Odinga’s stakeholders show their hand

April 22, 2022 - 5 Minutes Read - By John Ngirachu

Faced with pressure from different directions over a decision on his running mate, Raila Odinga this week resorted to a politically secure method – having the decision determined by a committee.

While it had always seemed like Kalonzo Musyoka would return to the spot beside Mr Odinga he has occupied in the last two elections, there were other factors at play this time round.

Perhaps the biggest was the Central Kenya factor, where politicians from the region have taken it as the region’s right to have one of them as a running mate on the basis that there is no candidate from that part of the country. This was given more impetus by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s support.

Riding on this, leaders from Mt Kenya East have seen in the gap an opportunity to push for one of their own as a sort of reward for the support given to Mwai Kibaki and his successor. They have been keen on having Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Gatirau Munya occupy the position.

Now, the route to appointing a running mate will be long. The Azimio Council will appoint a panel and the panel will then be expected to carry out an opinion poll and then make a recommendation to the council.

Mr Odinga has in the past appointed his running mate without too much trouble but he has used similar structures to try manage his coalition. With the National Super Alliance (Nasa), there was a Coalition Management Committee that struggled to make an impact and make meaningful decision. The committee would eventually become redundant after his rapprochement with President Kenyatta.

It is still too early to tell whether this attempt at management by committee will succeed, but the truth is that for Mr Odinga, it is one more distraction from the campaigns close to 100 days to the election.
His coalition’s disorganization caused consternation in the capital city this week after Jubilee abruptly announced that corporate journeyman Polycarp Igathe would be their choice for the governorship. Igathe was said to have the blessings of President Kenyatta, which suggested that ODM’s prospective candidate, Tim Wanyonyi, would not get the coalition patron’s support. Mr Wanyonyi was eventually convinced to defend his Westlands National Assembly seat.

This week’s troubles in the Azimio camp will give Mr Odinga, and the country, a demonstration of the stakeholders in his camp that he will have to deal with if he succeeds in his bid for State House

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