Inside coalition power plan for next year's race to State House

POLITICS |
One Kenya Alliance lead by the four principals Senator Baringo Gideon Moi, Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Bungoma Senator Moses Watengula and Amani Party Leader Musalia Mudavadi meeting at Hermosa Gardens Hotel, Nairobi. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Plans are at an advanced stage for a formidable alliance to possibly face off with Deputy President William Ruto or ODM’s Raila Odinga for the presidential contest in next year's General Election.

The Standard has reliably learnt that the One Kenya Alliance (OKA) meeting held yesterday, signaled the beginning of a process to legally cement a pact that will give birth to a possible third force in the 2022 elections.

The OKA, which brings together four political parties ANC’s Musalia Mudavadi, Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka, Baringo Senator Gideon Moi's (KANU) and his Bungoma counterpart Moses Wetang'ula, is seeking to produce a presidential candidate.

Mudavadi, Kalonzo and Wetang'ula of the National Super Alliance (NASA) are reportedly scheduled to hold their Parliamentary Group (PG) meetings this Friday to kick-start their divorce process with ODM. The leaders’ hours-long meeting yesterday according to insiders deliberated on a possible route to clinch the presidency and how best to craft their pre-election pact and how they will disengage with their current alliances.

Insiders said the meeting was centred around ground support and financial muscle to take on a charged presidential campaign to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta and take on his deputy. Dr Ruto has declared his interest in State House and Raila is also touted to be in the race, although he has not officially declared, but has intensified his political activities lately.

The issue of a referendum through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) birthed through the Handshake, is said to have featured but the leaders resolved to put it off the table until it's determined by the appellate court.

“We have tasked the principals to go out and engage with their various party members. Let them talk to their people. They are also supposed to conduct individual countrywide campaigns to market themselves and independently search for the top seat,” disclosed an MP aware of the deliberations.

The meeting is reported to have explored exhaustively ground support and campaign funding and proposed a joint communication centre to handle publicity and branding.

“The communication centre will deal with countrywide tours and activities. It will be the link for all party leaders to ensure communication is aligned and proper,” disclosed another MP.

“The NASA leaders will convene the PG to deliberate on the matter and seek endorsement from their membership. The issue of Political Parties funds, which is unresolved, will also be discussed although Raila is in the picture,” said another lawmaker.

The relationship between KANU and Jubilee was also discussed. Although the timelines for the party leaders to gauge their popularity was not agreed on, they are to initiate the process of future unity ahead of the 2022 polls after they reportedly reserved the OKA name.

“We have already reserved the OKA name but we are unable to enter into any legal pact with constituent parties because each are still in other active pre and post-election agreements deposited at the Registrar of Political Parties,” said another lawmaker.

The OKA leaders were also briefed by a technical team. The eight-member technical team presented key parameters and possible scenarios that will determine the emerging alliance’s presidential candidate.

In a closed-door meeting lasting for more than five hours, the leaders were taken through numbers in each region, game plan in the event of a re-run and formula for pairing the presidential candidate.

The technical team is made up of two representatives from each of the four partner parties. “The report by the technical team presented numbers in each region, explored all scenarios in terms of pairing the leaders and what would happen should there be a re-run,” said a source who attended the meeting.

“The team is also expected to map the country in terms of counties, where our principals have absolute support and mark them green, while those areas we have no support be marked red as we come up with a strategy to make inroads,” said another source.

The four principals were reportedly told to have further deliberations and see if they can still work with Raila in the succession battle. It is reported that some were ready to partner with the former PM but insisted he has to join as an equal partner and allow for collective decision for the presidential candidate.

“We will exploit who can partner with us in filling the gaps presented by the technical team so that we can craft a strategy in countering the DP, determine his influence in Central Kenya,” added an MP.

The source said that once all scenarios are discussed exhaustively, the four principals will retreat to decide on their presidential candidate. Already, MPs in the team from Mudavadi and Kalonzo sides have started fronting their respective party leaders, citing their previous attempts for the top seat. Kalonzo’s cited his performance in 2007 as well as being a running mate for Raila in 2013 and 2017.

While addressing a joint press briefing, the leaders confirmed receiving a briefing from the technical team on the political roadmap.

“We wish to re-state that One Kenya Alliance is a coalition of shared ideas, ideals, people and parties that carry genuine goodwill for our beloved country,” the leaders said in a joint statement read by Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr.

“Indeed, we are gratified by the great interest and large number of Kenyans calling upon us to quickly launch the Alliance as the true vehicle that carries their aspirations. As a political leadership we are satisfied with the progress made by the technical team so far and wish to assure the country that we are on course,” added the statement.

Mudavadi, Kalonzo and Wetangúla also announced that their decision to bolt out of NASA was irreversible.

“As far as we are concerned, NASA is part of our political history. All that remains is the final process of closure which includes the pursuit of financial accountability and settlement,” said the statement.

The four politicians also called on President Kenyatta to lift nationwide restrictions to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. They further called on the government to accelerate its vaccination exercise to ensure at least half of the population is protected. They said majority of Kenyans have been hit by economic vagaries of the pandemic.

“We continue to empathise with Kenyans as they endure the harsh economic times occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said the statement.

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