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Inside Raila’s super alliance ahead of 2022

By Eric Wainaina
Monday, August 24th, 2020
From left, Gladys Wanga, Fatuma Dulo, Raila Odinga, David Murathe, Anne Waiguru and Peter Kenneth during Ida Odinga’s birthday party at her home in Nairobi on Saturday. Photo/COURTESY
In summary
    • Politicians mulling joint presidential ticket in the 2022 elections are former Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, 2013 Presidential candidate Peter Kenneth, Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi.
    • Strategy, according to sources, has informed the series of meetings taking place at Central Organisation of Trade Unions  Secretary General Francis Atwoli’s Ildamat home in Kajiado county, occasionally attended by Raila, Kenneth and Moi as well as their allies.

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s confidants are working behind the scenes to cobble a super alliance with former Prime Minister Raila Odinga as the flag-bearer, People Daily has established.

Others being mentioned as critical members of the alliance to run on a joint presidential ticket in the 2022 elections are former Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, 2013 Presidential candidate Peter Kenneth, Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi.

With the caucus settling on Raila as the flag-bearer, discussions are going on to determine who fits where in the power matrix.

The plan is based on expansion of the Executive through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) to create the post of Prime Minister and two deputies. 

According to sources familiar with the plan, figures being considered for the deputy premier positions include United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi and Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya.

Should everything go as planned, Raila who has previously contested for Presidency four times, will be a one-term president while Kenneth, who is being groomed to replace Uhuru in Mt Kenya politics, will be Prime Minister and Kalonzo will take up the vice-president’s post. 

The sources, however, said the line-up is bound to change depending on agreements.

Kenneth, a former Gatanga MP who backs BBI, enjoys the support of influential businessmen and leaders in the Mt Kenya region.

Sources said the ground is being prepared for him to join the Cabinet as part of a scheme to boost his image ahead of 2022.

Joho, a key ally of Raila and the Coast’s political kingpin and Kanu chairman Moi, who is on a warpath with Deputy President William Ruto for control of Rift Valley politics, are poised to take up national positions in the line-up.

The strategy, according to sources, has informed the series of meetings taking place at Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) Secretary-General Francis Atwoli’s Ildamat home in Kajiado county, occasionally attended by Raila, Kenneth and Moi as well as their allies.

Yesterday, Atwoli confirmed to People Daily that the talks, “which have not completely ignored Amani National Congress (ANC) Musalia Mudavadi”, were on to have a major ticket in 2022 that will have the face of the nation.

“We are working towards coming up with a super alliance in 2022 to unite the country. Talks have been going on and they will continue with all like-minded people who are ready to work with us,” Atwoli said.

He let the cat out of the bag, saying their choice is Raila and they are now trying to fit in other prospective leaders.

“We have already settled on Raila (as president) and now we are working on incorporating other leaders from across the country.

We are not going to leave anyone out. In Western, we are already talking to Mukhisa Kituyi but also, we are talking to Mudavadi,” he said.

However, Mudavadi yesterday distanced himself from the Atwoli group saying he has nothing to do with it as he does not know what they are up to. “Leave me out of that matter.

I have nothing to do with those people,” Mudavadi told People Daily yesterday evening.

On his part Atwoli said: “The talks are mostly tailored towards creating a joint ticket where Raila will seek the presidency, Kenneth prime minister, perhaps Kalonzo or Mukhisa as vice president while Joho and Moi will be deputy prime ministers.

This is subject to expansion of the Executive through BBI and if the parties being fronted will agree.” 

Further, the strategy could see former Lagdera MP Farah Maalim, an ally of Raila, empowered to defeat Garissa Town MP Aden Duale who he nearly dislodged in 2017.

If the group wins, he will be appointed to a powerful cabinet position.

Other popular national leaders, mostly influential second-term governors, are being considered for cabinet posts, the source added.

Those who have attended the meetings at Atwoli’s residence includes Jubilee Party vice-chairman David Murathe, Siaya Senator James Orengo and National Assembly minority whip Junet Mohammed, deputy majority whip Maoka Maore, an ally of Uhuru, and Tiaty MP William Kamket, who is close to Moi. 

Contacted, Kenneth said the meetings are focused on current national issues such as the ongoing revenue sharing debate, the country’s unity and ensuring that BBI succeeds.

“People will always talk about politics but it’s too early to talk about formations.

Of course, BBI has been part of the several agendas in our meetings but people cannot start to talk about formations until it (BBI) passes,” the former presidential candidate said.

Dr Kituyi said he would not comment on what he described as “speculation”, adding: “I have not been attending those meetings, I do not know what they are all about and, therefore, I cannot talk on something that I do not know. I cannot comment on speculation.”

Two weeks ago, Jubilee’s Murathe, who often speaks not far from the President’s political thinking, hinted that the group was working on a super alliance and suggested a line up as established by People Daily but without giving names.

“What I can confirm is that in 2022, we will have a poster. And in that poster, there will be a portrait of the Handshake.

Assuming the formation unveiled at Bomas (during unveiling of BBI), we will probably have a prime minister from Mount Kenya.

You may have a deputy prime minister from the Coast and the other probably from Rift Valley,” said Murathe.

Tellingly, Murathe, who is part of the team shaping Uhuru’s succession politics, has indicated he will vote for Raila as a one-term transitional president and asked Kalonzo to give way for the Orange Democratic Movement leader’s (ODM) final stab at the presidency.

Kenneth’s photo-shoots with Raila, Murathe and Moi and recognition by the ODM leader during the BBI rally at Kinoru stadium, Meru, in February where he spoke alongside national leaders and calls for him to join the Cabinet have triggered speculation that powerful forces were positioning him for a big role.

Last weekend, Kenneth attended a family function at Raila’s home to celebrate wife Ida Odinga’s birthday at an event attended by political allies

Both President Kenyatta and Raila who have been spearheading the national cohesion project under BBI have supported a referendum to review the Constitution before 2022 in order to expand the Executive as a way of addressing divisive politics.

Recently Kalonzo and Moi’s political parties signed post-election collaboration agreements with Jubilee that will see them work together politically.

But the move has rattled a section of leaders in central Kenya, understood to be led by Embu Senator Njeru Ndwiga who are reportedly  pushing for Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and his Health counterpart Mutahi Kagwe partnership in national politics.

Those said to be in this team include Transport CS James Macharia and Joe Mucheru (ICT), Governors Kiraitu Murungi (Meru), Martin Wambora (Embu), Mutahi Kahiga (Nyeri) and Francis Kimemia (Nyandarua), and National Assembly Majority leader Amos Kimunya.

When Mutahi made his daily Covid-19 briefing in Kisii County, which is the backyard of Matiang’i  on August 7, he pleaded with the electorate to support the CS, who was present, for the top seat, saying he is capable of clinching the presidency.

However, Ndwiga, in an interview with People Daily, denied participating in any political strategy meeting and castigated those making 2022 plans purportedly on behalf of regions.

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