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Kanu insists One Kenya cannot ignore Raila in 2022 game plan

POLITICS
By Moses Nyamori | August 16th 2021
KANU national Chairman Gideon Moi with ODM leader Raila Odinga.

Infighting by affiliate parties of One Kenya Alliance (OKA) is now threatening to complicate the identification of a flag bearer for the ticket.

The four principals of the nascent coalition today troop to Naivasha for a retreat amid hard stance taken by allies of Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and Amani National Congress (ANC) boss Musalia Mudavadi over the flag bearer.

The coalition brings together Mudavadi, Kalonzo, Kanu chairman Gideon Moi and Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula.

Kanu Secretary-General Nick Salat has said OKA cannot ignore ODM leader Raila Odinga in its game plan and accused a section of the principals of taking hard stance on who should be the flag bearer.

“Everybody is insisting on their preferred candidate but that is not the way to run things. It is important for people to sit down and talk. It is about what formula will hand us a win not the question of who has what numbers. That is the discussion that I hope to have tomorrow (today),” said Mr Salat.

He explained that said those discussing the issue of flag bearer were jumping the gun since they were more concerned with the pending ruling on BBI. He said it is until the matter is determined that the coalition can now come up with an inclusive formula.

“There are many things at play. You can’t jump the gun at the moment. You can’t find inclusivity right now before we are sure with the BBI. Where do you leave Raila in this? You can’t ignore Raila. The only formula that we pray for is that we get a favourable ruling on BBI,” said the ally of Senator Moi.

But Makueni MP Daniel Manzo – an ally of Kalonzo – said that criteria of picking a candidate should factor in the number of elected leaders a party has in the current Parliament. His suggestion directly roots for a Kalonzo presidency since Wiper has more elected leaders compared to the three partner parties.

“Picking a candidate should not be a complicated affair. You all know who has more votes, who has more elected leaders among the four principals. That is the formula of picking a candidate,” said Mr Maanzo. He maintained that OKA will not soften its position to back the ODM leader again for the top seat.

“One thing I know is that we are not going to support Raila. If the principals decide to back him they will be doing so on their own. We can agree on anything else but not on Raila,” said the MP.

Lugari MP Ayub Savula insisted that if it is about numbers then Mudavadi is a clear flag bearer for the coalition. He said that the Western bloc has more numbers compared to Ukambani.

“We will adopt a common approach that is acceptable to everybody because if we start the argument of numbers then we will insist that voter population where the candidate comes from should be the main criteria,” said Mr Savula, who is also ANC deputy party leader. “The issue of flag bearer will come much later. According to the Political Parties Act, a coalition agreement with name of flag bearer is required three months to the election,” he added.

Ford Kenya acting Secretary-General Chris Wamalwa (Kiminini) said that the coalition has contracted local and international survey firms to gauge the popularity of the four principals in picking a presidential candidate.

The Standard has learnt that the decision to carry out a scientific survey was to forestall fallout over dissatisfaction in picking a flag bearer.

“We are using some intervention like scientific surveys. Once we get those reports we will sit and evaluate. It is something that you cannot just wake up and announce; it is procedural and methodological,” said Dr Wamalwa.

“Our technical team is already working on it. We have identified local and international firms for purposes of looking at reliability and validity and to remove the issues of bias. The technical team is handling all that,” he added.

Yesterday, Mudavadi said that an eight-member technical committee will today present a progress report on OKA when they convene in Naivasha for two days. He revealed that the retreat was a joint Parliamentary Group meeting by the four affiliate parties for briefing on the roadmap to 2022 General Election.

“This is a PG of the parties that started the process of coming up with the new coalition. Obviously you have to bring your Members of Parliament to such a meeting,” said Mudavadi.

“A technical team will give a progress report on what they have achieved so far in the build up to OKA,” he added.

Savula disclosed that the technical team has been preparing Memorandum of Understanding that will be presented to the four principals today.

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