March 4, 2022 - 5 minutes read

Headwinds in Raila’s attempt to build a winning combination with Kalonzo as duo struggle to repair relations

By John Ngirachu

All along, it had seemed to Raila Odinga and his supporters that Kalonzo Musyoka would easily agree to cross over and accept to be his running mate, but things have changed drastically.

This week, Mr Musyoka revealed to the public an agreement struck between the two before the last elections that indicated that he would be the choice for the presidential candidate in the next elections.

The document had been in the possession of the duo and their right hand men, professors Makau Mutua and Kivutha Kibwana, whose reticence to speak about the matter suggests that the agreement was indeed true.

Mr Musyoka’s argument has been that Mr Odinga has committed an ‘irreparable material breach’ of their agreement and the right thing would be to support the former Vice President.

It is the first time since he founded the Orange Democratic Movement that Mr Odinga has faced a serious challenge for the presidential ticket.

With a strong coalition being the surest route to the presidency, and deadlines drawing closer, Mr Odinga has no option but to engage leaders like Mr Musyoka.

The former Prime Minister’s latest suggestion is that the right way to select a presidential candidate would be through a nomination by delegates from the Azimio side and Mr Musyoka’s One Kenya Alliance.

Only parties can enter into coalitions, which would mean that the alliances send their delegates into that nomination process as the organisers figure out a way to ensure the nomination is carried out transparently.

In the past, delegates’ conferences have been used as events to rubber stamp decisions that have been reached in advance, with party officials then using the events to lay out their strategies as attendees vote by acclamation.

It would be interesting to see how Mr Odinga, Mr Musyoka and their teams manage to hold a conference where parties seek to come to an agreement on a presidential candidate via acclamation.

For Mr Odinga, the risk is that the back and forth on his running mate issue is likely to detract from his campaign. His supporters are worried that Mr Musyoka might have just realised his worth, and is therefore charging a premium for it, but they are emboldened by his resolve not to support Deputy President William Ruto, which means that he will eventually have to come to Mr Odinga’s table for that value to be realised. 

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