The ‘swearing-in’ of Opposition leader Raila Odinga without his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka continues to elicit mixed reactions in NASA strongholds.
Supporters believe that the events of January 30 will have serious political implications on winners and losers of the ceremony.
The absence of other co-principals Musalia Mudavadi (ANC) and Senate Minority leader Moses Wetangula has blown a wind of political uncertainty in Nyanza, Western, lower Eastern, Coast and Nariobi.
With Kalonzo, Mudavadi and Wetangula still smarting from stinging attacks after they missed the event, Raila seems to be gaining political capital after he boldly took oath as the ‘People’s President’.
From villages to on-line platforms, restaurants and streets, debate rages on the future of the coalition. “This is a day we have all been waiting for. They could have come even if it meant being arrested,” says Mr Matthew Wenani, a Kakamega ODM official.
NASA supporters have questioned the commitment of Kalonzo, Wetang’ula and Mudavadi to the opposition course despite appearing at a press conference with Raila in a show of solidarity a day after they skipped the ‘swearing-in’ at Uhuru Park in Nairobi.
A Maseno University lecturer, Dr Tom Mboya, believes Raila is the biggest beneficiary of the controversial event. “By taking the oath, Raila has commented his relationships with the millions of Kenyans. The multitudes we saw at Uhuru Park now have trust on him,” says Mboya.
But he cautions NASA supporters against attacking the three co-principals saying they have pledged to continue working together. “Raila has emerged heroic but he still needs his three colleagues. In politics, anything can happen within a split of seconds. In politics, there are no permanent friends of enemies,” he says.
NASA leaders in Nyanza publicly say Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho should take over the leadership mantle from Raila for standing with him at Uhuru Park.
Political analyst Martin Oloo says the Wiper leader has over the years claimed there was a memorandum of understanding between him and Raila to be the coalition’s flag bearer come 2022.
“Kalonzo would have automatically inherited the political constituency of Raila if he stood by him, but his skipping the event was the hallmark of the backlash even from his base. The vacuum he created is likely to be filled by Joho,” he says.
ODM national chairman John Mbadi was categorical that the three co-principals may no longer be trusted. “There is no medicine for treating cowardice,” he said.