OKA dilemma and Musalia Mudavadi’s secret card

ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

It is not in doubt that One Kenya Alliance and its luminaries are in a tight political spot. Politics is a game of numbers. Our political democracy is tailored along the western model of plurality of votes.

Political contestation especially for the coveted seat of the presidency will be characterised by two dominant contestants taking the form of individuals, political parties or coalitions of parties. This reality has taken its toll on OKA in the run-up to the August 9 polls.

Consequently, the big question is whether OKA will survive the political storm or it will disintegrate and slide into political oblivion even before the race is officially sanctioned by IEBC. As to Mr Gideon Moi and Mr Moses Wetang’ula, numerous options are available. They can adjust downward their political ambitions and land on positions that are commensurate with their political capital.

As to Kalonzo Musyoka, the man is between the devil and the deep blue sea. The mistrust among OKA partners, his feeling of entitlement due to seniority to be number one among equals, the weakening of OKA coalition and the arm-twisting and blackmail by the Ukambani political class no doubt places the former VP in a hard place.

On the other hand, standing tall, is Musalia Mudavadi, who from recent political escapades, is on his own venture. A lone ranger seemingly is out of political liaison with other three principals.

OKA principals Moses Wetang'ula (Ford-Kenya), Gideon Moi (Kanu), Cyrus Jirongo (UDP), Musalia Mudavadi (ANC) and Wiper's Kalonzo Musyoka. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

In light of these developments, the puzzle would be how does the political future look like for the former deputy prime minister? Is he warming up to deputise any of the two protagonists, Raila Odinga or William Ruto? Will he be the proverbial strongest man who stands alone to end?

Lest we forget, Mr Mudavadi was the second in command within the powerful Pentagon structure of the ODM juggernaut of 2007. In sporting language, he was at that time no doubt the second pound for pound in our politics.

He is a chief founder of the then NASA coalition and credited for coining the sellable slogan of “Nasa Hao” as the coalition’s campaign mantra in the 2017 race to State House. Thereafter what came of him? Unlike Raila, his former and potentially future political ally, Mr Mudavadi lacks political magic to transform himself into a more lethal political form. An excellent team player as witnessed in ODM and NASA, but seemingly powerless political lone ranger.

Technically out of OKA, the political potency of the ANC boss continues to wane. The more he isolates himself from his co-principals, the slimmer his chances for presidency. As to whether he’s packaging himself in readiness to take up number two position in the ‘Wheelbarrow” movement, sufficient indications point to that.  Other political pundits of course hold that Mudavadi is just buying time before jumping unto “Azimio” bandwagon. Either way, time will tell.  

ODM leader Raila Odinga consoles Musalia Mudavadi during the burial of Rosebella Jerono Mudavadi at Budira village in Vihiga County. December 18, 2021. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

However, if the two options were under consideration for the dejure Luhyan kingpin and be true that he won’t contest for the presidency as he’s ‘threatening’, then Mudavadi ought to proceed with circumspection.

Methinks, if Raila's presidency was to be the Mandela moment, in the event he wins as contended by a section of political pundits, then arguably it would be politically prudent for Mudavadi to gravitate towards Azimio family. Secondly, 20 years ago Mudavadi was Vice President of Kanu and the Republic when Ruto was a minion. It would be a travesty, in my estimation, for Mudavadi to reduce himself to a level of deputising his former underling. 

-The writer is an advocate of the High Court of Kenya