Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga have differed over the 2022 succession race with word the president is favouring Musalia Mudavadi, Kalonzo Musyoka, Moses Wetangula and the new kid on the political scene Baringo Senator and Kanu chief Gideon Moi.
The four are pushing for a Sacred Alliance or Holy Alliance. Apart from Gideon, the others were key players in the National Super Alliance that fronted Raila in 2017. Those close to Uhuru your favourite Weekly Citizen’s political analysts interact with say, without Kalonzo, Mudavadi and Wetang’ula, Raila would not have managed the 5 million votes during the 2017 presidential elections. And if he decides to go to the 2022 polls without them, he will be going to the race a wounded lion. They further say that according to the Building Bridges Initiative and the handshake deal, Uhuru and Raila were supposed to exit the political terrain in 2022.
Surprisingly to Uhuru, Raila is sending mixed signals as to if he will run or not.
They claim Raila is under pressure from a section of unpopular Luo politicians who cling to his coat tail to win political seats. Among those who are pushing Raila to make a final stab at the presidency by sidelining Mudavadi, Kalonzo and Wetangula are Siaya senator James Orengo, Suna East MP Junet Mohammed, Raila’s brother and East African Legislative Assembly MP Oburu Odinga. Homa Bay senator Moses Kajwang, women representative Gladys Wanga and Muhoroni MP James Koyoo.
Uhuru has a soft spot for the Sacred Alliance but Raila’s major concern is that members of the said group have started attacking him in public accusing him of going against the 2017 memorandum of understanding, in which he vowed to support one of them for presidency in 2022 and especially Kalonzo, who was his running mate. The three Narc principals, just like William Ruto, are reading betrayal. To Ruto, Uhuru was supposed to back him to his presidency in 2022 but started reneging in favour of the Sacred Alliance, something that Ruto just like Raila is not taking lightly.
To show all is not well between the Sacred Alliance members and Raila, during the first anniversary of former president Daniel Arap Moi at his Kabarak residence, Raila skipped the function and even ordered political leaders allied to ODM not to attend a function that was honoured the president and leading political luminaries. Weekly Citizen has established Raila had agreed to attend but changed his mind at the last minute getting Gideon and Uhuru off-guard. At the function, Wiper leader who of late does not spare Raila against attacks, was at it again claiming how the ODM leader was not trustworthy and they are now building a formidable alliance of like-minded politicians bringing on board Mudavadi, Gideon and Wetang’ula.
The Kabarak function came after the burial of Mama Hannah Mudavadi, the mother of Musalia at Mululu in Sabatia where Uhuru send signals during his address that he is likely to back Mudavadi presidency. To complicate matters for Raila, was the speech of Uhuru’s brother Muhoho Kenyatta during the requiem mass of the late Mama Hannah at Friends Church, Ngong Road, Nairobi that he had brought condolences from Mama Ngina Kenyatta and the entire Kenyatta family.
Muhoho further went on to say the Kenyatta family is going to work with Mudavadi not only for the development of his Sabatia constituency but also the entire country. The mentioning of the word entire country was received as a politically pregnant statement. After the burial of Mama Hannah, keen political observers would have noticed the current political events surrounding Mudavadi, Kalonzo, Wetangula and Gideon. The latest is their collective involvement in the by-elections in Matungu, Kabuchai and Machakos.
Raila is said not to be happy with the newfound love between the four and is not taking it lightly. By late last week when this writer was enjoying a meal with one of Raila’s close handlers, it emerged that Raila is set to visit Matungu this week to drum up support for ODM candidate David Were. It is imperative to note that Raila, if he is not set to run for presidency next year, he is not willing to back Mudavadi and Kalonzo.
To show the bad blood between Raila and Mudavadi, ODM if not fielding a candidate in Kabuchai, a seat that fell vacant following the death of James Lusweti of Ford-K and Machakos senate by-election which happens to be Kalonzo’s stronghold although the seat was won in 2017 by the late Boniface Kabaka of Chama cha Uzalendo. Many had expected ODM to field a candidate in Machakos by virtue of the fact that the seat was not won in 2017 by a Wiper candidate. A glance at Matungu by-elections gives a different picture.
The seat that fell vacant following the death of Justus Murunga of ANC and Raila has gone against expectations and is fielding a candidate giving a wide berth the Kabuchai and Machakos by-elections. Raila, when hammering one or two of his favourite drinks, never fails to openly state how Mudavadi has failed him and cannot be trusted in 2022 in making any alliance with. Raila boasts that he is the one who brought Mudavadi back from political oblivion in 2007 after being defeated by Moses Akaranga in 2002. After the 2007 general elections that culminated in post-election violence, Raila made Mudavadi deputy prime minister in the coalition government that was formed thereafter much to the chagrin of Ruto.
