Raila-Uhuru truce stokes uneasy calm for ‘defectors’

Mukalo Kwayera @kwayeram

Key politicians, professionals and non-State actors from Opposition backyards who have long stuck out their necks in support of the ruling administration may have grown apprehensive that the new-found rapport between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his erstwhile political nemesis Raila Odinga could render them irrelevant, seeing as both sides are now in the same bus.

Their fears are aggravated by the fact that the handshake between the Head of State and the Opposition leader remains largely shrouded in mystery that may leave them wondering whether their input might be found relevant any more.

Their misgivings are further aggravated by Nasa infighting arising from the yet-to-be expounded Uhuru-Raila deal which some key players in the Opposition outfit have frowned at.

Anxiety over possible isolation of loyalists cuts across the country in areas where formerly bitter Opposition chiefs have been trooping back to avidly support the deal and sing praises for Jubilee top brass.

Affected personalities include former Opposition politicians who defected to the ruling Jubilee Party but lost their bid for various seats last year’s elections, academics, barristers, trade unionists, clerics and a host of other professionals drawn from both the public and private sectors mostly in Nyanza, Coast, Western and Nairobi regions.

One of the most telling occurrences of the post-handshake wind of change was the visit to the Coast region by Deputy President William Ruto, last month where former ODM diehards such as Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa, declared their support for him.

Local Jubilee loyalists were said to have been lost on how to deal with former enemies now suddenly in their camp. However, whereas most of them are still grumbling in low tones, it is the professionals from Nyanza counties of Siaya, Homa Bay, Kisumu and Migori who have stepped up to strongly register their uncertainty about their role after the handshake.

Defining themselves under the banner of Professional Caucus (PC)­-Nyanza, 22 leaders extended their gratitude to the Uhuru-Raila pact “for their act of statesmanship which deserves the support of all patriotic Kenyans,” a development they said “should marshal our collective resolve to re-dedicate the nation towards achieving Vision 2030.”

The prominent figures who signed the statement were; former Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) chairman Prof PLO Lumumba, entrepreneur Felix Okatch, Ambassador Daniel Makdwallo, Mary Ojodeh (widow of former Internal Security assistant minister Orwa Ojodeh and Ndhiwa MP), Apondi Nyang’aya and former MP Martin Ogindo.

Others are Joyce Mwok Handa, Dick Oneko, Mary Omega Ochieng, Dr Ondiek Conchellia, Joseph Kwaha, Justus Nyangayo, Robert Obudho, Eliud Ochieng, Charles Omanga, Tom Ndalo, Stephen Okoth Mwanga, Jeremeiah Odhiambo, Meshack Dwallow, George Okungu, Charles Otieno, Reke Koki Ochieng, Jeremiah Odhiambo Owiti, Richard Oduor and Laban Onditi Rao.

“We also take this opportunity to specifically urge Raila Odinga to use this new-found platform and common understanding among the Luo community to work with individuals from Nyanza who have always recognised the value of working with governments of the day and to give assurance to those working in and with the government that they will not be sacrificed in the new dispensation.”

They said they were cognisant of the fact that reconciliation must be national and all Kenyans drawn from all the 47 counties need to move towards the noble task of building the nation.

They may not be alone; their views appear to mirror many others across the country who, though they may not have stated it publicly, hope that the emerging warm relations between Uhuru and Rila will mark a new era of an all-inclusive approach, notwithstanding which side one campaigned on.

In these brackets are established politicians such as Jubilee Party secretary general Raphael Tutu, former MPs Paul Otuoma (Funyula), Shem Ochuodho (Rangwe), Danson Mungatana (Garsen), Dalmas Otieno (Rongo), James Rege (Karachuonyo), Yusuf Chanzu (Vihiga), Gideon Mung’aro (Kilifi North), Joe Mutambu (Mwingi Central), Kalembe Ndile (Kibwezi), former Kwale Women’s Rep Zainab Chidzuga and former Nairobi Town Clerk Philip Kisia.

Others are former Mombasa Senator Omar Hassan, Mombasa governor candidate Suleiman Shabhal, former National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende, former Mombasa Deputy Governor Hazel Katana, former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto, former Vihiga Governor Moses Akaranga and Global Investments Adviser Mwende Mwinzi.

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