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Members of new alliance say outfit to shake political scene

POLITICS
By Allan Mungai and Emmanuel Too | March 26th 2021
Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka (right) flanked by Kanu chairman Gideon Moi, ANC's Musalia Mudavadi and Ford Kenya's Moses Wetang'ula during the launch of One Kenya Alliance in Nairobi yesterday. [Dennis Kavisu, Standard]
Three National Super Alliance (Nasa) coalition partners have given the strongest hint of their plans to cut the relationship with Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement.
 
Yesterday, Wiper Democratic Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi (ANC) and Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya) of Nasa, announced a partnership with KANU chair Gideon Moi ahead of the 2022 General Election.
 
The four announced they would work together under a new outfit known as One Kenya Alliance.
 
The alliance is packaging itself as the alternative to Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto, while at the same time endearing itself to President Uhuru Kenyatta.
 
The move seems to put a brake on Raila’s 2022 presidential ambitions and also targets Ruto, who is seeking to succeed President Kenyatta.
 
The announcement of One Kenya Alliance comes after a series of public spats pitting the parties’ leadership and their allies which saw ANC’s Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala fired by ODM as the deputy Minority Leader and replaced by Kilifi Senator Stewart Madzayo.
 
The reverberations from yesterday’s announcement could have consequences in the race to succeed Kenyatta.
 
“We stand here to tell Kenyans that if you thought there was no alternative, please start putting it in your mind that there is an alternative of hope in this country,” Mudavadi said at yesterday’s press conference.
 
Senator Gideon sought to allay fears that their alliance was built on quick sand.
 
“We did what skeptics thought we could not. We will do even more in the coming days,” said the Baringo senator.
 
He affirmed that their outfit would start countywide rallies to popularise the alliance once the ban on political rallies is lifted.
 
The outfit was first unveiled during the campaigns for by-elections in Kabuchai and Matungu constituencies and the Machakos senatorial seat.
 
The leaders pledged to support their respective candidates in the backyards.
 
Unity cemented
 
This unity that was also cemented at the first anniversary of the late President Daniel Arap Moi at Kabarak, Nakuru County, is now gaining traction after yesterday’s pronouncement.
 
Senator James Orengo and MPs Junet Mohammed and Otiende Amollo who are Raila’s key allies, accused Harambee House “cabals” of fronting the leadership of the alliance.
 
They warned they would not hesitate to severe links with the president if the State officials continued to interfere as was the case in the Matungu by-election where ANC’s Peter Nabulindo floored ODM’s David Were.
 
“We want Kenyans to have hope, we want Kenyans to see hope during these hard economic times of Covid-19.
 
“We want Kenyans to rally together so that going into the future we can work collectively to deal with the challenges we face,” Mudavadi said yesterday.
 
But ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna said the party was unfazed by the new alliance and that it was working on building its own coalitions.
 
The statement came just hours after Ruto, who has been missing in the public arena since his boss banned political rallies for 30 days as a Covid-19 containment measure, left open the possibility of working with Raila.
 
ODM suggested that Raila and Ruto could be forming their own coalition.
 
“Knowing that partnerships are an essential part of our politics, the Orange Democratic Movement is also working on a broader, better, and bolder alliance that will shake the country and shape the politics of the land for years to come,” Sifuna said.
 
Then referring to Wetang’ula, Mudavadi and Kalonzo, the ODM secretary said they were fed up with the “fading breed of tribal politicians”.
 
“We are focused on an alliance that adds to the national discourse, a coalition that adds not takes away from us,” Sifuna said.
 
ODM’s removal of Malala from the Senate position on Wednesday has had its partners in Nasa outraged.
 
Mudavadi said the party was still bitter about losing Matungu by-election to ANC and was blackmailing its partners in Nasa.
 
“We must move away from politics of blackmail.
 
“What we are seeing in the case of Malala and Wetang’ula many months ago was somebody trying to blackmail Kenyans. This will not work,” he said.
 
Mudavadi said that political sacrifices are made in the quest for democracy, and that Malala was just one of the prices to be paid.
 
“In politics, these are some of the sacrifices that are made to underpin the need for justice, freedom, and democracy,” Musalia said.
 
He added that Kenyans required a unity of purpose to deal with the issues of inflation and economic hardships.
 
“It is for this reason that we are taking these initial steps to bring the country together under the umbrella of One Kenya Alliance so that we can have a common objective: develop solutions together,” he said.
 
Kalonzo said ODM was deliberately misinterpreting the agreement that brought together Nasa.
 
Taking shape
 
“This new alliance is taking shape. We are cognizant of the fact that the Nasa coalition is still in existence,” Kalonzo said, adding that Malala was being punished for being a fearless leader.
 
“We are ready to give Kenyans a breath of fresh air that is not tribal and which recognises that Covid-19 is ravaging the country,” he said.
 
Analysts say the three by-election wins presents the One Kenya Alliance a chance to garner support ahead of next year’s General Election.
 
“This will consolidate their tribal bases and lock out ODM leader Raila Odinga and DP Ruto from national support,” said Hezron Owila, a political analyst.
 
He argued that this will reduce the popularity of Ruto and Raila, who are seen as front runners with national appeal.
 
“However, the circumstances present an opportunity for Raila and Ruto to form an alliance,” he said.
 
The newly formed alliance also declared that it will not field candidates in the upcoming by-elections and instead back President Kenyatta’s Jubilee party.
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