On February 26, Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria made a startling prediction. He wrote on his Facebook account: “Keep this post for future reference.
On a balance of probabilities the chances of Raila Odinga working with Jubilee between now and 2022 are much higher than those of Kalonzo (Musyoka), Wetang’ula (Moses) and Musalia (Mudavadi) combined. I have been in these trenches for long.” He was referring to Nasa leader Raila’s 1998 decision to abandon the Opposition and cooperate with then President Daniel Moi, who was serving his final term.
His National Development Party merged with Kanu and Raila was elected its secretary general but the two fell out in the run-up to 2002 General Election.
It is not clear whether Kuria, who hails from President Uhuru Kenyatta’s backyard and an influential Jubilee Party MP, was privy to goings-on behind the scenes to bring Uhuru and Raila together, but that prediction came to pass, barely three weeks later. T
he two hitherto adversaries met at Harambee House and agreed to work together to unite Kenyans. It could also be that Kuria, a fierce critic of Raila but who also admits he admires the man who paid for his university education, was being pragmatic.
In reaching out to Raila as an individual, President Uhuru was equally being pragmatic. It may not have made any sense for Uhuru to reach out to the other Nasa co-principals while their leader, Raila, enjoys support in their respective bases and can still mobilise the same without their backing.
The grapevine even has it that the trio of Wiper leader Kalonzo, Ford-Kenya’s Wetang’ula and ANC’s Mudavadi had sent feelers they were willing to work with the Jubilee administration following the fallout that followed Raila’s mock swearing-in as the “people’s president” on January 30.
But in the end, Raila beat them to the game, to their bewilderment. The three are now seeking to have separate talks with the President but from the look of things, it is highly unlikely.
Indeed, things appear headed south for them, with Wetang’ula already struck by ODM’s ‘unkindest cut of all’ when he was ousted from Senate Minority Leader post on Tuesday. So what next for the distraught trio? According to Raila, his partners thought he was dead and buried only for him to re-invent himself just as in his memoirs, An Enigma in Kenya’s politics.
The Nasa three missed Raila’s swearing in on January 30 and to add insult to injury, they appeared to have abandoned his push for reforms to deliver electoral justice and instead shifted their focus to 2022 elections.
Raila’s call for a fresh election in August this year after substantive electoral reforms was dismissed off-hand by Mudavadi, who opined nothing much would have changed by then. Uhuru, who is serving his second and final term, and is keen to leave a legacy by delivering affordable housing, universal healthcare, food security and a thriving manufacturing sector.
This would result in better living standards for Kenyans and more job opportunities for the millions of unemployed youths. But this cannot be realised without massive investments both by government and the private sector, which cannot happen in a high-octane political environment.
According to sources privy to the reasoning behind the President’s decision to compromise with Raila, the best way out of the stand-off was to seek the Nasa leader’s support for the government agenda and, in return, facilitating his reform agenda, including restructuring both the electoral and security architecture. A
s the other three fade, Uhuru and Raila are surging, with the latter organising a presidential tour of Nyanza to cement the deal in his bedrock.