Come 2013, Mudavadi abandoned Raila at the hour of need and with the full support of the Moi family and a section of Mwai Kibaki allies went on to run for the presidency on a UDF ticket coming a distant third. In 2002 during Moi succession, Raila had wanted to anoint Mudavadi as a compromise candidate only for Mudavadi to fold and return to Kanu where he was made the shortlived vice president. This is the bone of contention between Raila and Mudavadi. Weekly Citizen has information that after swallowing more than enough of his favourite drink, Raila has openly told those who care to hear he is comfortable backing a serious Bukusu presidential candidate than a Maragoli, a Luhya sub-tribe where Mudavadi belongs.
He argues the Bukusu community, which Ford-K boss Wetangula, Devolution cabinet secretary Eugene Wamalwa and the latest entrant to the 2022 presidential elections Mukhisa Kituyi belong to have always stood with the Odinga family politically. Late Cherengani MP Masinde Muliro stood with Jaramogi Oginga Odinga in Ford before the party split into Ford-K and Ford-Asili. After the demise of Muliro, Wamalwa Kijana was also with Odinga in Ford Kenya luring the populous Bukusu community in 1992 during the first multiparty elections.
Come Moi succession, Wamalwa was to team up with Raila in Narc. During the Moi era, the Maragoli were for the system voting for Moi twice in 1992 and 1997. Political analysts aver the relationship between the Maragoli and the Bukusu, the two most populous subtribes of the Luhya community has always been on and off. Raila wants to capitalise on the suspicious Bukusu, Maragoli relationship in Uhuru succession game plan. The recent meeting between Raila, Mukhisa, Orengo and Makueni governor Kivutha Kibwana is seen in that light.
First is the equation if Raila decides not to run. It is worth noting the meeting came just days after Mukhisa had arrived in the country from Geneva and declaring to run for presidency. Informed sources reveal Raila is bringing on board Mukhisa to puncture Mudavadi and Wetangula in Western politics. If he decides not to run, he will back Mukhisa. To Raila, just like him, Mudavadi and Kalonzo have been out of elective positions since 2013 just like Mukhisa. But Mukhisa has an advantage he landed an international position that has enabled him make connections worldwide.
Mukhisa’s UNCTAD job was the biggest any Kenyan has ever landed. Mukhisa, unlike Kalonzo, Mudavadi and Wetangula, was also involved in the second liberation that led to the introduction of multiparty politics. As Mukhisa was fighting for the second liberation with Raila under the so-called young turks that had among others Orengo, Paul Muite, Kiraitu Murungi, Gitobu Imanyara, George Anyona, Sheikh Balala, Mudavadi and his new allies were wining and dining with Moi. As Mukhisa is supposed to checkmate Mudavadi and Wetangula in Luhya politics, on the other side is Kibwana to tame Kalonzo in Ukambani.
His presence at the Raila-Kituyi meeting has sent political tongues wagging. Talk is rife, Raila is likely to bring on board Kitui governor Charity Ngilu on his side. Ngilu’s relationship with Kalonzo has been on and off but of late they seem to be reading from the same political script. Weekly Citizen has further established that in Raila game plan is also to bring on board former cabinet minister Chirau Mwakwere, a top Wiper official. Raila and Mwakwere have been holding secret meetings and it is just a matter of time before he comes on board.
The alliance which has now been christened as ‘Sacred Union’ aims at edging out Raila in his traditional strongholds apart from Luo Nyanza and cutting down Ruto’s influence in Jubilee strongholds, including Kalenjinland. Insiders added that the alliance will aggressively sell their lineup after the passage of the Building Bridges Initiative to amend the constitution. The BBI process to amend the constitution will provide a bigger political table for Mudavadi, Kalonzo, Wetangula and Gideon to share the gains and spoils in 2022 should Kenyans approve the changes.
According to sources, talks brokered by the Western envoys are ongoing in the new alliance to have Mudavadi go for the presidency in 2022 with Kalonzo as his running-mate while Gideon is tipped for deputy prime minister’s slot. The talks, sources added, are at an advanced stage and Kalonzo has reportedly agreed to the deal that will see Uhuru, Gideon and western envoys unleash their financial muscles in the campaigns to beat Ruto and Raila, whether individually or collectively if the two protagonists decide to team up.
