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Will Uhuru win Raila back?

This latest move is symbolic and shows how serious the President is in regaining Raila’s trust

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President Uhuru Kenyatta, Raila Odinga and DP Ruto at Bomas of Kenya
President Uhuru Kenyatta, Raila Odinga and DP Ruto at Bomas of Kenya
Until last month, it appeared ODM leader Raila Odinga had been forgotten by his ‘Handshake” partner, President Uhuru Kenyatta.

In his “kujipanga” (scheming) efforts the former Prime Minister started to chart a new political path choreographed by his close and trusted allies.

It appeared Uhuru had started steering his succession plan towards a new direction, leaving Raila at a crossroads.

The One Kenya Alliance, reportedly put together with the blessing of the President, was the final straw that broke the camel’s back. Its reality sent Raila and his foot soldiers over the hill into the waiting harms of the much ostracised Deputy President William Ruto.

It all started with a State House meeting in which Baringo Senator Gideon Moi addressed the press.

Meanwhile, Raila, Wiper boss Kalonzo Musyola, ANC chief Musalia Mudavadi, Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu, Ford Kenya leader, Moses Wetang’ula and a grinning Uhuru stood behind him.

The unease with which Raila stood as Gideon read the presser was notable. As the senior most politician, the ODM leader should have been the one reading the statement or addressing the media. Maybe he wasn’t agreeable to the contents of the presser and chose to be a spectator.

From the onset, the ODM leader had signalled his dissatisfaction with One Kenya Alliance. He felt it was meant to checkmate him out of the “handshake” arrangement with Uhuru and gave it a wide berth.

It is worth noting that three quarters of OKA is made up of former Nasa luminaries — Musyoka, Mudavadi and Wetang’ula. Since the trio fell out with Raila, OKA was a way to poke the opposition enigma in the eye.

Although the ODM boss was free to join the alliance, this didn’t bode well with him because it is not his nature to be invited: He invites because he runs the show.

Second, if Kalonzo, Mudavadi and Wetang’ula did not work well with Raila in Nasa, what miracle would make them maintain the peace in OKA with the ODM chief as a co-leader to avoid the usual cracks?

Third, OKA was not formed to prop up Raila’s ambitions. It is the political vehicle of other 2022 players.

The reason Raila finds it hard to embrace with the likes of Kalonzo is because they are insincere and have no spine to face or tackle the political realities of our time. In other words, these are politicians who like to be spoon-fed. They have zero political capital. Their respective capitals are exclusively from their ethnic groups, while Raila commands more than eight million-strong vote base.

You can put Kalonzo, Mudavadi and Wetang’ula on one side for a political duel with Raila on the other side and at the end, the three will be whitewashed.

It is for this reason, you won’t see either of them on an errand to woo Raila back to Uhuru’s circles.

The President, miffed by Raila’s forays to Ruto’s Tangatanga camp, has had sleepless nights. But what did he really expect the former Prime Minister to do after he started courting his foes? Did he expect him to sit around as he crafts his succession plan without him? Hell no! Raila is not known for being a fence sitter. He is either in or out. No grey areas for him.

Sensing that he would soon be dealing with a hydra-headed force of Ruto and Raila combination, Uhuru did a quick math that sent him rushing to Karen to meet the ODM leader to forestall any such coalition.

He spent some time persuading his brother to “please come back” but it seems his efforts were not good enough. Raila was persistent in charting his own path as Uhuru had done.

Then, the President, noting that Raila was serious about forming a coalition with Ruto, sent his two younger brothers Gideon and Muhoho to persuade him to rethink his move.

This latest move is symbolic and shows how serious the President is in regaining Raila’s trust.

It signalled the length to which he is ready to go to save the wobbling handshake.

Will Raila heed to this latest attempt? And if he comes back, wouldn’t this sound the death knell for One Kenya Alliance?

REUTERS

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