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BBI defeat upsets President Uhuru’s succession calculations

By Jacob Ng’etich | August 24th 2021


One Kenya Alliance (OKA) Principals Musalia Mudavadi, Kalonzo Musyoka, Moses Wetangula, and Gideon Moi (in cap) join their members during a retreat in Naivasha. [Antony Gitonga, Standard]

President Uhuru Kenyatta faces a monumental task of cutting a power deal for a united opposition against his deputy William Ruto in the 2022 elections.

Tomorrow, the president will host One Kenya Alliance (OKA) principals and ODM leader Raila Odinga in a bid to craft a winning coalition. 

The last two meetings at State House, Mombasa, ended in a stalemate after the OKA principals refused a political arrangement where they would have to back Raila Odinga in next year General Election.

The constitutional amendments sought to expand the Executive by creating five positions that the president had hoped to use to convince the Opposition leaders to work together in a power-sharing framework.

The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020 had created the positions of a Prime Minister and two deputies. That, together with positions of the president and his deputy would have been enough to cover the five Opposition leaders.

Uhuru would have used the slots to work out his political arithmetic to benefit Raila and OKA principals Musalia Mudavadi (ANC), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Kanu chair Gideon Moi and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula (Ford Kenya).

After the Court of Appeal dealt a blow to the BBI, the president and running mate positions are the only ones on the table.

At least three of the five leaders will have to contend with running for lower positions like governor, senator or Member of the National Assembly.

Speculation over the president’s succession game plan has attracted the attention of Ruto who has repeatedly told the opposition to organise themselves early so that they can face him.

On Sunday while addressing congregants at ACK Church in Wang’uru, Ngurubani Town, Mwea Constituency, Kirinyaga county, the DP asked the Opposition leaders to stop bothering the president with their political disorganisation and let him work for Kenyans. 

Yesterday, allies of the OKA principals maintained that they would only support an arrangement where Mudavadi is the presidential candidate indicating the difficulty that Uhuru has in ensuring a joint opposition candidate.

“We have told Mudavadi that he should not bargain for anything less than being the alliance’s flag bearer. Worse still, we will not agree to have him support Raila for another stab at the presidency.

"If he agrees to that, it will be a personal decision and he will be on his own,” said Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala.

Lugari MP Ayub Savula insisted that it was Mudavadi or no one else. “Mudavadi has to be in the ballot next year,” said Savula.

Similar sentiments were shared by Kalonzo’s allies.

“Why should we support Raila again? We have gone that route twice without any success, we feel that we must change.

"We feel that we should try Kalonzo this time round,” said Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua.

Raila, Kalonzo and Mudavadi have been out of power for the last ten years after serving in the Grand Coalition government as prime minister, vice president and deputy prime minister respectively .

The three are now in dilemma and a blunder in the next elections could consign them to the political cold.

“The three politicians are working very had towards political oblivion, they are using the same old path without new ideas. No strategy to charm new voters,” political analyst Javas Bigambo said.

“After all those State House meetings, and their boardroom talks, they have done nothing new, they are in slumber when Ruto their main competitor is covering ground.

"They should be outside there wooing the new voters so that when they consolidate, they do that with strength,” said Bigambo.

He added: “Time is running out of their voters want to know what they stand for and what they will do if they get the presidency and not just clinging on Uhuru for endorsement.” 

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