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Likely scenarios of pre-election coalitions ahead of March 4

COMMENTARY
By - | November 4th 2012

By Adams Oloo

December 4 is the deadline for depositing pre-election pacts with the Registrar of Political Parties. Any formal pre-election memorandum of understanding must therefore be concluded before this date, according to the Elections Act. 

But informal pre-election coalitions do not have to adhere to this timeline. Key parties that are likely to initiate pre-election pacts include ODM, TNA, URP, UDF and Wiper. On the other hand the parties that are likely to be reached out to include New Ford-Kenya, Ford-Kenya, Narc, PNU, GNU, APK, Kanu, POA and DP.  This is because these parties either have weak or no presidential candidates or their presidential aspirants are likely to drop out of the race.

The last category of parties are those that will most likely go to the finish line of the race mainly to publicise their presidential candidature for future elections. These include Narc-Kenya, KNC and Restore and Build Kenya party.

TNA is the party most likely to enter into the most numerous pacts either formally, by default or informally. First, TNA is likely to enter into a formal pact with New Ford-Kenya for two main reasons. First is to lure Eugene Wamalwa as a running mate for TNA’s presidential aspirant Uhuru Kenyatta. Second, is to penetrate Western. And third is to lure Wamalwa with Leader of Majority party position in the event Ruto is Uhuru’s running mate.

Second, TNA is going to enter into a pact with PNU. PNU is basically on a slow puncture mode and hence its eagerness to enter into a pact with TNA before it becomes irrelevant. TNA might coerce parties in Mt Kenya region to fold up and join it. These parties will, however, not fold up, as they do not want to lose their identity.  These parties include APK, GNU and DP.

Another party that is also likely to partner with TNA is Raphael Tuju’s Party of Action.  The biggest pre-election coalition that TNA is eyeing is with Ruto’s URP. In the final analysis a pact that brings all the G7 Alliance parties together is unlikely.

ODM though remains the most popular party.  Its leader Raila Odinga has also consistently led in all opinion polls over the last four years.  The party is likely to reach out to Ford-Kenya for a pre-election pact.

Ford-Kenya’s dalliance with ODM will be informed by New Ford-Kenya’s links with TNA.  A pre-election pact with Ford-Kenya will also be geared to counter forays of New Ford-K/TNA and UDF Western. Second, the party is likely to reach out to Kanu which still has a presence in Baringo, Marakwet, and Pokot. Although at the moment an ODM/URP pre-election merger does not look distant, it cannot be ruled out. ODM will also be leaving its option open to entice Wiper should Ruto enter a pact with TNA.

A pact between Uhuru and Ruto will draw instant reaction from Wiper, which will feel shortchanged and out of political pragmatism seek a pact with ODM. But a pact that brings ODM, URP and Wiper together looks unlikely for now.

In the event that Uhuru and Ruto are cleared to run before December 4, and TNA/URP craft an alliance, this would jolt UDF into action – possibly to reach out to ODM or Wiper for an alliance.

Just like UDF, Wiper is pegging its hope on the possibility that Uhuru and Ruto will not be in the race due to their ICC cases.  Kalonzo, however, is unlikely to play second fiddle to any candidate/party in the G7 Alliance. In the event that Uhuru/Ruto lay claim to the presidential candidate mantle or settle for a different compromise candidate, Kalonzo will either go it alone or seek alternatives.

URP is trying to position itself as the party that will tilt the balance either to ODM or TNA through its leader William Ruto. To this end Ruto has been talking to ODM and TNA. In both cases Ruto will be seeking to be a running mate of either Raila or Uhuru. If he chooses to go with Uhuru/TNA, he will have to accept to be running mate. This choice will be informed by the fact that they both share the baggage of ICC and would therefore as a result of destiny seek to hang out together. On the other hand Ruto as a deputy president of Raila could be packaged as a ‘cleansing’ of Ruto who in any case was in ODM with Raila during post-election violence.

Narc-K and KNC which are led by Martha Karua and Peter Kenneth respectively, are unlikely to end in any pre-election pact.

Although Narc and New Ford-Kenya are toying with TNA, their support base is minimal and, therefore, their traction does not carry much weight.

The writer is the Chairman of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at University of Nairobi

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