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January 21, 2019

G Spot: In Kenyan politics, the crazier it sounds the more possible it is

The impossible is possible
The impossible is possible

Kenyan electoral politics is such a bed-hopping orgy that there can be no guarantees that what  is unimaginable today won’t seem like the most natural thing in the world tomorrow.

Let’s face it, who would have thought at the height of the post-2007 election mayhem that Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto would be running mates in 2013?

Back in 2002 when Raila Odinga and his NDP were merging with President Daniel Moi’s Kanu and George Saitoti and Joseph Kamotho were being sidelined in favour of the quartet of Kenyatta, Musalia Mudavadi, Kalonzo Musyoka and Kata Ngala, who could have foreseen that in a few weeks, Raila, Saitoti and Musyoka would be joining up with Mwai Kibaki to form a new alliance that eventually swept the board?

When Kenyan political animals feel there are goals to be achieved, differences, clashing ideologies and vastly different opinions vanish.

Twenty-four years ago, I used to write a weekly political column, Inside Politics, and in January 1993, Moi formed a new Cabinet, elevating two of his party’s bright young things Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi to high office.

Kalonzo, formerly an assistant minister for Works,  was now Foreign Affairs Minister and Mudavadi, formerly Minister for Supplies and Marketing, became Finance Minister.
          Both went on to become Vice President, Mudavadi for a brief period at the end of the Moi era and Kalonzo under Kibaki during the coalition government from 2008 to 2013.


Today, both men are in the opposition NASA grouping. Both have stars in the eye seeing this as their chance to make it to State House. But so many things could happen to derail their plans between now and August.

First, one of them would have to beat the father of Opposition politics in Kenya today, former PM and thrice presidential candidate Raila Odinga, for the NASA ticket. 

Then the winner would have to keep NASA together if such a defeat occurred, and then pick the right running mate from the losers.

Faced with such a scenario, probably the best thing, at least as far as Raila supporters are concerned, would be for NASA to pick Raila for presidential candidate, give him Mudavadi for DP and get them to commit to creating a PM position as a consolation for Kalonzo.

In another scenario, talk of uneasiness and mistrust between the President and his DP means it is not beyond the realms of imagination that between now and the real election campaign, there could be a split in Jubilee, causing need for a sudden shift in alliances before polling day.

In such a situation, I would not be surprised to see an MOU between a Raila defeated in Nasa and a desperate Uhuru in Jubilee, where UK agreed to run as Deputy President, allowing Raila to serve one term and conceivably opening the door to a second UK run for the presidency in 2022, by which time new alliances would have to be formed and new names would have appeared in the race for the top seat.

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