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OKA rocked by suspicion over Mudavadi's planned coalition

POLITICS
By Moses Nyamori | October 29th 2021
Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi in a past rally. [Dennis Kavisu, Standard]

One Kenya Alliance (OKA) members have been left scrambling for answers following alleged secret plans by one of the principals to register a new coalition as a fallback plan.

Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi is said to be mulling a new alliance called Kenya Kwanza. Mudavadi has reportedly reserved the name through his ally, Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala.

The move is said to be a reaction to behind-the-scene negotiations to have Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka work with ODM leader Raila Odinga in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s succession matrix.

The entry of politician Cyrus Jirongo and reports that one of the OKA principals was on his way out to join Deputy President William Ruto have further threatened to tear apart the nascent coalition ahead of the August 9, 2022 polls.

This comes as OKA principals Kalonzo, Mudavadi, Kanu chairman Gideon Moi and Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang'ula troop to Kakamega today for a two-day campaign.

Yesterday, Mr Malala admitted writing to the Registrar of Political Parties Anne Nderitu to reserve Kenya Kwanza as an alliance.

But he said this was a fallback arrangement in case of a dispute in registering OKA, adding that they have since dropped the plan.

“You know reserving a name does not mean a plan to register a party or a coalition. When you take a name and symbol to the Registrar of Political Parties, you give options. We forwarded so many names but the one that has been reserved is One Kenya Alliance,” said Mr Malala.

He added, “I know you have seen the letter that I wrote to the Registrar of Political Parties; we were basically trying names. It is not that it is a fallback plan for us as ANC."

ANC deputy party leader Ayub Savula defended the decision to reserve Kenya Kwanza, arguing that it was done out of caution to prevent a scenario where some people could register an outfit with names similar to OKA.

Mr Savula claimed that the narrative was being driven by their opponents "who are scared of their strategy in the succession battle."

“We have reserved so many names so that anybody cannot take a name similar to OKA. It was meant to avoid any other person to register such names that may cause confusion.

“The claims for a Plan B are useless talk. We will remain united and pick our presidential candidate through consensus,” he said.

The Standard has learnt that the decision by Mudavadi's allies to reserve the name was informed by the fact that OKA was reserved by Kalonzo's team.

The ANC leader is on record insisting that he has to run for the top seat, which has triggered infighting in the alliance.

Sources said that the thinking by Mudavadi’s strategists was to register the new alliance and rope in other presidential candidate.

The yet-to-be registered alliance is said to be targeting National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, Narc Kenya party leader Martha Karua, former UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi and Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana.

Their plan is to force a rerun in the presidential race before cutting a deal with the potential winner in the final contest.

Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr said that the plan for the new outfit could be as a result of the infighting in OKA.

“It is definitely a fallback plan for Mudavadi because OKA was a Kalonzo idea. It was reserved by Kalonzo. Everybody has to be alert at this moment because the question of flag-bearer is a big problem,” said Mutula.

At the same time, Mutula and Makueni MP Daniel Manzo confirmed that there were efforts to have Raila and Kalonzo work together ahead of the elections.

The two sides have, however, not reached a deal after it emerged that the number two slot will go to Mt Kenya, ruling out a Raila-Kalonzo ticket.

Uhuru’s team that is said to be behind the talks has told the two sides to negotiate and come up with an arrangement that will accommodate Kalonzo

“It is not a question of softening their position. The fact is they are caught between a rock and a hard place. The position of Kalonzo in that proposed deal is not settled. In the discussion that we have heard, even the number two slot has been given away,” Mutula said.

Manzo said the only way to beat Ruto was by rallying behind a presidential candidate. He added that they have been informed that the deputy president position will go to Mt Kenya, therefore they have to negotiate for other slots.

“They must talk urgently. They must either stick together or be ready to make Deputy President William Ruto president,” said the MP.

Kalonzo’s side is also said to be uneasy with the entry of Jirongo in OKA. The team feels that the presence of the politician makes the coalition 'Western heavy', and that in the event OKA goes for negotiations to pick a flag-bearer it could be tilted in favour of the three leaders from Western Kenya.

ANC Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi claimed that Mudavadi "is surrounded by a small clique of selfish Luhya politicians who are engaged in political gambling."

“Mudavadi is a very senior politician who should not be engaging in misguided and highly risky political experiments to please very junior and weak politicians and paid brokers around him,” said Mr Osotsi.

He added, “The anti-Raila narrative has not helped him especially due to the fact that he quietly joined the Raila-Uhuru handshake through the backdoor. People know he has continued to enjoy the personal benefits at the expense of the people." 

Kanu Secretary-General Nick Salat yesterday said they not aware of plans to register a new alliance. Mr Salat said the party was focused on strengthening its structures.

Malala said, "Tomorrow we hope the principals will give us timelines on when to unveil our candidate. In the near future, we are going to debunk the narrative of the two-horse race. We are coming in strongly. People will see fire."

The OKA principals will meet delegates before holding public rallies in Kakamega town, Kayega market and Chavakali.

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