That the 2017 presidential election will again be a two-horse race between Jubilee and Cord is not a secret but who will be the candidates? While Jubilee, barring the unforeseen, has Uhuru Kenyatta to fly the coalition’s flag, the opposition Cord is said to be pursuing a different approach that if adopted, could see Kalonzo Musyoka fly the Cord flag with Moses Wetang’ula as his running mate.
The game plan is to have Raila Odinga support Kalonzo and this is expected to send Jubilee strategists back to the drawing board. That is, however, not to say that Raila is retiring from politics but will play a crucial role in ensuring that Kalonzo wins. The failure of the Okoa Kenya initiative is also said to have dampened spirits in Cord as it had calculated to use it to create traction.
Reports say that once Kalonzo is declared the winner, either in the first round or second round, and hoping Cord will have controlling majority in both the senate and national assembly, Cord will use numerical strength to push for a referendum to create a position of chief minister similar to that of the previous position of prime minister and appoint Raila to the office.
His work as chief minister will be to coordinate and supervise government ministries and state corporations which will be a more powerful position than that of deputy president.
To begin with, Raila and Cord still believe that their victory was stolen and that Kalonzo can easily inherit Raila’s votes and force a possible re-run with Uhuru. The plan is based on the fact that there are regions which can easily vote for Kalonzo and not Raila while Raila can still influence his supporters to vote for Kalonzo.
Analysts say it may be a tight race if Cord plays their cards well but if not, Uhuru may easily win a second term in office with a landslide. Cord’s strategy is based on assumption that with the International Criminal Court case hanging on William Ruto’s neck while Uhuru is a free man, there is no guarantee of a possible consolidated Kalenjin vote in 2017 as it was in 2013.
With Ruto out of the race, Cord believes that the Kalenjin voters will be more comfortable with Kalonzo as compared to Raila. One school of thought has it that even with Ruto as Uhuru’s running mate, Kalonzo can still get a good chunk of Kelenjin votes as compared to Raila. In fact, even in the absence of Ruto, Kalenjins may not be comfortable with a Raila presidency.
Kalonzo on the other hand still enjoys some cordial relationship with retired president Daniel Moi as opposed to Raila whom Moi does not have time for. With Kalonzo as presidential candidate, Moi can easily back him. This could lead to a possible Cord/Kanu forming a coalition where Moi’s son Gideon could play a big role.
To counter Ruto in Rift Valley, sources say Cord is reaching out for Bomet governor Isaac Ruto to join Cord coalition and this plot is to bring on board Kericho and Bomet counties to vote with Cord.
Cord is also said to be focused on another scenario where Uhuru could pick a running mate from Western Kenya. It is for this reason that Wetang’ula is set to run as Kalonzo’s deputy to counter any possible running mate from the same region.
ODM is well aware that Uhuru is likely to pick Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi. In the event that Mudavadi is picked, then Wetang’ula will be able to deliver the Bukusu votes from Bungoma and Trans Nzoia while Mudavadi is likely to deliver Vihiga, Kakamega, Busia counties.
With eyes set on 2022 elections, Mudavadi may be at home playing the role of second fiddle in 2017 and be assured of flying the Jubilee flag in 2022 with the backing of Uhuru who will be retiring.
Analysts say the man to beat in 2022 elections is Mudavadi since Kalonzo and Raila will be too old to contest any elections. The race will therefore be between Mudavadi and Ruto. Analysts say the Gema voters including the Kambas will be more comfortable with a Mudavadi presidency as compared to a Ruto presidency and the same applies to Nyanza, Coast and Nairobi.
It is against such scenarios that Raila is working on an elaborate formula that could ultimately give him a frontal political muscle to push for Kalonzo as Cord presidential torchbearer in 2017 general elections.
Cord is said to be working on assumption that in the event of the ICC crucifying Ruto, the argument is that Jubilee will break up more so, with Uhuru now off the hook. The disintegration of Jubilee, the opposition is sure, would work to Cord’s advantage.
Raila handlers are said to be behind the move to have him support Kalonzo since they do not want him to be embarrassed again as it happened in 2007 and 2013. He is also said to be concerned that if Kalonzo is not well handled, the possibility of Kamba vote going to Uhuru in 2017 cannot be ruled out.
Political advisers and both local and international financiers of Raila have also expressed their voice urging him to retire considering the age factor and now that he has lost three elections.
It is said Jubilee must have gotten wind of Cord’s plan to support Kalonzo in 2017 against Uhuru and has embarked on a mission of destabilising the former VP in his backyard by sponsoring a rebellion.
Sources say the Machakos governor Alfred Mutua is the man Jubilee now wants to checkmate Kalonzo. Also targetted in the fight to tame Kalonzo by Jubilee are MPs Victor Munyaka, Benson Mbai, Vincent Musyoka and Patrick Makau.
Back to Cord’s power deal, sources say majority of ODM leaders are in agreement that Raila should not fly the Cord flag in 2017 and the same wind is blowing within Kalonzo’s WDM. Those from Kalonzo’s side claim that in the last elections in 2013, all the opposition parties apart from Karua’s Narc agreed to support Odinga for a one-term presidency, to be followed by a Musyoka-Wetangula ticket for the presidency in 2017.
However, some of Raila’s diehard ODM supporters say that pact is obsolete and they want him to run for the presidency again on the Cord ticket in 2017. According to ODM secretary general Ababu Namwaba Raila still has one last bullet in his gun to fire in 2017.
The move by a section of ODM demanding that Raila should stand again in 2017 has angered the Wetang’ula and Musyoka camps. Last week when Kalonzo arrived from China, he was categorical that his name will be on the 2017 ballot paper.
