OKA leaders hold talks on flag-bearer, Raila ties

Wednesday, July 21st, 2021 00:00 | By
One Kenya Alliance principals (from left to right) Musalia Mudavadi, Gideon Moi, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula during a 2022 election strategy meeting at a Nairobi hotel yesterday. Photo/PD/GERALD ITHANA

Differences over the method of choosing a single presidential candidate and the question whether members of the One Kenya Alliance (OKA) should work with Opposition chief Raila Odinga played out during a meeting at which they received a report of a technical committee.

The quartet:  Musalia Mudavadi of Amani National Congress, Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Kanu’s Gideon Moi and Ford Kenya‘s Moses Wetangula resolved that their parties on Friday kick-off the process of severing links with coalitions under which they have been operating.

The four have been under pressure to pick one of them to run against Deputy President William Ruto in next year’s General Election.

While their individual supporters have been pushing them to launch own presidential bids, others have been encouraging them to stick together and revive the National Super Alliance (Nasa) with Raila to confront Ruto in the 2022 polls.

Science option

Sources at the six-hour meeting at a hotel in Nairobi’s Karen area, revealed that while Mudavadi pitched for a “scientific” method to choose a flag-bearer, Kalonzo said this can be done on the basis of “past track record, political experience and mutual trust.”

“The technical committee has told the four principals to agree if they want to work with Raila or not and report to the team,” said a source who attended the meeting but chose to stay anonymous.

Mudavadi,Kalonzo and Wetangula teamed up with Raila to oppose President Uhuru Kenyatta in the 2017 presidential election but fell out following the ODM leader’s controversial swearing in as the ‘People’s President’, and his subsequent Handshake with Uhuru in March 2018.

The source revealed that although Gideon expressed readiness to work with Raila, the other three leaders were hesitant and only agreed to initiate talks with the ODM leader if he will be willing to join the coalition as an equal partner and not on his terms.

Kalonzo last month declared that he would rather retire to his Tseikuru home in Kitui County than support Raila for the presidency a third time while Mudavadi has maintained he will not play second fiddle to anyone in the coming elections.

The technical committee has been charged with mapping out the 47 counties with a view to establishing where the One Kenya Alliance has numbers, where they can make inroads and where they have no chance of making it at all and present the findings in the next meeting.

“We are going to invite like-minded leaders who have expressed interest. So, treat this as the forefront team.

We are going to have a bigger team going forward,” said Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr who read a statement on behalf of the principals and technical team.

During a tour of Nyeri last weekend, Mudavadi argued that mistrust and dishonesty were the biggest hurdles in forming of alliances for next year’s election.

Mudavadi said Nasa had suffered breach of trust, adding that the turmoil in the opposition coalition has been as a result of mistrust and dishonesty among the leaders.

While coalitions have been touted as key to forming the next government, most of the political alliances find themselves on shaky ground, some on the verge of collapse.

Uhuru, in a meeting with Ukambani leaders at State House recently, hinted that he was willing to support any of the Nasa principals in the next polls, if they unite.

There has also been growing debate that Raila could be the Handshake presidential candidate to wage battle with the DP.

Aware that the no party can be part of two coalitions at the same time, parties under OKA will convene their highest decision making organs to kick-start the process of leaving Nasa and Jubilee Party.

While ANC, Wiper and Ford Kenya are currently in Nasa whose sunset clause is pegged on the August 2022 polls, Kanu signed a post-election coalition agreement with Jubilee.

Technical committee

Kilonzo Jr and a member of the technical committee said that for Kanu to be part of the new alliance, it must first divorce itself from Jubilee while the other three must also pull of out Nasa.

“You cannot be in two alliances at the same time under the law. Kanu will leave Jubilee. To form OKA, the three principals of OKA must leave Nasa,” said Kilonzo.

He added: “This Friday we are going to call parties and their organs to start those discussions (of leaving Nasa). Each party will meet on its own, make resolutions then we meet as a whole.”

Asked if he was ready to jump out of the Jubilee coalition for OKA, Gideon said the discussions were in progress.

“That question is premature because the discussions are ongoing,” he said.

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