Inside Raila’s 2017 surprise line-up

Inside Raila’s 2017 surprise line-up

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Whoever described Raila Odinga as an enigma in Kenya politics must have known what he was talking about. Or how else would you explain Raila’s latest political change-step timed to throw Jubilee out of gait, being as it is that it comes just when Jubilee has exposed its gameplan with the impending merger? So fleet is Raila’s footwork that, hard to believe, some Jubilee factotums are even contemplating postponing their red letter day fearing that Raila will be reading them like an open book once they cross the Rubicon at Kasarani.

Those conversant with the power games say the delay by a team appointed by Cord to name the presidential candidate is on account of reaching out to various players of the country’s political terrain. This, as Jubilee coalition panics in fear it may have goofed in moving fast to liquefy parties and have Uhuru Kenyatta the presidential candidate with William Ruto as his running mate.

The Uhuru-Ruto ticket has enabled Raila Odinga and his advisers to work on a formula that they believe will, everything remaining constant, send Uhuru packing. The political talk being that unlike in 2013 when Uhuru-Ruto marriage was least expected in various quarters, this time round, rivals are prepared. In 2013, Uhuru-Ruto ticket  was underestimated and nothing much was expected but for now being in power, one  has to take all measures, said our source, an MP from Eastern province who added that the priority was to clean the electoral playing ground.

Observers would have noticed when Raila Odinga and his co-principals Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula braced teargas in Nairobi as they agitated for removal of IEBC, to many, it might have seemed like a political gimmick to give the opposition relevance. However, the motivating factor behind the scenes was that the Issack Hassan-led Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission had already taken sides and was leaning towards Jubilee.

Fear was, if allowed to officiate the next polls even if Raila Odinga supported another person for president, he would be robbed of victory. Keen observers will have noticed immediately Jubilee agreed on electoral reforms and the removal of Hassan team, talk of broad based opposition unity bringing on board leaders outside  Cord has become louder. A super alliance is increasingly looking likely.

Your favourite, Weekly Citizen, was the first to reveal secret talks between Raila and Musalia Mudavadi were taking place. And true to our report, Raila and Mudavadi have come out in open to state they are hammering out something. An MP close to the political underdeals further revealed, as for now the presidential ticket seems to favour Mudavadi. He gave various reasons.

First, Mudavadi is neutral by all descriptions. Why say neutral? All asked. The answer was, if any of the three Cord principals are given the ticket and having all declared going for presidency, Cord is likely to break. Various camps will feel shortchanged and defect. The negative results of Cord breaking ahead of 2017 will give Jubilee a political lifeline. In short, defuse political temperatures among warring factions by making them not feel betrayed.

With Wiper, a section has been calling for Raila Odinga to honour the 2012 MoU with Kalonzo. It is said Raila, who was serve for one term and back Kalonzo. However, ODM have dismissed such arrangement arguing, it could only happen if Raila Odinga had won. Such are the fears within Cord if one of them is nominated.

Second reason. In choosing Mudavadi, the schemers are said to be considering who occupied the position of vice president of Kenya first. The script, more or less is like that which saw Mwai Kibaki named Narc presidential candidate in 2002. Kibaki by then faced competition from monied competitors including George Saitoti and Simon Nyachae. All of them hoped to face Kanu presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta fronted by then president Daniel Moi.

Why Kibaki was picked. It has emerged, the key players in the power deal decided on Kibaki having occupied the position of vice president first. Saitoti had served as VP after Kibaki. Mudavadi  happens to have been in the office ahead of Kalonzo. The reason is that Mudavadi is said can attract votes from Mount Kenya, the Rift Valley and thus has what political analysts say is the Face-of-Kenya credentials. To those behind Mudavadi, he abhors violence and shuns controversy, is trustworthy and has no integrity issues. In fact, he is Kibaki’s political look-alike. Above all Mudavadi is not ‘threatening’.

Fourth reason. It is whispered, if Mudavadi gets the nod, Luhya community with a substantial almost 4 million bloc vote scattered across in Nairobi, Rift Valley, Coast and Western will decide to put them in one basket. Why? Analysts say, in 2007, the community voted for Raila and if the candidate is their own with the backing of others, the turnout is set to be overwhelming.