Should Raila throw his weight behind the Kalonzo-Wetang’ula card, Cord can still put up a strong show mostly in regions known to have voted for them in 2013. Many argue whether Raila is in the race or not, he can still influence his supporters to cast the vote for Kalonzo as he did for Mwai Kibaki in 2002.
According to those pushing for Kalonzo-Wetang’ula ticket, they say Nairobi remains a battleground between Jubilee and Cord with Cord having a slight majority. During 2013 elections, Uhuru garnered 659,490 votes which is 46.75pc as compared to Raila’s 691,156 votes which translate to 49pc. Cord therefore believes that they still have an upper hand in Nairobi county with 1.7 million voters in 2013 and where voter turn out was 81pc.
In Coast region, Cord remains a strong coalition after Raila won majority of presidential votes in the five counties of Mombasa, 69.7pc, Kwale, 80.7pc, Kilifi, 83.7pc, Tana River 61.4pc, Lamu, 51.9pc and Taita Taveta 81.5pc. Based on the above figures, Cord still believes that Kalonzo can still beat Uhuru in the entire Coast region.
In Eastern, Raila again beat Uhuru with 881,455 votes, 48.8pc. The Eastern votes were majorly from Ukambani counties of Kitui, Machakos and Makueni while Uhuru was ahead in Meru, Embu, Tharaka Nithi and Isiolo counties.
Cord is also targeting Turkana, West Pokot and Samburu counties where Raila also was ahead of Uhuru and the neighbouring Trans Nzoia county. In Narok and Kajiado counties, Cord believes they have the potential of edging out Jubilee as was witnessed during the Kajiado Central by-election. In the 2013 elections, Raila was ahead in Narok county with 50.2pc while Uhuru had 46.3pc while in Kajiado county Uhuru was ahead with 52.3pc against Raila’s 44.4pc.
Cord’s other target is Kericho and Bomet counties where governors Paul Chepkwony and Isaac Ruto are said to have fallen out with Ruto and are likely to move out of Jubilee. Although the two counties voted overwhelmingly for Uhuru but Cord has now identified it as a soft spot. The two counties have a combined 500,000 votes.
Cord is said to be plotting to capitalise on the rift between South Rift and North Rift. South Rift leaders led by Governor Ruto are said to be pulling out of the Jubilee coalition claiming the DP has been favouring the North Rift and ignoring South Rift in terms of development.
In the counties of Nyamira, Kisii where Cord swept clean in 2013, the gameplan is likely to change as the region has been slowly moving towards Jubilee but with Cord still controlling the region. In 2013, Raila got 66pc of the votes in Nyamira county while Uhuru got 29pc while in Ksii, Raila got 67pc against Uhuru’s 27pc. Jubilee has of late made some inroads in the two counties though Cord is still the most popular coalition in the two counties.
In the Luo dominated counties of Migori, Siaya, Kisumu and Homa-Bay, Kalonzo is expected to get above 90pc of the votes with the support of Raila.
In Elgeyo Marakwet and Nandi counties, still expected to vote with Jubilee in 2017 as long as Ruto is still in the race while in Baringo county, with Gideon teaming up with Isaac Ruto, Cord can get some sizeable votes.
Laikipia and Nakuru counties have been marked by Cord as battle ground where both Cord and Jubilee will battle it out if the results of the 2013 elections are anything to go by. In Nakuru county, Cord garnered 105,660 votes against Uhuru’s 494,239 while in Laikipia county; Raila got 12pc against Uhuru’s 85pc.
Western Kenya will be complicated depending on whether Mudavadi will be on the presidential ballot or as Uhuru’s running mate. Wetang’ula will be the man Cord will rely on to deliver the Bungoma county votes to Kalonzo.
With Raila out of the race, Mudavadi is likely to sweep clean the counties of Vihiga, Kakamega and Busia counties. Central Kenya remains Uhuru’s strongholds and Kalonzo is expected to receive just slightly above 5pc of the votes from Nyandarua, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Murang’a and Kiambu counties. In 2013, Raila got 1pc in all the above counties except Kiambu where he got 7pc.
The deal to have Raila step down for Kalonzo is said to be a sealed deal though kept under lock and key. It started with Kalonzo allies demanding that Raila must honour the MoU he signed with Kalonzo and Wetang’ula in 2013.
Sources say Kalonzo has been sending emissaries especially Raila’s closest allies to dissuade him from running since they say his candidacy may not be supported by the majority of Kenyans. WDM sources say Kalonzo allies are relying on a pre-election pact among Cord co-principals that Raila would only lead for five years, and then pass the baton to him.
But even as Kalonzo allies are pushing Raila to support him, however, Raila’s allies say the MoU is invalid because Raila was never elected president as they believe Raila remains the opposition’s best candidate to unseat Uhuru in 2017.
Then there is another school of thought pushing for a Raila, Kalonzo, Mudavadi, Wetangula pact for 2017. They say Raila should swallow his pride and support Mudavadi as the compromise presidential candidate with Kalonzo as running mate or vice versa.
Kalonzo allies are said to be going for nothing less than the presidential ticket. They say their man has shelved his presidential ambitions twice in favour of Kibaki in 2002 and Raila in 2013 and now it is time Raila reciprocates in 2017.
But what happens in an event that Kalonzo decides to run on a WDM ticket, how will he perform and who will be his running mate and who will be Raila’s running mate? To begin with, should Kalonzo decide to go alone, he is likely to get block Ukambani votes but no meaningful votes outside Ukambani but again this depends on who his running mate will be.
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