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2022: Gideon Moi makes inroads as Uhuru succession debate rages

POLITICS
By Steve Mkawale | November 18th 2018
Former President Daniel Arap Moi (center) with Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka (left) and Baringo senator Gideon Moi on November 16, 2018. [Joseph Kipsang, Standard]

Baringo Senator Gideon Moi may not have declared his intention to vie for presidency in 2022, but his recent political forays in various parts of the country are giving all indications to that.

And the reception from counties outside Rift Valley he has visited in the recent past is telling. He is getting warm reception.

The KANU national chairman is keen in reviving his party’s machinery in readiness for the political realignments ahead of the next General Election.

Party officials and political analysts say Gideonhas adopted a two-pronged approach, which has seen him revamp his party and also build his national profile. Apart from using grassroots leaders, Kanu linkages and his friends across the country, he is also exploiting the political network of his father former President Moi to reach out to the masses.

Gideon, credited for lifting the party from its low moments when it lost power in 2002 and subsequent lackluster performance, has lately been visiting meeting bipartisan grassroots leaders and making new friends even in areas where Kanu has not been performing well.

Before the senator took over and consolidated the party’s leadership, a faction led by former powerful minister the late Nicholas Biwott was threat to the party unity. Biwott would later abandon Kanu to form Vision Party of Kenya.

“The Senator seems to have a plan for the party and himself. He has revamped Kanu and his move is to build his own political network,” says former Kanu supremo Wilson Leitich.

Kanu Secretary General Nick Salat says his party chairman has a key role to play in the President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga handshake deal.

“Our main focus is to unite Kenyans and ensure the building bridges initiative is successful for us (Kenyans) to have a strong united nation,” Salat told the Sunday Standard. When Uhuru won the repeat presidential poll in October 26, Gideonhosted him at his father’s Kabarak home.  Early this year, Uhuru returned to be received again by the Senator before having talks with the senior Moi.

Other high profile visits to the second president where the Kanu chairman played a pivotal role include that of Raila, Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli and Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa, and Friday’s visit by former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka. Raila, during the visit to Kabarak was accompanied by Mvita MP Abdulswamat Nasir, a son of Sharif Nassir, the late Coast region’s Kanu supremo, Vihiga Senator George Khaniri and Gideon Mungaro among others.

Last elections

In September, he hosted elders from the influential Meru’s Nchuri Ncheke in Ngata. Before the last elections, Uhuru’s mother, Mama Ngina visited Gideon’s father and the discussions remain a guarded secret. Gideon’svisit to Siaya during former US President Barack Obama’s tour, and more recent, Homa Bay, is part of selling Kanu and making new friends in the larger Luo Nyanza where since independence, Kanu was unpopular.

His close working relationship with Raila, the region’s kingpin, Kanu says, is the ingredient that is needed as 2022 approaches.

Also among other areas and regions, he has visited include Samburu, Kajiado, Machakos, Garissa and Mombasa. During his father’s presidency, Kanu enjoyed massive support in these regions whose kingpins were Stanley Oloitiptip, Mulu Mutisya, Hussein Mohammed and Nasir.

Friendships

Local leaders who have welcomed him have prevailed upon him to offer himself for presidency but he has been cautious, only reminding them that he is keen on building friendship with all Kenyans and their leaders.

“I am on a mission of building new friends and explore how we can build a more cohesive Kenya where all within its borders will be at ease with their neighbours. That is what I hold so dear now,” he said in Kajiado.

Development projects especially the expansion of education infrastructure and his generosity, made senior Moi popular even after the advent of plural politics in 1992.

Gideon will be banking on all those and others as he prepares to become the fifth president. Analysts say the senator have already won a chunk of the vote-rich Rift Valley. According to them, apart from Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot, Turkana, counties outside Rift have shown to embrace Gideon more than his competitors. “There will be a big fight for votes between Gideon and his rivals. As of now, Rift Valley is not for anybody’s taking. But a careful analysis in cosmopolitan counties, which are many, indicates the arithmetic favours Moi junior,” says Ajwang Agina, political scientist.  

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