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Ruto, Raila dalliance sets tone during Moi, Muhoho meeting

By Rawlings Otieno
Wednesday, April 14th, 2021
President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga display copies of the BBI report after it was handed to them at the Kisii State Lodge on October 21, last year. Photo/PD/File
In summary
    • The President’s brother is said to have been one of the architects of the unity pact between Uhuru and Raila which was sealed with the March 9, 2018 Handshake.
    • Yesterday, our sources said Moi and Muhoho had also visited Raila to get an assurance over the ODM leader’s alleged rapprochement with Ruto.

Opposition chief Raila Odinga yesterday hosted Kanu chairman Gideon Moi and President Uhuru Kenyatta’s younger brother Muhoho at his Karen home, adding a new twist to the burgeoning political formations ahead of next year’s General Election.

Sources familiar with the meeting told People Daily that the trio discussed the future of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) based on latest political developments and Deputy President William Ruto’s position in the 2022 Uhuru succession matrix.

Both Moi and Muhoho are said to have been “concerned” by recent statements from Raila’s Orange Democratic Movement brigade that the party was in talks with Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance for a possible alliance ahead of the elections.

Raila’s team has also been sending mixed signals over the future of BBI, with a section of ODM leaders, especially deputy party chairman Wycliffe Oparanya, calling for the halting of the Constitution review project in favour of “other urgent matters like fighting Covid-19.”

“Although the two leaders visited Jakom (Raila) to wish him a quick recovery, there were certain issues on the table that required to be addressed.

In fact, the meeting ended up being a political forum,” a source familiar with the talks said.

The ODM leader recently tested positive for  Covid-19 which left him admitted to Nairobi Hospital for a couple of days.

“The three talked about politics and a possible 2022 alliance. We are exploring ways in which the two politicians can work together,” said the source.

The source added that one of the reasons for the meeting was to ensure Raila does not link up with his political nemesis, who some say has become a friend again, Ruto.

“We cannot allow Raila to work with Ruto. Baba must be in the next government.

We are baking the 2022 cake and he must be in it because he has a lot to offer,” said the source.

Tiaty MP William Kamket, a close ally of Gideon, also said Kanu will not allow Ruto to form an alliance with Raila.

Mt Kenya region

“Sisi hatuwezi wacha Baba aende kwa Ruto (we cannot allow Raila to join forces with Ruto).

Ruto is sinking and we have to let him sink. He was on the verge of getting a lifeline through Raila and we can’t allow that to happen,” said Kamket. 

Kanu secretary general Nick Salat said the discussions were based on championing BBI in the post-lockdown era.

“Parliament has taken a bit of time on the document but soon we will need to move with speed.

Then again Raila is recovering from Covid and he is not an ordinary person, so leaders have to visit and wish him well. The BBI is alive and if it passes, it will create many dynamics,” said Salat.

Buoyed by the resentment from Mt Kenya’s vote-rich basket that an alliance between Raila and Ruto would likely deny Ruto the region’s support, some political strategists believe now is an opportune moment to sell a Raila-Gideon ticket.

Moi, who is the Baringo Senator, is one of the kingpins of the One Kenya Alliance  which brings together Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi, Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper) and Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetangula.

The Raila camp has expressed its displeasure about the new coalition, especially its role in the BBI process, following reports that Uhuru had invited them to join the project as equal partners with the ODM leader.

Yesterday, our sources said Moi and Muhoho had also visited Raila to get an assurance over the ODM leader’s alleged rapprochement with Ruto.

“The talks centred on mainly two issues; the true position of the reported Raila-Ruto alliance and his (Raila’s) position on the Handshake and BBI,” said the source.

Covid recovery

Muhoho’s presence at the meeting was meant to assure Raila and his supporters that his Handshake with the President and the BBI push were intact.

The President’s brother is said to have been one of the architects of the unity pact between Uhuru and Raila which was sealed with the March 9, 2018 Handshake.

His presence in yesterday’s meeting was, therefore, meant to allay fears that the BBI project was facing turbulence.

Contacted, ODM chairman John Mbadi said the three leaders may have talked about political developments including BBI, which is currently before Parliament.

“I have no details about what they really talked about. However, I cannot rule out that they talked about politics.

These are politicians and I would be worried if they didn’t discuss politics,” said Mbadi.

When asked about the meeting, Raila’s spokesman Dennis Onyango told People Daily that the two had gone to see Raila following his Covid-19 infection.

“Of course the two leaders paid Raila a courtesy call. Raila had been down with Covid-19 and this was the first time they decided to see him and give him messages of comfort,” said Onyango.

In his Twitter account, Moi said the visit was to check on Raila’s recovery from coronavirus which he contracted last month.

“I am deeply impressed by The Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga’s quick and steady recovery; a clear indication of his resilience even in the face of adversity.

We wish him good health, long life and boundless joy as one of our country’s foremost patriots,” Moi said.

Cotu boss Francis Atwoli, a Kanu diehard, who is also an ardent supporter of the Handshake, argued that his party chairman was free to make political alliances with key political figures.

“Gideon Moi cannot make a mistake of taking Kanu to the Opposition. That is why he is consulting widely,” said Atwoli.

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