What is making Mudavadi’s candidature attractive to the western envoys is his amiable character and experience as a cabinet minister, vice president and deputy premier. The 61-year-old political kingpin of Western Kenya who joined politics at the age of 29 after the death of his father, Moses Mudavadi, is winning the support of the western nations due to his non-confrontational politics and respect for authority. Mudavadi is a graduate of Economics from the University of Nairobi. He became Kenya’s 7th vice president serving the shortest tenure and also served as a deputy prime minister in the grand coalition government alongside Uhuru.
Mudavadi’s long experience where he got into parliament in 1989 and was granted the post of minister for Supplies and Marketing by the Moi government, is also working to his advantage. His experience includes serving as the minister for Information, Transport and Communication and Finance portfolio, where he safeguarded the interests of western countries. Insiders added that the western envoys and deep state have advised Mudavadi to now scale up his lobbying in the journey to establish himself as the country’s next president.
This has seen him attract the attention of envoys including 19 European Union ambassadors who recently called him for a virtual meeting. According to his Facebook page, the meeting was hosted by EU ambassador to Kenya Simon Mordue and was meant to explore ways of promoting good governance in Kenya. After the meeting, the ambassadors termed the ANC party boss as an insightful and experienced leader whom they learned a lot from, and a safe pair of hands for Kenyans after Uhuru. “Thank you to Honourable Mudavadi for joining a virtual meeting this morning with all EU ambassadors.
We appreciated HE.’s informed insights regarding current developments in Kenya, drawing on his many years of experience,” Mordue said. In the recent past, the former Finance minister has also been holding meetings with leaders from across the country as he seeks to consolidate support for his political ambitions. Insiders added that Kalonzo’s impressive experience, where he has served as vice president, Foreign Affairs minister in both Moi and Kibaki governments and vice president has worked to his advantage in the new alliance being backed by the western countries and deep state.
So is the case with Wetang’ula who also served as Foreign Affairs minister in Kibaki regime and helped safeguard the interests of the western nations. Insiders added that Gideon is being advised to go slow on the presidency given that it is barely 20 years after his father left the throne. Insiders added that it is the backing of the new alliance by the western nations that has fired up the president to go ballistic and dare Ruto to resign if he is uncomfortable in government.
While speaking in Uthiru in Nairobi two weeks ago, a furious Uhuru told his principal assistant he must choose between staying in the government and helping it succeed or leaving his office. Uhuru accused the deputy president of doublespeak and wondered why one would take credit for projects done by the government and at the same accuse it of “failure”. His remarks came days after Ruto allies criticised him over remarks that he will not hand over power to thieves in 2022 while addressing Mount Kenya leaders at Sagana State Lodge in Nyeri county.
Also during a radio address, Uhuru dismissed those opposing BBI as thieves who were stealing Sh2 billion daily from public coffers. Insiders added that Ruto on realising the tide is going against him has also decided to be hitting back at the president, without much care. Two weeks ago, the deputy president responded to Uhuru’s attacks while addressing wananchi at Wangige market in Kiambu county where he ruled out resigning as demanded by Uhuru. Insiders added that Raila has also decided to go it alone and that is why he has started assembling heavy campaign machinery ahead of the 2022 polls.
Last week, there were reports the ODM leader is expecting at least four choppers from France, the payment having been completed. The former PM has also received a public address system worth Sh5 million from the United States. Raila gave the clearest signal he will be in the ballot with or without Uhuru’s backing when he met former UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi and Kibwana, two individuals he is wooing to replace Mudavadi and Kalonzo. Those who have vowed to back the ODM leader include businessman Jimmy Wanjigi, Cotu boss Francis Atwoli and Jubilee vice chair David Murathe.
The latter might, however, change, if Uhuru announces publicly his support for Mudavadi-Kalonzo ticket. Insiders added that the sidelining of Ruto in running of the government is meant to deny him a platform to sell his bid by citing its successes and also cuts down his interaction with western envoys. Last week, Uhuru deliberately left out Ruto in a cabinet meeting where he reportedly dared government officials aligned with his deputy to quit from office or toe the line.
Ruto was not present at the meeting, with his allies insisting that he was not invited. For United States, sources added the country is playing a bigger role behind the scenes in propelling the new alliance after its ambassador to Kenya, Kyle McCarter, resigned. McCater, who quit just days before a new administration headed by Joe Biden was set to take over the US government, was picked as a political appointee by former US president Donald Trump in January 2019 to replace Bob Godec.