UNSTABLE COALITIONs

Political alliances never survive to the next election

Politicians have been forming new alliances as they head towards another election

In Summary
  • ODM has indicated that it will be seeking new partners ahead of the 2022 General Election.
  • Other members of NASA - ANC, Wiper and Ford Kenya - have already formed the One Kenya Alliance together with Kanu.
Nasa co-principals Raila Odinga, Musalia Mudavadi, Isaac Rutto, Moses Wetang'ula and Kalonzo Musyoka during a rally in Uhuru Park, Nairobi, on April 27, 2017.
TUKO PAMOJA? Nasa co-principals Raila Odinga, Musalia Mudavadi, Isaac Rutto, Moses Wetang'ula and Kalonzo Musyoka during a rally in Uhuru Park, Nairobi, on April 27, 2017.
Image: JACK OWUOR

After the advent of multi-party politics in 1992, leading politicians have formed alliances prior to elections but the coalitions never make it to the next electoral cycle.

Are they just marriages of convenience?

The 1992 elections were the first multi-party general elections in Kenya since Independence and the first to feature a direct vote for president.

The opposition failed to unite and the division was seen as a blessing for the ruling Kanu, which won the elections.

The results, however, were marred by allegations of large-scale intimidation of opponents, harassment of election officials, ballot-box stuffing and targeted ethnic violence.

Other front runners were the Democratic Party (DP), the Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (Ford-Kenya) and Ford-Asili, a splinter group.

During the 1997 elections, President Daniel Moi and Kanu again faced a divided opposition. Moi won and groomed Uhuru Kenyatta to take over the presidency and continue his father’s legacy in 2002.

Moi stood down in 2002 for Uhuru Kenyatta to stand. Uhuru led Kanu to its first defeat to an opposition coalition led by retired President Mwai Kibaki.

In preparation for the 2002 elections, Kibaki's Democratic Party affiliated with several other opposition parties, including the LDP and National Alliance Party of Kenya (NAK) to form the National Rainbow Coalition (Narc).

On October 14, 2002, at a large opposition rally in Uhuru Park, Nairobi, Kibaki was nominated by the Narc opposition alliance as its presidential candidate after Raila Odinga made the famous declaration, "Kibaki Tosha".

In a vote widely hailed as a step forward for democracy in Africa, Kenyans resoundingly defeated the party that had ruled over them for nearly four decades and selected the opposition leader as their new president.

The coalition fell apart and Uhuru backed Kibaki to win the 2007 elections against rival Raila, who was the ODM presidential candidate.

In the run-up to the 2013 elections, Raila's ODM formed the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) alliance with former vice president Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper Democratic Movement and other parties.

Under the Cord banner, Raila and Kalonzo teamed up for president and vice president, respectively.

As 2017 elections approached, President Uhuru's TNA merged with Deputy President William Ruto's URP.

Ruto and Uhuru disbanded URP and TNA and their members joined the Jubilee Party ahead of the 2017 polls. A total of 12 parties were disbanded to form Jubilee.

Also, in the prelude to the 2017 elections, ODM, Wiper, Ford Kenya, ANC and Chama Cha Mashinani came together to form the National Super Alliance (Nasa). The new alliance backed Raila for president and Kalonzo for deputy president.

And with Nasa now dead, except on paper, ODM has indicated it will be seeking new partners ahead of 2022.

ODM said Nasa had outlived its usefulness after failing to capture power, adding that each member party was independently crafting its destiny.

Other members of Nasa - ANC, Wiper and Ford Kenya - have already formed the One Kenya Alliance together with Kanu in readiness for 2022. polls. It says it's ready to work with like-minded parties.

(Edited by V. Graham)