Fifth reason. Mudavadi is said to enjoy backing of Western capitals more so now Jubilee has entered into a working relationship with China Communist Party. Pressurised further to reveal other power deals and personalised involvement, our source went on but cautioned us not to reveal his name, because of the fluid nature of the tasks. Whereas Kalonzo is set to be the deputy president, in case he does not agree, then Bomet governor Isaac Ruto is on the subs bench.

Guv Ruto factor will counter the DP in Rift Valley politics.  “We are targeting the populous Kipsigis bloc vote in the arrangement. Remember, rebellion has been growing in South Rift and with Ruto the governor on our side, we can break even, said the source. Analysts say, this will not be the first time Raila Odinga will be fronting a brother against a brother in a political duel. In 2002, he had Kibaki face Uhuru and achieved his goal. Here the gameplan will see Kipsigis join nationwide alliance and eventually sway other Kalenjin subtribes.  “If Ruto is to be Uhuru’s DP, and Guv Ruto Mudavadi’s DP, the situation is a win-win one for Kalenjins on both sides.

Leader of majority in parliament currently held by Garissa Town MP Aden Duale is to be occupied by Farah Maalim. Farah is set to oppose Duale in Garissa Town. However, fearing defeat, Duale is planning to relocate to Kamukunji currently held by Yusuf Hassan. Speaker of National Assembly Justin Muturi from Embu is the holder. To counter and win the Meru vote which Raila has a soft spot for, Gitobu Imanyara is the man to watch. ODM won a seat in 2013 in the region. During Kibaki’s first term as president, when Imanyara went to State House  to lobby for the seat of speaker, he was slapped by then First Lady late Lucy Kibaki who was unhappy Imanyara was representing Nation in court on a case against Lucy after Lucy stormed the media house.

For Nairobi governor seat, Raila has Evans Kidero as his favoured candidate. His reasoning being, since he is not running for presidency, the Luo community needs to have a powerful position as a bargain. Nairobi county is the richest in the country. However, a section of the schemers want to bring on board 2013 presidential candidate Peter Kenneth to run in Nairobi on the new alliance. They argue, a section of Mount Kenya vote will back Kenneth and then win Luhyas, Luos and Kambas.

“Kenneth is being lured with Nairobi governorship position in the new arrangement, to drop his presidential ambitions next year. Whether he will agree or not is ´I don’t know’,” said our source. Moses Wetang’ula being a co-principal will still be leader of majority in senate. However, a section wants him to run for Bungoma governorship slot against Kenneth Lusaka. Already his Kakamega counterpart Bonnie Khalwale is gearing to face Wycliffe Oparanya.

Coast region is being lured with the position of speaker of the senate and majority whip in the senate will be Johnson Muthama. Not to be seen to be sidelining Kikuyus in the arithmetic, Martha Karua  is set to replace a fellow tribesman Githu Muigai  as the Attorney General, Martha Karua was with Raila and Mudavadi during their recent visit in America at the Democratic party convention which unveiled Hilary Clinton as the presidential candidate. Raila reportedly wants Karua AG because he feels Mudavadi is soft and might not tackle the corrupt hard if the AG is not strong.

Informed sources have revealed that the schemers are now working on how to share cabinet slots, cabinet secretaries and principal secretaries with all the 42 Kenyans tribes getting a share. Word has it no tribe will produce a cabinet secretary and a principal secretary at the same time. The ration is 1-1 unlike Jubilee which has two tribes dominating the plum appointments. Surprisingly, to win the coastal vote bloc, the architects want Msagha Mbogholi  to be Chief Justice replacing Willy Mutunga. It is imperative note even Jubilee has a soft spot for Mbogholi replacing Mutunga.

To accomodate Kisiis, Janet Ongera is designated Solicitor General. She has worked as registrar of titles at ministry of Lands and State Counsel at AG Chambers. There is also talk that Francis Kaparo is being considered in the lineup.
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