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Raila preparing to face 2017 election without Kalonzo, Wetangula

ODM sources also say Senator Johnson Muthama, following his recent dressing down by Mr Musyoka for allegedly working with his Siaya counterpart James Orengo in campaigning for Mr Odinga at the expense of his party boss, might be considering joining ODM or an Ukambani regional party to ally with ODM.

By Phillip MuleeThursday, 24 Nov 2016 19:07 EAT

Mr Musyoka (centre) with Bomet governor Isaac Ruto (r) and senator Gideon Moi.

The rift in the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) over its choice of presidential candidate is bound to end in an irreconcilable split, the Kenya Free Press can authoritatively report. Despite opposition chief Raila Odinga downplaying the inside wars over the coalition’s presidential candidate, all seems not well and Mr Odinga’s team is looking at options to approach the upcoming election without any of his current top allies.

Mr Odinga’s number two in the coalition, who is also the leader of Wiper Democratic Party Kalonzo Musyoka has remained firm that Mr Odinga should not contest the election but instead pronounce him Tosha saying the former prime minister had lost the seat too many times. Raila is remembered for declaring Kibaki Tosha, an affirmation that Mwai Kibaki be the opposition’s candidate, in 2002. That alliance led to the defeat of Kanu’s 40-year-rule.

On his part, the other CORD principal and Bungoma senator, Moses Wetangula, has gone into hibernation to plan how to counter the planned formation of a National Super Alliance (NASA) which is being mooted by Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi. Sources within Mr Odinga’s party, ODM, say Mr Mudavadi is determined to come on board of an opposition alliance giving him considerable clout. Mr Wetangula sees Mr Mudavadi as edging him out of the perch of Western Kenya leaders in such an alliance.

The power sharing line-up that has been crafted under NASA has been rejected by Mr Odinga’s side who are loathe to present to voters positions that are currently not in the constitution. “It would be a disaster to begin telling voters in December 2016 that we want to amend the constitution to create positions for leaders,” said a well-placed source in the Raila secretariat.

In the line-up developed by Mr Mudavadi’s team, Mr Musyoka is named as presidential candidate with Mr Mudavadi as his deputy while Mr Odinga is designated prime minister in a yet to be created position through a constitutional amendment with two deputies – Bomet governor Isaac Ruto and Mombasa governor Ali Hassan Joho.

A different line-up, also from the same team, has Mr Odinga as president with Mr Mudavadi as his deputy and Mr Musyoka as prime minister, with deputies being Baringo senator Gideon Moi and Mr Joho. However, the Kenya Free Press has learnt reliably that Mr Odinga is yet to discuss any of the lineups. The most probable recourse for Mr Odinga is to announce early next month that he would not “waste time discussing alliances,” according to the source, who said the formation of NASA “was planting doubts” among Mr Odinga’s supporters.

Mr Odinga’s team has determined that, while he should try to retain Mr Musyoka in CORD, that should not be at the cost of “endless negotiations” for who is to lead the party. “The question of who is to lead the coalition is clear in everybody’s mind except Mr Musyoka’s,” said the source, who intimated to us that many leaders in Mr Musyoka’s Ukambani backyard had been “mystified” by his aggressive campaign to lead CORD.

As the dispute over the coalition leadership has enveloped the coalition’s preparation for key electoral milestones like voter registration, ODM has rolled out a programme for going into the election alone, said the source who added that the party’s recent call for aspirants to register with it by the end of this month was “meant to convey exactly that message.”

According to Mr Odinga’s secretariat official, the candidate commands huge support in his the six Nyanza counties, six counties at the Coast, four in Western, several in North Eastern and Nairobi as well as growing numbers in the Rift Valley, in particular among the Maasai and Turkana groups where ODM’s support has expanded in recent months.

Mr Musyoka, meanwhile, could be on a dangerous political undertaking if he had no alliance with Mr Odinga as even Ukambani backyard would be at risk. The main question the Odinga camp asked is what Mr Musyoka’s options were. He couldn’t get any substantial position in Jubilee, since the first three positions are comfortably taken.

The Wiper party has also suffered a major blow after five of its elected Members of Parliament from Ukambani- Joe Mutambu (Mwingi Central), John Munuve (Mwingi North), Kisoi Munyao (Mbooni), Regina Ndambuki (Kilome) and Richard Makenga (Kaiti) defected to the ruling Jubilee Party.

Mr Musyoka has however warned that they have written their political obituaries since they are headed for an overwhelming defeat come the Election Day. Should Mr Musyoka run for the presidency alone, his political nemesis among them Charity Kaluki Ngilu and Alfred Mutua could flourish, Mr Odinga’s team have concluded.

ODM sources also report that Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama, following his recent dressing down by Mr Musyoka for allegedly working with his Siaya counterpart James Orengo in campaigning for Mr Odinga at the expense of his party’s boss, might be considering joining ODM or an Ukambani regional party to form a coalition with ODM.

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