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Raila, Kalonzo in new secret power talks

THE STAR 07/29/2021

The bigger plan could be to leave both Nasa and OKA and form a new coalition

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka with ODM's Raila Odinga during a past meeting. View pictures in App save up to 80% data.
Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka with ODM's Raila Odinga during a past meeting.

ODM leader Raila Odinga and his Wiper counterpart Kalonzo Musyoka are renegotiating a new 2022 power deal that could see them work together again.

The Star has established that away from the glare of the cameras, the two are convinced that if they part ways, they would be handing Deputy President William Ruto the key to State House.

However, there are also efforts to bring on board ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi although he is said to be the most “difficult” of all the One Kenya Alliance chiefs.

Sources said the two should again meet this week.

During the Wiper National Executive Committee meeting, the team asked Kalonzo to get them into a coalition that will get them to power.

“He (Kalonzo) read the letter by Raila on political parties funding to NEC. He then said the mutual respect they have for each other with Raila made it possible to sort out the impasse,” a source said.

Sources said the bigger plan could be to leave both Nasa and OKA and form a new coalition altogether.

Asked for a comment, Kathiani MP Robert Mbui said "anything is possible in politics."

"If both (Raila and Kalonzo) realise that it is in their best interest to work together, then chances are very high they will. It does not matter what one says. I can tell you that there is nothing which is impossible," the National Assembly deputy Majority leader told the Star.

Kibwezi East MP Jessica Mbalu, a key cog in the Wiper team, said insinuations to the effect that Raila and Kalonzo have parted ways are wrong.

“They have not parted ways. We are just forming a bigger coalition, whatever it is. Everyone is welcome. Remember Nasa was only for four,” she said.

The MP added, “We want to form a team that will unite all Kenyans. We are not a divisive team. We are forming a bigger house and are welcoming everyone. We are not divorcing with ODM. This is just but a new structure.”

The One Kenya Alliance brings together Wiper, Kanu, ANC and Ford Kenya. The latter is faced with leadership wrangles that have slowed down its 2022 engagements.

It is however understood that Kalonzo’s troops are uncomfortable with the camaraderie between Raila and Ukambani governors.

Governors Alfred Mutua (Machakos), Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni) and Charity Ngilu (Kitui) are said to be gravitating towards Raila.

The other concern that may push Kalonzo to work with Raila is the feeling among Wiper lieutenants that Musalia is determined to be the Presidential candidate in One Kenya Alliance.

“The problem we have in OKA is that our partners in ANC are proving difficult. Mudavadi is saying it’s him and nothing else. If that continues, we shall leave and run separately. We can team up with Raila. We don’t have many problems with him. The only person we cannot work with is Ruto,” a Wiper legislator told the Star

Kalonzo, during his press conference after a NEC meeting in Karen, extended an olive branch to Raila to join OKA.

He however hinted that he was open to a new coalition altogether.

“I am basically extending a hand of friendship to everybody including ODM because ANC, Kanu, and Ford Kenya are already with us,” the former Vice President said.

“The idea of Nasa served its time, Cord served its time and now we are looking at One Kenya Alliance and if anyone gives me a better formulation I am willing to listen.”

However, some Wiper leaders insist that if Kalonzo is to re-unite with Raila, the former PM should play second fiddle.

“Of course they (Raila and Kalonzo) are working on a deal. We believe it is Kalonzo’s time and that Raila will agree and say Kalonzo Tosha. Together with Uhuru, they are kingmakers since they are widely respected in the country,” a Wiper lawmaker said.

However, Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr, a close confidante of the Wiper leader, said the Raila-Kalonzo talks only involved sharing the Nasa cash.

“I cannot confirm that there are direct negotiations between the two. Their discussions were limited to the party funds,” the senator told the Star on Tuesday.

ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna on Monday held the same position that the leaders had been having direct engagements, but on money.

Borabu MP Ben Momanyi, who is Wiper party treasurer, said fresh talks 'were on the cards'.

Among the signals that something was afoot is the ODM swift decision not to kick-out Kalonzo allies holding parliamentary positions.

Westland’s MP Timothy Wanyonyi said ODM will not disrupt the parliamentary leadership arrangements.

Political observers say that Kalonzo’s actions are geared towards forcing Raila into the negotiation table.

The Wiper leader is seen as a pricey player with the Ukambani vote basket.

“They can’t continue being in the tired coalition. They are breaking away to focus on a new coalition. It has left ODM exposed much as Raila is claiming he can proceed on his own,” political analyst Martin Andati said.

“He tried to go on his own without Ruto in Rift Valley and failed terribly. Kalonzo’s move badly exposes ODM,” the analyst added.

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