Uhuru, Raila begin talks on pre-poll pact

Jubilee secretary-general Raphael Tuju, vice-chair David Murathe, National Assembly Minority Whip Junet Mohammed and ODM secretary-general Edwin Sifuna after the meeting. [Courtesy]

President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga have started a process of entering a pre-election agreement in what is set to drastically shape the 2022 succession contest.

Allies of the Handshake partners yesterday held their first meeting at a Nairobi hotel to discuss details of a possible alliance that they intend to use to capture power at the end of Uhuru’s 10-year term.

Raphael Tuju, the Jubilee secretary-general, vice-chair David Murathe, National Assembly Minority Whip Junet Mohammed, Deputy Majority Whip Maoka Maore and ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna held the meeting just days after Uhuru reportedly declared that he would back one of the National Super Alliance (Nasa) politicians.

But Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka has denied that the president made the remarks during a meeting held in State House, Nairobi, between the Head of State and leaders from Ukambani.

Last evening, Murathe and Sifuna disclosed that they were acting on instructions from their party leaders in coming up with the new political formation.

Coalition agreement

“It was a meeting of like minds to take to the next level a mechanism for coalition arrangement with ODM. We are just following what our party leader (Uhuru) said when he appreciated the peace and stability that has been borne thought the handshake and the enabling environment provided by Raila,” said Murathe.

He added that the meeting was to lay ground for finer details to be arrived at by the two political figures. “We are just working on the technicalities and laying ground; the finer details will be discussed by the two principals,” he said. The vocal Uhuru ally described the meeting as “fruitful and a very good conversation”.

The ruling Jubilee Party already has a coalition agreement with Kanu, which is led by Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, as well as a cooperation agreement with Kalonzo’s Wiper Party.

Gideon and Kalonzo are already in a separate One Kenya Alliance that also brings together Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi and Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetangúla.

There have been behind-the-scenes efforts by Uhuru to bring the four principals together for them to come up with a formidable team in next year’s general elections.

The efforts have, however, been frustrated by political squabbles among the four principals amid a sustained push to have Raila back one of the three politicians in the coalition.

The latest development implies that Uhuru will back a political formation that will face off with his deputy William Ruto, who is also seeking to succeed him.

Sifuna revealed that top organs of the two political parties have formally started engaging for a 2022 pre-election agreement.

“We had our initial meeting today, Jubilee was represented by Tuju and Murathe while Junet and myself represented ODM,” he said.

“We have started the talks that will see us having a pre-2022 coalition agreement with Jubilee. We are engaging formally with the organs of the two political parties.” last evening said the talks aim at converting the March 9, 2018 Handshake between Uhuru and Raila into a political formation for 2022.