Kibaki men go for Raila: Kibaki now dangles carrot infront of Raila

Scared of the man’s popularity, the president’s kitchen cabinet now wants to bring Raila to their side.

Despite oozing confidence last week that President Mwai Kibaki remains the favourite candidate to win this year’s elections, according to the Steadman opinion polls, his strategists are leaving nothing to chance warning of misplaced over-confidence especially if ODM remains united.

A highly confidential intelligence report points out that the only way Presidnet Kibaki can comfortably win back the presidency is to ensure the Orange democratic Movement (ODM-K) breaks up. And how else, the sources point out, than to reach out to ODM presidential luminary, Lang’ata MP Raila Odinga to support Kibaki’s re-election bid, something many see as a Herculean task indeed.

Members of the Kibaki kitchen cabinet are said to have approached Rail and his close allies with several proposals including making him the president’s running mate. Although Kibaki and Raila have never met face to face, their emissaries are said to have held several behind-the-scene meetings to strike a deal. As they say in politics there are no permanent enemies although Odinga still bitterly recalls the broken power sharing deal (MOU) of 2002 which Kibaki breached.

Last week, Raila’s key ally Otieno Kajwang revealed that Raila and his supporters would rather support Kibaki than let ODM pick its presidential candidate through consensus. After the Mombasa rally in which Kalonzo was heckled by ODM supporters perceived to be Raila supporters, the two last week addressed what was known as unity press conference but it remains to be seen whether the unity will hold for long.

ODM-K luminaries last week tried to put a brave face denying that the party is divided. The Steadman Group poll revealed that ODM-K is the party majority of Kenyans support at the moment, and it appears attempts to break it up seems to have hit a dead end after Raila men reportedly told off emissaries sent to woo Raila to support Kibaki.

We have gathered that when Raila supporters hinted that they were ready to leave ODM and contest the presidency on an LDP ticket, Kibaki’s men assumed it was the entry point to have Raila to their side. Sources say that State House has been dangling goodies to Raila including lucrative business opportunities.

Top on their agenda is to ensure a company owned by the Odinga family trading as Spectre International is given first priority to buy Miwani and Muhoroni sugar companies once they are privatized. The two companies are currently under receivership and Spectre International is said to be one of the companies that have pre-qualified. Spectre is also expected to be given lucrative deals and to consolidate the supply of molasses.

Although it is not known whether the Odinga family may agree to strike the deal, State House sources divulged that Kibaki has been convinced that Raila is more valuable than the rest of the ODM-K presidential contenders as they claim that without Raila, ODM will die a natural death. It is against such fears that emissaries have been sent to Raila’s confidantes and some even to Raila’s wife Ida Odinga.

The idea that is being sold to Raila is to move out of ODM and support Kibaki to win the second term through LDP. By supporting Kibaki, he can be appointed his deputy and will therefore be a principal player in Kibaki’s succession for 2012 elections.

Many are however pondering whether this strategy is tenable after the betrayal in 2002 but they say Odinga is unpredictable having patched things with his former tormentor retired President Moi. The Moi regime had allowed the Odingas to acquire the Molasses plant. Raila, a political schemer to boot, is said to be aware of all the possible scenarios in the Kibaki succession political games and has given tough conditions for such a deal.

According to Raila, Kibaki strategists are said to be positioning Education Minister Prof. George Saitoti as heir apparent while another class of thought has it that Kanu national chairman Uhuru Kenyatta will be Kibaki’s choice for the top seat in 2012.

We have gathered that some state house operatives have also been approaching Kanu chairman Uhuru Kenyatta to consider pulling out of ODM to support Kibaki through a coalition ahead of the December poll.

Raila is said to be aware of the Uhuru and Saitoti power games for the 2012 elections and has asked for more time for wider consultations before making any move. Saitoti on the other hand is said to be spending millions of shillings sponsoring parliamentary and civic candidates to consolidate his support for the 2012 elections.

The professor of mathematics is a member of the Kibaki campaign team and a leading financier and contributor to the national campaign kitty. He is said to have pledged to contribute Shs 1bn from himself and friends towards Kibaki’s presidential campaign. Apart form Saitoti, those said to have pledged to contribute towards Kibaki’s campaign kitty include Defense minister Njenga Karume, Internal security minister John Michuki, Nairobi Stock exchange Chairman Jimnah Mbaru, businessmen Lee Karuri, peter Kanyago and Jimmy Wanjigi among others.

Back to the Raila-Kibaki deal, investigations reveal that although remarks by William Ruto that Raila is not electable because he is a Luo did not go down well with his supporters, Raila’s plan B is to go it alone on an LDP ticket. One of the options Raila men are said to have given the Kibaki emissaries is that Odinga can only form an alliance with Kibaki after the elections.

According to outraged Raila strategists, it would be laughable to the extreme to enter into yet another pre-election MOU as it happened during the 2002 general elections. Kibaki on the other hand is working on a strategy that has even kept his ardent supporters in total darkness. His party of choice remains a thorny issue and the current power struggle between DP and Narc-K tells it all. There is even word that he could be headed back to DP a party he formed in 1991.

Another intelligence report has it that Kibaki has been advised that it will be to his advantage if ODM fields more than one candidate in separate parties and the trick here is to force a run-off between the winner and the first runner off.

In case of a run-off, Kibaki who currently enjoys backing off several political parties and their leaders such as Simeon Nyachae of Ford-People and Musikari Kombo of Ford-K and also including Shirikisho party which last month took Coast Province by storm, he can be assured of winning comfortably. According to latest opinion polls, no single candidate can garner the mandatory 25 percent of total votes cast in five provinces.

But even as attempts by Kibaki men to woo Raila enters crucial stages, ODM-K luminaries vowed to stick together with Odinga describing the ongoing ODM nomination race as unique and a healthy experience. Many however point out that time could be running out for Kibaki to show his ace card (read party of choice) but others say this could also turn out to be both his secret and Achilles heel.

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