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Recurring politics of broken promises and dashed MoUs

By Protus Onyango and Rawlings Otieno | Published Mon, April 16th 2018 at 00:00, Updated April 16th 2018 at 11:14 GMT +3
Kalonzo Musyoka

On the morning of January 3, 2008, at the height of the post-election violence, four MPs met in an office on the 6th floor of Harambee House, for talks to salvage the government of President Mwai Kibaki.

The quartet, close allies of the President and one of his challengers in the disputed 2007 presidential election, Kalonzo Musyoka, had 24 hours to come up with a power-sharing agreement to be signed by Mr Kibaki and Kalonzo.

Kibaki, who had controversially won the presidential election whose results were disputed by his main rival, Orange Democratic Movement’s (ODM) Raila Odinga, had reached out to Kalonzo to shore up his legitimacy.

Minister for Internal Security John Michuki, who represented Kibaki, had hosted the meeting in his boardroom. Also on the President’s side was Party of National Unity (PNU) colleague Amos Kimunya. Representing Kalonzo were Johnstone Muthama and David Musila. 

“This was the first coalition government before the formation of the grand coalition of Kibaki and Raila. Brokering the deal was a tedious assignment. The country was experiencing bloodshed and Kibaki needed to strengthen his position. He was the President but ODM had more MPs. He needed Kalonzo to balance the equation,” Mr Muthama recalled. 

According to Muthama, besides the sharing of Cabinet posts and other portfolios, part of the agreement was that Kibaki would support Kalonzo to succeed him in 2013.

“We agreed that Kibaki and PNU would not field a presidential candidate. This was an issue that even President Uhuru Kenyatta fully supported. He supported the idea of Kalonzo succeeding Kibaki,” claimed Muthama.

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BETRAYED HIM

Kalonzo, the Wiper party leader, insists that Kibaki betrayed him by reneging on an agreement to support him to succeed as President.

Kalonzo was categorical that as the 10th vice-president, he was the only one whose appointment arose from negotiation rather than through political appointment as was done previously.

“ODM-Kenya agreed to form an alliance with Kibaki’s PNU to form the PNU Alliance on condition that I was to be supported for the presidency in 2012. This was a negotiated position and not just any appointment,” said Kalonzo.

But, as has been the fate of previous and subsequent memorandums of understanding that have been dishonoured and sparked furious blame games, this one also imploded. Not even the key players seem to agree on what its contents were.

“The alleged promise by Kibaki to support Kalonzo was not in the deal. If there was any such deal it must have been made in their private discussions,” said Mr Musila when asked about the agreement.

Musila, who rose to become Wiper chairman, has since fallen out with Kalonzo and backed Uhuru in the last elections.

When contacted for an interview, Mr Kimunya, who was the minister for Finance in Kibaki’s administration, responded by asking what the topic entailed. When told it was a story about coalition agreements and specifically the Kibaki-Kalonzo 2008 agreement, he did not respond to our subsequent enquiries.

Martha Karua, who also served as the minister for Justice in Kibaki’s government, also did not respond to our requests for an interview.

However, Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, who was in PNU in 2008, said there was no deal on Kibaki supporting Kalonzo for the presidency.

“The deal was ‘come we work together.’ The vice president position was senior-most in Government. It was given to Kalonzo. So there was no need to promise anything else,” Mr Kuria said.

But Muthama, who claimed his involvement in Kibaki’s 1992 and 1997 presidential campaigns as well as in Kalonzo’s 2007 campaigns helped him bring the two leaders together, insists that the promise was scuttled by the International Criminal Court (ICC) cases against Uhuru and William Ruto.  

“After the ODM Kenya and PNU pact, the working environment was fantastic. I received full backing in my work as the Chief Whip. But things changed when the issue of the ICC cropped up towards the end of 2012,” he said.

“When we escorted Uhuru and Ruto to the ICC in the Netherlands, the tone of PNU politicians changed. They turned the whole matter to be Raila’s making and told Kibaki to mobilise the PNU MPs to defend Uhuru,” Muthama said, adding that Kibaki was in a dilemma.

“If he didn’t support Uhuru, the Mt Kenya people would view him as a traitor who had auctioned Jomo Kenyatta’s son.”

“Ruto was sacked by Raila and he had to find a new home. This is when The National Alliance (TNA) was formed with the backing of the National Intelligence Services (NIS), top Government officials and Kibaki’s blessings. They wanted a party independent of PNU so they could renege on the agreement,” Muthama claimed.

It was then that the TNA brigade decided that Uhuru would be their presidential candidate and Ruto his running mate.

“Kalonzo was left out and told to look for any other position in Government. We quit the union but Kalonzo served the remainder of his term as VP,” Muthama recalled.

Kalonzo then bolted to join Raila, with whom he had feuded throughout the tenure of the grand coalition government over who between the VP and Prime Minister was higher in the State pecking order.  

ODM Kenya then joined Ford Kenya, ODM and other small parties to found the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) under whose ticket Raila ran for the presidency in 2013 with Kalonzo as his running mate.

MAIN AGENDA

“The agreement was simple. The main agenda was to win elections and Raila was to support Kalonzo in 2017. But when the elections were stolen, we were back to square one,” Muthama said. 

Early this month, Kalonzo announced he would no longer play second fiddle to Raila after their unsuccessful run in 2017 under the National Super Alliance (NASA) ticket that also had Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula as principals.

