A new alliance allegedly preferred by the ‘system’ at the expense of ODM boss Raila Odinga is at the centre of the unfolding disintegration of the handshake.
The Star has established that Raila’s ODM party is bitterly protesting against political machinations by some of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s handlers to isolate their boss from the 2022 succession matrix.
The ‘Sacred Alliance’ of ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi, Kanu boss Gideon Moi, Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula is reportedly being propelled to sideline Raila.
There are jitters in Raila’s camp that the former prime minister may be used by the President to amend the Constitution through the Building Bridges Initiative and then be isolated for another alliance in 2022.
The trio of Musalia, Wetang’ula and Kalonzo worked together with Raila under the moribund Nasa coalition but they have regrouped and brought on board Gideon.
The three have accused Raila of political deceit and vowed to stick together in 2022.
The three, who mounted rare and high-profile joint campaigns in by-elections in Matungu and Kabuchai, joined the President in February for the first anniversary of the late President Daniel Moi at Kabarak.
Raila allies now claim the strategy is to destabilise his most loyal support bases across the country including Western and Coast with the aim of projecting him as a weak candidate ahead of 2022.
Raila’s men claim that the Matungu parliamentary contest, in which ODM squared it out with Musalia and Deputy President William Ruto, was bungled by the deep state in favour of ANC’s Peter Nabulindo.
The Matungu by-election was seen as a supremacy political fight for the control of Western Kenya between Raila and Musalia ahead of 2022 with ODM saying the ANC victory was pre-determined to teach their leader a lesson.
“ODM won the Matungu by-election but the deep state rigged the outcome in favour of ANC because they wanted to expose Raila as having lost ground in Western Kenya,” protested Shinyalu MP Justus Kizito.
The ODM lawmaker warned that prior to the Matungu by-election, there was a well-orchestrated political scheme by the so-called system to offer a wide range of support to the ANC party.
“We are aware that some ANC leaders were given police protection as they moved across the constituency terrorising voters and harassing election officials,” Kizito said.
The fact that some of the leaders like Kakamega Senator Cleopas Malala who were seen attacking election officials have not been arrested, confirms our worst fears that they enjoyed state guard, Kizito said.
However, Malala who was Nabulindo’s chief agent, denied that ANC was aided to rig the elections, saying ODM was beaten because the people of Western Kenya wanted to send a political message to Raila.
“It is just that we came up with the best strategy and protected our votes from rigging by ODM. ODM should just accept defeat and move on. Nobody should try to bring propaganda that we were funded by the state. The unity of the Luyha nation defeated Raila,” Malala told the Star.
After the polls marred by chaos, violence and claims of bribery, Nabulindo was declared the winner of the hotly contested by-election after garnering 14,257 votes against ODM’s David Were who received 10,565 votes.
Ruto-backed candidate Alex Lanya of UDA was third with 5,513 votes while independent Bernard Wakoli came fourth with 1,536 votes.
Even before the Matungu by-election, tension was building between Raila’s men and some of the President’s confidants said to be keen on manipulating the Building Bridges Initiative process.
In what is seen as part of the elaborate scheme to have Raila’s domineering role in the BBI neutralised, the state operatives secretly moved the BBI secretariat operations to the Office of the President.
The BBI secretariat, the office that has been coordinating the BBI process, was co-chaired by Jubilee’s Dennis Waweru and ODM’s Junet Mohamed but the latest move has handed Interior PS Karanja Kibicho sweeping roles to run the show.
This, Raila’s allies believe, would deny the former prime minister political mileage and whittle down significantly his influence in the whole BBI process despite having played a key role in its approval by county assemblies.
Political analysts have observed that the BBI proposals to amend the Constitution are the ODM boss’ moment to reinvent himself after the 2017 loss to Uhuru and catapult himself to the Presidency in 2022.
Raila’s allies have protested against the move and warned that they might be forced to abandon BBI if the secretariat will be managed by Kibicho.
“If he must continue meddling in the work of the secretariat; if he must continue dictating how we do the work; if he is that indispensable, we will be left with no choice but to abandon BBI. Mr Kibicho is causing political constipation and we are not afraid of telling him that,” Junet told the Sunday Nation.
In what could further throw the March 2018 handshake into jeopardy, there are reports that the President’s allies could be pushing to cut Raila down to size by denying him the much-needed referendum momentum.
There are reports that some state operatives could move to court to have some of the issues in the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020 and which do not need a referendum isolated after Parliament approves the Bill.
The President and the former prime minister had claimed that the Bill also known as the BBI Bill must be approved or rejected by Kenyans at the referendum as a package.
However, ODM National Treasurer Timothy Bosire said the President and Raila must not abandon the BBI course they have championed since 2018′ saying it would trigger chaos that would destabilise the country.
“The two key leaders should not allow many alterations from courts; we had reached the homestretch to realise that BBI was delivering something tangible. The nine issues well-handled would have summoned the country on course,” he said.
As the handshake teetered on the verge of a nasty falling out, Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata, an ally of Ruto, said their past warnings to the President had come to pass even as he insisted that the handshake was over.
“MPs from the Mount Kenya region had warned His Excellency the President not to enter into any political partnership with the Leader of the Opposition Raila Odinga, he is not a trustworthy person. They refused. In fact, the government started fighting us,” Kang’ata said.
He went on: “I am telling you the government business is now in jeopardy. In the Senate, there were two persons who used to push government agenda. Myself as chief whip and Mr James Orengo. He was the de facto majority leader in the Senate. Me I was chased away. Clearly now, Orengo is gone. The handshake is over. Don’t be cheated, it would not be repaired. That means government agenda now stalls.”