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Why Raila should be CORD’s flag bearer

By Alexander Chagema | April 14th 2016

All seems not to be well with the Opposition. Schisms exists whose presence the principals are trying to mask, but the fullness of time will expose the futility of the attempts.

A replay of circumstances that led to Musalia Mudavadi, Najib Balala and William Ruto leaving the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) is underway. The most notable withdrawal, however, was that of Musalia Mudavadi, who left the party on a matter of principle.

His disaffection with internal mechanisms for nominating the party’s flag bearer in 2013 saw him quit. That ODM would later hurriedly amend a clause in the party constitution that had caused Mr Mudavadi so much distress in a bid to forestall his exit, speaks volumes on why parties must remain intact and dialogue given a chance.

At the end of the day, and after the removal of the offending clause in ODM’s nomination rules, it was clearly obstinacy that hardened Mr Mudavadi’s resolve not to go back.

Apparently, though history repeats itself, amazingly, political parties and alliances have never learnt from the repeats. Cord, which comprises the Wiper party, Ford-K and ODM, is on a path of self-destruction. The suicide mission took off recently at the Muliro Gardens in Kakamega where Senator Moses Wetang'ula had gone to launch his bid for the presidency in 2017.

This was after Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya imperiously told Mr Wetang'ula to launch his bid in Bungoma, Ford- K’s stronghold. When this is tied to subsequent utterances by ODM’s Secretary General Ababu Namwamba that those not happy in Cord could take a walk, you begin to understand this is a subtle warning to the two ‘lesser’ parties to stop having lofty visions.

Belligerents Wycliffe Oparanya, Moses Wetang'ula and Boni Khalwale are all from the Luhya tribe, the one that has for years sought unity that is as elusive as a mirage. In that divisiveness, the luhya nation is being led to believe they have the wherewithal to take the presidency, or that they have enough bargaining power in the imminent political realignments ahead of the 2017 elections. To be polite, this is laughable. Yet in all these, the Luhyas are not alone.

Cord’s other principal, Kalonzo Musyoka, is not fairing any better. Ukambani politics is as chaotic as Western's. One has to admire the chutzpah of the most vocal, but least informed Ukambani leaders who fervently entertain the hope of taking the presidency in 2017. For them, it is either Mr Kalonzo flies the Cord flag or the Kamba would look elsewhere.

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Living in denial is the cause of much of our problems. Wetang'ula and Mr Kalonzo cannot hold their own people together; a divided house, as they say. With maverick Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua and unpredictable Charity Ngilu in the mix, the ground under Musyoka is not so steady.

In Western, the Amani National Congress has laid its stake in the region, with Mudavadi having said he will go for the trophy. Some Luhya leaders are openly sympathetic to Jubilee which, in a nutshell, also means Wetang'ula is not standing on firm ground either.

In terms of numbers, neither Wiper nor Ford-K can match ODM. Needless to say, their long political records notwithstanding, Wetang'ula and Musyoka are disadvantaged and neither can steer Cord to victory in 2017.

Had the Opposition acted as a united whole in 2013, we would possibly not be lamenting the loss of funds at the National Youth Service, misuse of the Eurobond, ‘tumetenga’ projects, collapsing banks, closing companies and runaway corruption.

Today, more than ever before, the Opposition must unite to give the country hope of an alternative government in 2017. The feeling that Jubilee would romp home unchallenged in 2017 courtesy of a disjointed Opposition is causing despondency in at least half the Kenyan population.

It is for this reason the Opposition needs someone who needles and brings out the worst in the Government; a person who can cause complacency in the house of Jubilee to fly out the window.

The Opposition needs someone who can make those in Jubilee to continually look over their shoulders, even as he engages them in guessing games. Anything short of that and President Uhuru Kenyatta and his loyal deputy can safely go to sleep today and wait to be woken up in 2017 to take up their renewed mandates.

That man in the Opposition is Raila Odinga. His charisma and pull on the hoi polloi is unmatched. Only two politicians in Kenya today have the capacity to make their kinsmen toe the line; Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga.

And let’s agree; that souped-up old Subaru Impreza WRX that has been to many races has a more realistic chance of winning a local rally than say, a brand new Toyota Premio or Mitsubishi Gallant, their attractiveness and newness notwithstanding.

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