is no secret. The president last week sent a message of condolence to the former president following the death of his sister Rebecca Sote Chelimo. The late was the mother to Gideon Toroitich who was Managing Director Agricultural Development Co-operation (ADC) during Moi’s days in power. He also owns the prestigious Giddo Plaza in Nakuru town.

Back to 2007 presidency, Moi is said to be behind deals to have Uhuru and Biwott factions unite.

The rival of Uhuru project is also being debated in high circles. The main question is whether Uhuru can beat Kibaki in the presidential elections. Remember both of them are form the Kikuyu community.

It may be impossible and that is why many argue Moi may be laying ground for Uhuru 2012 presidential bid or in 2017.

We have established, Gideon Moi is comfortable with Musalia Mudavadi facing Kibaki. The same is said of the former president.

If Mudavadi is the ODM-K presidential candidate, then Moia and close associates have sworn to throw their weight and financial support behind him.

Keen political observers will have noticed, former cabinet minister Cyrus Jirongo, the chairman of KADDU and a principal player in Luhya politics has always been quoted saying he will support Mudavadi if nominated on ODM-K ticket.

Jirongo just like Moi family is keenly following events in ODM-K.

Raila factor in ODM-K is Moi’s family big headache hence the need to remotely associate with the party. The Moi and Kenyatta family have never forgiven Raila for being the stumbling block to Uhuru presidential bid in 2002.

Raila in 2002 supported Kibaki after changing his mind about supporting Roads Minister Simeon Nyachae, something that is now being revived again. Raila’s main aim was to see Moi and Kanu out of power and to him Nyachae was a weak candidate. If Nyachae was the candidate, Uhuru could have won. The game the way Raila has explained was to have a Kikuyu face a Kikuyu to consolidate the Central vote which remains formidable. The Mt. Kenya vote could have gone to Uhuru ahd Kibaki not been the presidential candidate in 2002.

Nyachae since then is said to have never forgiven Rail and the two are now fighting over control of the Abagusii votes. Raila recently met 700 elders drawn from all 10 Kisii constituencies who endorsed him.

That political re-alignments are on cannot be disputed. Raila postponed his campaign to North Rift in what insiders see as aimed at re-cementing his political marriage with William Ruto.

The Ruto camp is said to be jittery with the new-found political deal between Raila and former powerful head of civil service Dr Sally Kosgey. If Raila forms the government, Dr Kosgey is slotted for big things.

With the crisis in ODM-K and NArc-K, Moi can easily sneak his political orpans back to power.

All he needs to do is to wait for the fall-out in the two parties and marshal them together leaving behind the overambitiuous ones who can wreck trouble in the new outfit.

Whereas Kanu due to its tainted image may not be the best outfit to recapture power so soon after losing it five years ago, it could join the new coalition boat which will bring together parties associated with those who have a soft spot on the retired president.

Parties being controlled by those sympathetic to Moi are many and with a formidable candidate can form the Third Force that has never taken off. Aurelio Rebelo’s GAP outfit will play a major role in such a setup. Najib Balala and Ali Taib will find themselves forces in Coast Province politics in such circumstances.

Perhaps aware of this, Kibaki has started consolidating his ruling Narc party. The recent appointment to those associated with Ford-K speaks volumes. The president is out to have Musikari Kombo led party in his political bag and that of Nyachae, Ford-P.

It is no wonder the president came out openly in defence of Nyachae’s ministry over the Mombasa saga where government spokesman Alfred Mutua ordered for arrest of contractors.

Nyachae went ahead and bought advertisement space in local dailies blaming the head of civil service Francis Muthaura for not taking action despite complaints.

To win Nyachae’s support, Kibaki came out in the open and to defend the roads ministry saying contractors in Kenya were doing a good job.

For now, Kibaki is said to be having second thoughts in Kombo and Nyachae ahead of the presidential elections as Narc-K crisis persists. Not to offend Nyachae, Kibaki was against Narc-K holding elections in Ford-P strongholds, Kisii. The fear is Nyachae might decide to resign from Kibaki government which will send wrong signals ahead of the crucial elections.

In the coming months, the country’s political terrain will witness re-alignments and counter-alignments as political coalitions emerge since it appears no single party can win this year’s elections.

With the crisis in Narc-K, Kibaki’s net home could well be his DP that will help him strike alliances with other parties. But the president so far continues to keep both friend and foe guessing on his eventual political home even as time ticks away to the next election.

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