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Raila hosts Gideon, Muhoho as succession talks are stepped up

POLITICS
By Standard Team | April 14th 2021
Baringo Senator and KANU Chairman Gideon Moi (left), former Prime Minister Raila Odinga (centre) and Muhoho Kenyatta at Raila's Karen home in Nairobi on April 13, 2021. [Courtesy]

A flurry of meetings has characterised ODM leader Raila Odinga's diary in the last few days fueling speculation as to what is cooking in the shadows of power play and political scheming.

Yesterday, Raila hosted two important guests - KANU leader and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi and President Uhuru Kenyatta's brother Muhoho Kenyatta - for a meeting that discussed budding alliances with a view to shaping the political future of the country.

The meeting came two days after another 6-hour talks between President Kenyatta and Raila on Saturday where sources said the emerging issues in the broader handshake alliance, as well as the immediate future of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), were discussed at length.

Last Wednesday talks of a possible political engagement between Ruto and Raila rent their political airwaves after ODM deputy Party leader and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and the Deputy President met at a hotel in Maasai Mara in Narok, with an offer from Raila.

Oparanya would later meet Raila the following day in what was interpreted by many as a briefing to the ODM leader on the exploits of the Narok excursion. Two days ago, and almost three days after the story emerged, Ruto through his communication director Emmanuel Tallam dismissed reports of ongoing talks between him and Raila.

Raila, Gideon, and Muhoho meeting, a highly placed source intimated to The Standard, was a critical one that seeks to bring together the ODM leader together with the One Kenya Alliance of Amani National Congress (ANC) party leader Musalia Mudavadi, Wiper's Kalonzo Musyoka, Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula, Baringo Senator, and himself.

"What you see there is the building of a bigger alliance that will rattle the political scene, the presence of Muhoho in the meeting was an indication that the talks had the blessings of the President, their interests are the same," said a highly placed source privy to the talks.

He said that definitely, the alliance will have Raila working with Gideon, Mudavadi, Kalonzo, and Wetangula and with the blessings of President Kenyatta.

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Yesterday Gideon tweeted; "I am deeply impressed by The Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga's quick and steady recovery; a clear indication of his resilience even in the face of adversity. We wish him good health, long life, and boundless joy as one of our country's foremost patriots."

He added; "Paid Hon. @RailaOdingaa courtesy call accompanied by Mr Muhoho Kenyatta."

The source said that the move to visit the former Prime Minister was calculated and hinted at new alliances and coalitions ahead of the 2022 race to State House.

Jubilee Vice Chairman David Murathe has been on record before saying that ODM, will likely work with the rest of the team to ensure that they form the next government.

"The most important thing is the team that will deliver the government, it does not matter who is the captain or the goalkeeper, what we need is a victory and the one of Raila and the One Kenya Alliance will be a formidable one," said Murathe.

Yesterday, Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) Secretary-General Francis Atwoli commended Senator Moi for his continued engagement with other key political players ahead of the next polls.

Atwoli – who is a Kanu member – said that the independence party was keen on forming the next government and was pulling all the stops in consulting other players as realignments begin to take shape.

“Gideon Moi is a sober-minded politician and is open to making political relationships with other key figures in the scene,” said Atwoli.

He described his party leader as a sober and calculative politician who cannot make a mistake that would send the party to the opposition come 2022.

One Kenya Alliance has been picking momentum after it won three out of the six by-elections held recently in Machakos, Matungu, and Kabuchai.

In Machakos, a wiper candidate Agnes Kavindu trounced a Ruto party United Democratic Alliance (UDA)'s Arbunus Ngengele, In Matungu ANC's Peter Nabulindo won followed by ODM's David Were and UDA's Alex lanya came third while in Kabuchai Majombo Kalashinga beat Ruto's candidate Evans Kaikai.

Yesterday's meeting came as it emerged that Oparanya had on Saturday night held yet another meeting with Ruto at an Eldoret hotel. The meeting at Boma Inn hotel in Eldoret begun at 9 pm and ran up to three in the morning.

Oparanya according to his ally who did not want to be named said that he is under pressure from supporters to start working closely with Ruto for his political future.

"We told him that he cannot afford to start gambling because he did not have the luxury of time,” disclosed our source.

They would later drive to Boma Inn hotel where DP Ruto is said to have showed up at around 9pm in a meeting that has now sparked speculations of whether it had the blessings of Raila.

Oparanya who is serving his second term as governor has indicated he will vie for presidency next year.

Reports indicated that he was also keen on forming his own party so that he could be at par with Musalia and Ford-K leader Moses Wetangula to boost his bargaining power nationally. Yet, he could also be Raila's ally in the negotiation.

In December 2017, Oparanya came out fighting after he was linked to Ruto and Jubilee. It was around the same time, the governor was toying with idea of forming a political party that he would identify with.

“Some people have been saying I have decamped to Jubilee. To do what in Jubilee when my people have given me responsibilities to perform?” Oparanya told a gathering at Pan Paper ground in Lugari constituency then.

Those close to him said the two leaders have lined up a series of more meetings in coming weeks with focus on crafting a political formation that will complicate things for Mudavadi in Western and guarantee Ruto the region’s backing.

When contacted by The Standard yesterday, Echesa was economical with details of how the meetings were planned but confirmed that indeed he was involved in the arithmetic.

“We are hoping that the former Prime Minister will agree to shelve his ambition and back DP Ruto’s presidential quest even as we work on a realistic formula to achieve it,” said Echesa.

He clarified that his closeness to Oparanya was just to ensure the governor and his party boss agree to a working arrangement with Ruto.

“We are working on a coalition that will be a force to reckon with and be able to compete with rival formations,” said Echesa.

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