As he travelled to the United Kingdom this week, Raila Odinga was hoping to outdo his main competitor, Deputy President William Ruto, but left behind a campaign in trouble just months to the elections.
Mr Odinga’s biggest headaches come from:
- His running mate, Kalonzo Musyoka, has blown hot and cold since signing up his support last Saturday. He has repeatedly undermined the coalition, stating first that he was not sure what he signed up for and would be reading the document later to understand it. Senior leaders in Mr Musyoka’s party, Wiper, have suggested they would start campaigning for the presidency immediately he is sworn in the same manner Dr Ruto has been in Jubilee’s second term.
- His campaign team is yet to come together and function and as a unit. Mr Odinga inherited the team in the Jubilee Party that remained in the party with President Uhuru Kenyatta after the departure of Dr Ruto and MPs. Members of that team are increasingly worried about the cohesiveness of Mr Odinga’s campaign team. The team contains elements from his Orange Democratic Movement, the Mt Kenya Foundation, the Presidency and the various technocrats who have seconded individuals to work with him, and Mr Odinga’s family and inner circle. The upshot of this has been a lack of order and strategy in decision-making and communication. The professionals, many of whom have worked in the private sector before, have been concerned about the lack of a clear hierarchy in decision-making.
- Individual politicians from parties in the Azimio coalition are going for the same seats, which is likely to destabilise the campaign. In Nairobi for example, Jubilee’s Maina Kamanda is gunning for the senator’s seat, which is also the target for Edwin Sifuna, the ODM secretary-general. There are similar contests between the aspirants for the gubernatorial seat. Given that the parties in Azimio have signed up separately, the likely decision will be that they compete against each other but campaign for one presidential candidate, which results in a loss of synergy for Mr Odinga.