A bitter fight for the One Kenya Alliance presidential ticket between Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi and Wiper Party boss Kalonzo Musyoka threatens to tear apart the nascent political union.
Two months after they promised a political tsunami, the two principals are locked in a silent war even before OKA takes baby steps.
Mr Musyoka says he’s the senior-most leader with a majority of elected MPs in the coalition and should be handed the ticket.
Mr Mudavadi, on his part, insists he’s accepted across the board and believes he stands a better chance of winning.
During Wiper’s National Executive Committee meeting in July, Mr Musyoka had told his members that he won’t play second fiddle to anybody. “This party has decided we are not deputising anybody in the next elections,” he said.
Wiper has 27 members in the National Assembly and the Senate to ANC’s 17, Ford-Kenya (14) and Kanu (13).
Mr Musyoka’s allies have dismissed Mr Mudavadi’s assertion that he is acceptable across the board, arguing that when he ran in 2013, he came a distance third after garnering a paltry 483,981 votes. When Mr Musyoka ran in 2007, he managed 879,903 votes.
Last month’s Kanu National Delegates Conference, where Mr Gideon Moi was endorsed as the party’s presidential flagbearer, smothered the little that there was about the alliance. Mr Moi did not mention OKA in his acceptance speech, much to the chagrin of his co-principals.
OKA principals stranded
The party’s National Governing Council, whose meeting preceded the NDC, also ignored the alliance. The council’s resolutions read out by the party secretary-general, Mr Nick Salat, mandated Mr Moi to consult like-minded political leaders and parties for a winning coalition.
Mr Mudavadi’s allies are apprehensive about Wiper’s commitment to OKA, with some saying it’s just a matter of time before Mr Musyoka bolts out in favour of the Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga.
President Uhuru Kenyatta had in August asked OKA chiefs at a meeting in State House Mombasa to support the ODM leader. Interestingly, Mr Musyoka has scaled down his political activities ever since.
It appears the President’s support for Mr Odinga has left OKA principals stranded.
To be safe, Mr Mudavadi’s allies have submitted an application for an alternative coalition to the Office of Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP) in what could be a fallback plan in case things get out of control at OKA.
ANC has registered the Kenya Kwanza Alliance (KKA), suggesting that Mr Mudavadi is willing to chart his own political path.
“The application has been made and reserved as required by the law,” Ms Anne Nderitu, the Registrar of Political Parties, confirmed to the Nation.
It was made by Mr Geoffrey Kanoti, the ANC director of political affairs and head of protocol at the Musalia Mudavadi presidential campaign centre.
Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo, the Wiper vice-chair, said he was aware of KKA’s existence.
Lugari MP Ayub Savula dismissed it as “a move by people who are doing their own things”.
Wiper officials registered OKA and the Mudavadi camp believes this gives Mr Musyoka an entitlement to lead the alliance that also includes Moses Wetang’ula of Ford-Kenya and Mr Moi of Kanu.
Lawyer Norman Magaya, who heads the Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka Centre, dismissed the registration of KKA as an outdated political scheme. “It’s an adventure by street operatives. We’re more creative than that,” he said.
Mr Salat said talks were ongoing ‘within the BBI (Building Bridges Initiative) fraternity’. “We are talking to more stakeholders. The BBI is not dead, we haven’t achieved what we wanted,” he said.
“Kanu has scheduled a massive event this weekend in the Rift Valley that will mark the beginning of our 2022 campaigns as our chairman was in the US with the President and just returned two days ago.”
Reporting by Ibrahim Oruko, Samwel Owino, David Mwere and Justus Ochieng’