Fear is quietly gripping Jubilee following the ongoing sideshows on the political landscape that are now unfolding behind the scenes but which have far-reaching implications for the next polls. We can this week authoritatively reveal that the opposition has formed two teams that are seriously working around the clock on the formation of a super alliance.
The two are the technical and finance teams. They have been given mandate to cast their political net wide and bring on board all key opposition players. Sources say that to bring on board political heavyweights and to avoid a backlash on grounds the three principals are out to shortchange the newcomers, Cord has decided to postpone major meetings as deals are struck.
A recent planned meeting was shelved to avoid confusion as modalities are perfected. The opposition talks being fine-tuned on the basis of national unity and women representation also are structuring a power sharing formula to accommodate all parties involved.
We have established that the opposition leaders are aware their supporters are a disillusioned lot and feel only unity will be enable opposition effectively counter the Jubilee Party launched recently. Otherwise if they each go alone, they will be hanged separately in different trees by Jubilee.
The opposition strategists are working on the basis that despite the much publicized Jubilee launch, the party has failed to make visible inroads in opposition strongholds and even in areas like Rift Valley and Mount Kenya region as infighting have rocked the ruling class.
Informed sources say that Uhuru Kenyatta allies and state intelligence were against the merger but were forced in the deal by a faction allied to William Ruto. The opposition in the strategy is out to capitalize on the squabbles and bring many on board.
Prominent Kenyans are engaged in the behind-scenes negotiations. One time Attorney General Charles Njonjo, businessmanJoshua Kulei, Larry Gumbe, Cotu boss Francis Atwoli, senators George Khaniri, Johnson Muthama, Anyang Nyongo, James Orengo and Omar Hassan are among those said to be part of the political brokers in the new formation. Khaniri did not defect to any party preferring to remain independent and neutral as he plays a key role in the negotiations.
Businessmen Jimmy Wanjigi, Alfred Gitonga, a former personal assistant of retired president Mwai Kibaki, Mombasa tycoon David Langat are also said to be deeply involved in the political chess game ahead of next year’s polls.
Governors Evans Kidero, Peter Munya, James Ongwae and Hassan Joho also feature prominently as key players in the political angling ahead of 2017.
The opposition in the new deal has the blessing of retired president Daniel Moi. The older statesman is said not to have a problem with Uhuru but his deputy Ruto. Ruto has openly declared war on the influential Moi family moreso, his favourite son and heir apparent Senator Gideon Moi, who watched helplessly as Ruto came from nowhere to grab the Kalenjin mantle from Moi that Gideon assumed was his by entitlement.
Powerful names behind this move divulge that naming the presidential candidate early may result into a big fallout as was witnessed during the 1992 elections when the original Ford split into Ford-Kenya and Ford-Asili headed by Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and Kenneth Matiba.
To avoid a repeat of such a scenario, the strategists have by May next year as the right time to nominate their preferred presidential candidate. Initially Cord had planned for December this year.
Sources well versed with the ongoing talks and the changing political scenario in the country intimated that the finance team is tasked with fundraising and also to see how presidential candidates who will not be either the flagbearer or running mate will be compensated to recover what they may have used in their campaigns.
The power sharing deal is working on a proposal that will see power shared based on the current numerical strength of the parties in the talks. Sources say the party with the majority seats will take the lion’s share, followed by the second in command while the rest will be taken care of. The technical team will evaluate presidential candidates’ financial stamina and see if they can run a serious presidential campaign.
Already, the finance team is working on fund raising strategies that will see all the candidates refunded what they have so far spent in their campaigns. Apart from the three Cord principals, in the loop are Musalia Mudavadi and Isaac Ruto. Kanu chairman Gideon has also been approached to join the super alliance although he recently said Kanu is not with Cord anymore.
One proposal being considered by the power sharing team is to request those with burning presidential ambitions to shelve and create room for a compromise candidate and his running mate.
Martha Karua, Charity Ngilu, Peter Kenneth and Ali Mwakwere are also involved in the negotiations. During the burial of Wavinya Ndeti’s husband, Ngilu challenged Cord principals to bring on board women representation in the negotiations. Since being dropped from cabinet, Ngilu has no time for Jubilee.
To accommodate many, the power sharing team has proposed that several positions should be created for everyone to have a bite of the pie.
A position of non-executive PM will be created and two other positions of deputy PM will be created as well as a powerful position of chief cabinet secretary whose work will be to supervise cabinet ministers. Those who will miss out in the newly created positions will go for the majority leader’s slots both at the senate and national assembly as well as positions speakers and their deputies in both houses. Another proposal that is being considered is to ensure those who will miss out to fly the flag will run for other political seats such as governor, senator or MP on agreeable terms.
Analysts say Ngilu is likely to join the Super Alliance as is Karua who has of late been participating in Cord activities.
While addressing a forum in Mombasa, Karua noted that the opposition can be sure of winning the forthcoming elections if they join forces and come up with a powerful coalition similar to the one that drove Mwai Kibaki into power in 2002 and sent Kanu into political oblivion.
Jubilee’s fear is that a political reunion between Raila and Mudavadi could offer a serious political challenge to the ruling coalition. The two opposition politicians have worked together in the past during the grand coalition government when Raila was the prime minister with Mudavadi as one of his deputies. Uhuru was the other deputy PM.
In coast region, all is not well in the Jubilee camp after Kenya’s High Commissioner to Tanzania Mwakwere declined a request by Ruto not to contest for Kwale governorship post next year and instead support the incumbent Salim Mvurya’s re-election on a Jubilee ticket.
Sources close to Mwakwere say the DP brought up the issue in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania last month when he represented Uhuru during the 17th extraordinary East African Community Heads of State and Government summit. Ruto reportedly told Mwakwere to shelve his gubernatorial ambitions in exchange for a plum appointment in the next government.
He has now declared war with Ruto saying that the DP has no moral authority to lecture him on the Kwale gubernatorial seat as that was his democratic right. He said he would contest for the seat on whichever party ticket or even as an independent candidate.
Sources in Kwale say governor Mvurya is desperate after he realised that his chances of being re-elected on a Jubilee ticket have been seriously compromised and dented. The county which is inhabited by majority Digos and Durumas is an ODM stronghold and as such, Mvurya’s fate is said to have been sealed the day he defected to Jubilee. It is being whispered that he has approached Cord to join it ahead of next year’s polls.