“I have supported Raila for 10 years while being in the political cold. I will now move to every corner of this country to sell our agenda of one Kenya,” vowed Kalonzo.

Mudavadi, the Amani National Congress (ANC) party leader, also insists his 2022 presidential dream is valid, citing a clause in the NASA pre-election coalition agreement that locks Raila out.

“It is not about ‘supposed to’. The NASA coalition agreement is a legally binding agreement after the three of us - myself, Kalonzo and Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula - withheld our presidential ambitions in favour of Raila,” Mudavadi said.

The man who was appointed vice president by President Daniel arap Moi for a brief period in the run-up to the 2002 General Election, when Raila led a walkout from the Kanu party to protest Mr Moi’s pick of Uhuru as his preferred successor, is bitter that Uhuru would betray him a decade later. 

“I backed President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2002 and he reneged on a reciprocation agreement in 2013. Although it is said in politics there are no debts to be paid, I backed Raila in 2007 and 2017. How selfless can one get? My fate lies with Kenyans,” Mudavadi said.

He recalled the period in the run-up to the 2013 General Election, when he signed an agreement with Uhuru, who was meant to vie for the presidency using The National Alliance (TNA). Uhuru was to step down in favour of Mudavadi by signing a memorandum of understanding with Mudavadi’s United Democratic Front (UDF) party.

Before they signed the MoU, Uhuru and Ruto are said to have gone to Musalia’s residence in Nairobi’s Riverside Drive to seal the pact. But immediately the news of the agreement was broken, Uhuru rejected it, saying it was the work of “dark forces”.

But The Standard can reveal that the MoU was indeed signed on December 4, 2012.

TWO LEADERS

Titled ‘The Agreement between Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and Wycliffe Musalia Mudavadi’, the pact says: “The two leaders of the Coalition Parties hereby agree as follows: 1. That Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta shall step down as the Presidential Candidate of the coalition and 2. That Wycliffe Musalia Mudavadi shall be the Coalition’s Presidential Candidate. These details shall be announced within 14 days from the date of signing.”

The document was signed by Uhuru, Mudavadi and Ruto in the presence of lawyers Desterion Oyatsi and Dan Ameyo.

Based on the failure to honour the agreement, Mudavadi has refused to join forces with Uhuru and Ruto.

THE HANDSHAKE

Kalonzo’s frustration emanates from what he and co-principals Mudavadi and Wetang’ula have termed betrayal, when Raila met Uhuru for ‘The Handshake.’ Wetang’ula, who was replaced by James Orengo as Senate Leader of Minority, has since said he has parted ways with Raila.

The three NASA principals have accused Raila of using the new rapproachment with Uhuru to discard the NASA MoU, which bars him and ODM from fielding a candidate for the presidency in 2022, and instead back Kalonzo and Mudavadi.

When NASA officially unveiled Raila as its presidential flag-bearer and Kalonzo as his running mate last year, they promised additional centres of power had been introduced to accommodate the other principals.

Mudavadi, who is the brains behind the NASA outfit, was to be the third in command, as premier Cabinet secretary in charge of government co-ordination if the coalition formed Government.

Wetang’ula, who is also the Bungoma senator, was to be deputy premier Cabinet secretary in charge of the economy while Isaac Ruto (Chama Cha Mashinani party) was to be deputy premier Cabinet secretary in charge of governance and social affairs. Ruto has since left NASA. 

Then there was the famous ‘Kibaki Tosha’ statement by Raila, when he supported Kibaki for the presidency.

“In 2002, I said ‘Kibaki Tosha’ and when he was hurt (in a road accident), I took over and campaigned for him throughout the country until we beat Kanu whose candidate was Uhuru. I supported Kibaki knowing well that he was a Kikuyu but above all, a Kenyan,” Raila told a rally in Limuru last year.

On October 22, 2002, the National Alliance Party of Kenya (NAK) and the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) signed an MoU as equal partners. Kibaki was named as the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) presidential candidate with the late Michael Wamalwa as his running mate.

NARC was meant to form a 24-member Cabinet with slots shared equally between NAK and LDP. But when Kibaki announced his Cabinet, he left out Raila, who was to be named prime minister.

Kalonzo claims that the LDP-NAK MoU held that the Constitution was to be changed within 90 days.

According to Kalonzo, the pact was to have Raila as the Prime Minister, Kijana Wamalwa and Kalonzo Musyoka as vice-presidents, Charity Ngilu, Kipruto arap Kirwa and the late George Saitoti as deputy prime ministers and Moody Awori as Chief Co-ordinating Minister.

“Kibaki was of the view that the Constitution was to be changed in less than 90 days. When we were negotiating, Kibaki prevailed upon us to allow the late Kijana Wamalwa to be the first vice-president pending the constitutional amendment,” said Kalonzo.

He said after NARC came to power, Kibaki and his lieutenants started violating the provisions of the MoU they signed. The Standard made multiple attempts to contact former State House Comptroller Matere Keriri and Siaya Senator James Orengo to shed more light on these MoUs but they did not respond to our requests. Orengo is a long-time key ally of Raila.

Also in focus is the agreement that Uhuru would back Ruto to succeed him in 2022. Uhuru has said that his 10-year tenure is not long enough to implement the grand plan Jubilee Party has for Kenya.

 


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