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Raila receives brief on night talks with DP

POLITICS
By Jacob Ng'etich | April 10th 2021

From Left: Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa, former PM Raila Odinga and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya.

It has now emerged that a meeting between Deputy President William Ruto and ODM deputy party leader Wycliffe Oparanya in Masai Mara was a mission to seek new alliance.

Insiders privy to the talks told The Saturday Standard that in the meeting, Oparanya was Raila’s emissary who had been tasked to send feelers and open talks with the DP and explore political arrangements for 2022 presidential contest.

In the options for Ruto, he is to support Raila for one term and take up the position of prime minister if the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) birthed through the Handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta is endorsed by Kenyans.

The second option was for Raila to support Ruto in his presidential bid, with Raila settling for the PM post, with a senior politician from Mount Kenya being the deputy president in both the scenarios.

In the first option, the running mate slot for Raila will come from Central Kenya with former Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri or Narc Kenya Party Leader Martha Karua’s names being mentioned while the deputy PM could go to either Coast Governor Hassan Joho or Oparanya.

In the second option, the choice for DP remains with Kiunjuri or Karua or any other viable candidate in the region to lock the Mt Kenya vote, while the choice for DPMs also remain the same.

If the two options fail, Raila maintains they will explore a win-win situation as long as they do not fall into President Kenyatta’s trap to anoint one of the One Kenya Alliance principals, who include Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi, Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka, Baringo Senator Gideon Moi and his Bungoma counterpart Moses Wetang’ula.

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Ruto is said to have remained non-committal, saying the options are still open and it was the beginning of the conversation.

Yesterday, Oparanya, also the Kakamega governor, met Raila and briefed him on his Wednesday talks with Ruto. In an interview with The Saturday Standard, Oparanya said he met Raila at 9am at his Karen residence and they held talks that lasted till 2pm. They discussed many issues, including the talks with Ruto.

The governor said he met Ruto in a Masai Mara hotel and their talk went late into the night and the following morning.

He noted that as soon as he met Ruto in Masai Mara, he called Raila and informed him of their encounter, and that Raila told him he did not have a problem.

“I chanced on Ruto at Masai Mara where I had gone for my business, and since he is someone that I have worked with before in the ODM and previous government, I decided that we meet and catch up. The meeting went on late in the night. We also met for breakfast before he left for Nairobi,” said Oparanya.

The meeting was also attended by former Cabinet secretaries Kiunjuri and Rashid Echesa, and the area MP Gabriel Tongoyo.

In an interview at the Wilson Airport VIP lounge, flanked by Siaya Senator James Orengo, Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o and nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi, Oparanya denied claims that he had been sent by Raila as an emissary.

The Kakamega governor, who has declared interest to vie for presidency on an ODM ticket, said during his talks with Ruto, they discussed politics, the economy and alliances that are currently taking shape.

He said Ruto told him he had set himself up and was ready for the battle to succeed President Kenyatta.

“He asked me about the coalitions we were working on and we told him that there was nothing concrete. He asked us if we can support him since he had put up a big war chest for 2022. I also asked him if he can support me in my presidential bid,” said Oparanya.

The ODM deputy party leader, who was joined by Joho at the airport, noted that in politics there were no enemies and the two leaders acknowledged that there was still room for Ruto to work with the Orange party for the 2022 polls.

Ruaraka MP T J Kajwang’ said on KTN News that Kenyans will be seeing the emergence of a number of alliances in the coming days, adding that was the nature of politics.

Future engagements

The Masai Mara meeting was meant to set the stage for future engagements that could culminate in a pre-election coalition ahead of the 2022 polls depending on how the BBI goes at the referendum.

Oparanya said whichever way, the ODM party would be in the next government and they would explore all options.

According to highly placed sources, the secret talks in Narok will be ongoing for possible re-alignment ahead of the presidential race.

Raila has been under pressure from MPs in his ODM party to sever ties with Uhuru and begin to put his best foot forward ahead of 2022.

The MPs noted that President Kenyatta had been playing political games with Raila when he had shown interest in supporting the One Kenya Alliance leaders.

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