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OKA leaders vow ruling won't shake their unity

By Allan Mungai | August 22nd 2021

One Kenya Alliance principals Musalia Mudavadi, Moses Wetang’ula, Gideon Moi and Kalonzo Musyoka. [File, Standard]

The Court of Appeal Friday judgement dismissing the constitutional review process through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) will impact heavily on hopes of One Kenya Alliance of capturing power in 2022.

The decision will carry implications to the alliance between Kanu's Gideon Moi, Amani National Congress' Musalia Mudavadi, Wiper's Kalonzo Musyoka and Ford Kenya's Moses Wetang'ula.

In making proposals to expand the Executive to solve the winner-takes-all question, the BBI birthed through the Handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM's Raila Odinga, had provided a power-sharing option.

One of the key proposals of the BBI amendments to expand the Executive by introducing a Prime Minister (PM) and two deputies and hybrid Cabinet in the National Assembly, could have provided positions for negotiations.

There was also a proposal for Official Leader of Opposition, which could have seen the second in the presidential race occupy the same, as opposed to current situation.

The reality of the changing political landscape and fortunes started to creep in immediately after the Court of Appeal made its decree, with parties issuing a statement that betrayed their eagerness to put the matter behind them.

The statement also carried a reassurance that OKA would survive. “We still have an opportunity to hold a broad-based, honest and people-driven dialogue on expediting progressive proposals requiring legislative and policy interventions," OKA said in a statement on Saturday.

“As we had unequivocally declared in Naivasha, One Kenya Alliance is solidly on course to be the alliance of choice for Kenyans, irrespective of the court case outcome,” it added.

For the past three weeks, Moi, Mudavadi, Kalonzo and Wetang'ula have been in meetings with President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila on forming a united front.

But those negotiations, with elusive deal-breaker, are going to get tougher with Uhuru and Raila’s bargaining chip taken away by the court.

With the path to 2022 becoming clearer, analysts say OKA has several options, but the collapse of the BBI process changes the dynamics.

One Kenya Alliance principals Musalia Mudavadi, Kalonzo Musyoka, Gideon Moi and Moses Wetangula. [File, Standard]

How were they fitting into Raila and Uhuru’s strategy of capturing power?

Before the court verdict, the alliance was coming to the table with the hope of clinching some of the positions BBI promised. There was something for everyone.

Now the result could also serve as a wedge in the budding alliance. But Prof David Monda, a political science lecturer at City University in New York, believes their best chance would be to stick together.

“If Wiper, ANC, KANU and Ford K are hopelessly divided over who should carry the banner for president, that would work in Ruto’s favour,” he said.

After the judgement, Kalonzo said there was no loser in the process and that Kenya had come out of it with a stronger democracy.

Dr Francis Owakah, a philosophy lecturer at the University of Nairobi said there would be an upside for OKA. "The BBI judgement has little positive effect on them," he said.

Dr Timothy Onduru, history lecturer at the Moi University, said OKA is in a sticky position after the judgement. He said their chances of going against Raila or Ruto were limited.

"It is a bit tricky for OKA because if they compete against Ruto and Raila then we could see a run-off," he said. 

Download the BBI Judgement by all seven Judges - Civil Appeal No. E291 of 2021
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