The griot of the Jubilee Party, Aden Duale, might not be a Cord mole in the ruling outfit, but he sounds one.
The majority leader’s advice to the opposition co-principals betrays his anxiety about the 2017 presidential election.
Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho’s gravitas has something to do with Duale’s diminishing confidence. While Joho’s supporters appreciate his recent rise, Duale claims the ODM deputy party leader is not up to speed.
As ODM supporters congratulate the Mombasa Governor for his rising political star, Duale claims Joho, 40, is too junior to be a presidential running mate. Not that Joho has claimed the trophy.
Last month during the ODM [email protected] celebrations in Mombasa, Joho endorsed his party leader Raila Odinga as the ODM presidential candidate in 2017. Two weeks later at an ODM rally in Kisumu, Governor Jack Ranguma, ODM chairman and Suba MP John Mbadi, Senator Anyang’ Nyong’o, and Kilifi Woman rep Aisha Jumwa endorsed Joho as fit to be Raila’s running mate.
Joho played a starring role during the Mombasa [email protected] fete, which enjoyed a lot of viewership in Nairobi, given it was parallel to the Jubilee Party merger and launch at Kasarani Stadium.
ODM youth leaders also asked Raila, who doubles as the Cord leader, to name Governor Joho as his running mate.
Joho’s exceptional role in ODM is second only to Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama’s in Cord. Joho is vigorous, suave and abrasive; bold and willing to pick up any gauntlet. He says he does not crave the envelopes that Jubilee dangles in front of other opposition MPs and governors. He shares these qualities with Senator Muthama.
The Mombasa Governor has picked on Deputy President William Ruto as his checkmate, while the icon of liberation, Raila, takes on President Uhuru Kenyatta in the 2017 race.
During the Malindi parliamentary by-election on March 7, Joho handled the moneyed Jubilee politicians well enough to retain the ODM seat. Willy Mtengo won the seat, garnering 15,582 votes against Jubilee’s Philip Charo’s 9,243 votes. The by-election came after former Malindi MP Dan Kazungu “fell for the Jubilee carrot”.
Joho was defiant when attempts were made to close down his family business at the port of Mombasa. His stature has since grown beyond the Coast. The ODM [email protected] parties have accelerated his rise.
The fear of an alternative nexus of power in the opposition, at the Coast and among Muslims, inspires Duale’s doubts.
His fear is this: Joho is a Muslim, and seems to speak for the marginalised at the Coast. He also speaks for the second-rated population of more than 7 million Muslims. Duale as a Jubilee courtier, Somali and Muslim anchor, believes he is the kingpin of this constituency. He is now afraid Joho could run away with the Muslim vote bloc..
When the majority leader in the National Assembly advises Raila against picking Joho as his running mate, he is not speaking for Cord co-principlals Kalonzo Musyoka or Moses Wetang’ula. Duale is speaking for himself.
“You are leaving Kalonzo with more than 1.5 million votes and Wetang’ula with the massive Luhya following for Joho? You will fall, my friend,” Duale said when he addressed the Somali community in Mombasa last week.
Duale, the courtier of the Jubilee regime, advises Raila that Kalonzo and Wetang’ula are his winning cards.
“Please do not pick a deputy [Joho] ‘who hardly commands more than 1.5 million votes. Politics is about numbers, the one with the most carries the day,” Duale said. He prefers the familiar ethnic fautlines of Kalenjin-Kikuyu for President Uhuru and DP Ruto, and the Kamba-Luo-Luhya alliance for Cord. The religious trajectory that Joho may represent worries him. Duale passes a coded message when he says Joho is an upstart without a ‘tribal’ ladder for the climb.