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Details of Raila, Wiper deal

POLITICS
By - | December 4th 2012

By Moses Njagih and Paul Mutua

NAIROBI; KENYA: Perennial political rivals Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka will on Tuesday sign a pre-election pact in which the Langata MP will likely be presidential candidate and VP the running mate.

Last night, a confidant of Kalonzo intimated that the VP had spoken of a possibility of facing a nomination face-off with Raila to decide the candidate. The source, however, added that Kalonzo was willing to take the second position. He explained that a decision had been reached that both Raila and Kalonzo would be at today’s signing ceremony to make clear who would take which position.

However, two members of the negotiating team revealed the Wiper party was willing to accept the running mate position but on condition that the sharing of government slots would be on a 50-50 basis.

“In the agreement we have drafted, we are willing to take the running mate position or the top post so long us we shall equitably share government positions,’’ said another member of the Wiper negotiating team.

“We would not have agreed to play second fiddle to Mudavadi because Kalonzo is older than him. But when it comes to Raila, we could take the junior position because he is older,’’ said another member of the Wiper team.

True reformers

Also in the deal is Trade minister Moses Wetangula, who is the Ford Kenya leader.  However, it is not clear which position will be reserved for him in the pact.

There is also a possibility Deputy Prime minister Musalia Mudavadi could be brought on board, but the task of trying to woo him was left to Kalonzo.

Kalonzo explained the pact would involve a team of leaders who are serious in the fight against tribalism and negative ethnicity. “Once we sign the agreement, Kenyans will then know who the true reformers are ahead of the March 4 elections,’’ declared Kalonzo.

“The party leaders of ODM, WDM, and Ford Kenya and other parties hereby invite all Kenyans to witness the execution of a coalition agreement at KICC at 9am on December 4, 2012,’’ read the invitation letter signed by the co-chairmen of the negotiating team.

It added that Raila, Kalonzo and Wetangula shall be the “chief guests at the ceremony’. Earlier, there were conflicting reports on the part of the deal touching on presidential candidate and running mate, with one view emerging that both Kalonzo and Raila would run separately so as to force a run-off against the Uhuru-Ruto team, then support whoever emerges in the top-two positions on their side, in the first round, for the final assault. 

While a close ally of Kalonzo indicated the two had agreed on a common approach to the elections, sources from the PM’s side indicated that Kalonzo had declined the running-mate position.

But close confidants of the VP later told The Standard in confidence that the VP will finally take up the second position on offer.

Ironically, the deal will be signed at KICC, which hosted the tallying centre of the discredited 2007 elections over which main rival parties openly insulted each other.

Unlike in 2007 when they parted ways, Raila and Kalonzo will fight for the election under a common flag for their Orange Democratic and Wiper Democratic Movements. 

In announcing he is part of the deal, Kalonzo, who chose his Mwingi North constituency to reveal he had struck a deal with Raila, had also said that Justice minister and New Ford Kenya candidate Eugene Wamalwa was part of the deal. However, Wamalwa later called a radio station broadcasting in Western Kenya to denounce Kalonzo’s statement. Both Kalonzo and Wamalwa left the so-called G7 Alliance grumbling they had been taken for granted by TNA founder Deputy Prime minister Uhuru Kenyatta, and URP leader William Ruto.

The rivalry between Kalonzo and Raila peaked during the formative years of Raila’s Orange Movement before they parted ways. It got worse when, after the bungled 2007 elections, Kalonzo who came third, accepted the offer of Vice-President from President Kibaki.

Forced by political circumstances,  Kalonzo will sign the deal with Raila in Nairobi at 10am.

The country now waits to see if Mudavadi and Wamalwa will by close of this evening have struck a deal with other players or chosen to run their own race to the end.

But what is clear is that Narc Kenya’s Martha Karua will battle it on her own.

Restore and Build Kenya candidate, Prof James Ole Kiyiapi, will also most likely be on his own. Though Kenya National Congress candidate Peter Kenneth has been reported to be in talks with Mudavadi and Party of Action’s Raphael Tuju, it is also still uncertain if any of them will join hands or progress individually.

On Monday, the Registrar of Political Parties, Ms Lucy Ndung’u, told The Standard her office was ready to register coalition agreements and explained that about ten parties had indicated they were ready with their pacts. Though the Raila-Kalonzo sides appeared to have taken the oath of silence until the deal is formally unveiled, The Standard gleaned some facts, including how the two sides intend to handle further discussions on sharing of government positions such as those of the non-political Cabinet secretaries.  

Negotiating teams for both parties spent almost the all day and part of Sunday/Monday, working on a mutually acceptable proposal to be presented to the Registrar of Political Parties this morning.

Wiper Chairman and Defence Assistant minister David Musila co-chaired the talks with ODM’s Public Service Minister Dalmas Otieno.

Sharing seats

Other members from the Wiper side included Education minister Mutula Kilonzo, Chief Whip Johnston Muthama, MP Mohamed Affey and former Cabinet minister Mrs Nyiva Mwendwa. ODM’s team comprised Party Secretary General Prof Anyang Nyong’o, Lands Minister James Orengo and Local Government minister Dr Paul Otuoma. Kimilili MP Dr Esseli Simiyu and a party member Mr Chris Wamalwa represented Ford Kenya.

Sources said they had not gone into the details of sharing out seats adding this was a task left to the Coalition Management Board, which would present the final proposal to the principals and their advisers ahead of the signing. “We already have a deal but we are still talking because we need to fix everything by the end of the day today... we will be done by 6pm or latest 7pm, but certainly we are agreeing,” said Kangundo MP Johnstone Muthama, who has been a key figure in cobbling up the agreement.

Raila and Kalonzo met late through Sunday night, ending their coalition talks in the wee hours of on Monday morning before dispatching their negotiating teams to finish the job on Monday.

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