RENEWED FRIENDSHIP

Raila to share ODM cash but is 2022 deal with Kalonzo possible?

Opposition chief has written a letter informing Wiper of decision to share party's millions.

In Summary
  • Kalonzo says it would not be surprising for OKA to work with Jubilee and hopefully ODM
  • 'I am basically extending a hand of friendship to everyone including ODM.'

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga's ODM party has climbed down and eventually agreed to share political parties' funds after four years of a standoff. https://bit.ly/2UUNwjN

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga's ODM party has climbed down and eventually agreed to share political parties' funds after four years of a standoff.

It was, however, not immediately clear if a 2022 deal between Raila and Wiper's Kalonzo Musyoka was in the offing.

A tough-talking Kalonzo has ruled out playing second fiddle to anyone in the next year's polls despite ODM unveiling the cash. 

At a press conference Monday, Kalonzo revealed that Raila had written a letter informing them of the decision to share the party's millions.

"We have had a very useful consultation culminating in our decision to exit Nasa and enter a new formidable coalition, One Kenya Alliance. In making this decision, we have no hard feeling," Kalonzo said.

Kalonzo noted that there have been genuine attempts to mend fences among Nasa affiliates, but Wiper felt it was time to quit the coalition.

“This party has decided we are not deputising anybody,” he stated.

Nonetheless, he said it would not be surprising for OKA to work with Jubilee and hopefully ODM.

ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna on Monday confirmed that the two leaders had been having direct engagements.

He, however, said the discussions between the two leaders were centred on resolving the dispute over the Political Parties Fund.

He pointed out that the ODM leader and his Wiper counterpart had made significant ground since they started engaging on the matter directly.

Sifuna said the two leaders are “now talking as friends and have made tremendous progress” in their discussions.

“The matter is being handled by my party leader and out of respect for him, we want him to deal with the matter directly with his counterpart. This is because some of us in middle-level management tried and we were unable to achieve much,” he stated.

Kalonzo said OKA is open to having on board other members, including ODM.

"I want to use the platform to welcome ODM for the purpose of national salvation of Kenya. I am basically extending a hand of friendship to everyone, including ODM. This party has decided we are not going to second-guess, we are going straight to form the next government."

He made the remarks when addressing journalists after Wiper's NEC meeting at party offices in Nairobi.

He noted that the top decision-making organ of the party resolved to start the process of formally leaving Nasa and joining a coalition spearheaded by OKA.

He thanked ODM for agreeing to share cash from the Political Parties Fund.

“When we were here, I received a letter signed by him (Raila Odinga) that ODM has now agreed to share the political parties fund; I was happy. I always knew there were hardliners who were misadvising Raila,” he stated.

“We will be writing now, maybe other teams have not made the decision.”

Kalonzo ally Ben Momanyi told the Star that the possibility of the duo working together is "in the cards".

The Borabu lawmaker, who doubles as Wiper Party treasurer, spoke on the day the party's top organ met to review its Nasa position.

"In the cards as yet," was all Momanyi said when asked about the possibility of Kalonzo working with Raila.

The new developments occur as ODM is scheduled to hold a National Executive Committee meeting on Thursday to deliberate on, among other things, the party's 2022 presidential candidate.

Political analyst Joseph Mutua said Kalonzo is under pressure from his community to go for the top seat after supporting Raila in the past two elections.

“Kalonzo fears that if he supports Raila, the Kamba community might run away from him. They would rather he support Musalia Mudavadi,” Mutua said.

"Because of the pressure from the community, Kalonzo might just stick with the position he has held concerning 2022.”

Sifuna said ODM is at a point where its leadership is convinced that it is no longer just about the cash but friendship.

“The two leaders, as they talk, can invoke other things like their long-standing relationship, love and affection,” he said.

Sifuna said ODM and its coalition partners “have walked a long journey together” and hence they will consider sharing disbursements for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 financial years.

“I am very happy and humbled by what Kalonzo has done. For us, We welcome to be persuaded because at first, we did not see the basis they had in claiming a share of the money,” he stated.

“We have been saying we do not receive money for the presidential vote and they have accepted that. This is the sort of progress I am saying.”

Raila and Kalonzo have had an on-and-off relationship over the years since 2002. They teamed up when the late President Daniel Moi endorsed Uhuru Kenyatta for the top seat and left Kanu to support retired President Mwai Kibaki under the Liberal Democratic Party, then an affiliate of Narc—the coalition that decisively defeated Kanu.

As the 2007 general election approached, the two went separate ways, with Raila seeking the presidency on the ODM ticket as Kalonzo flew the ODM Kenya's flag. ODM Kenya rebranded into Wiper Democratic Party.

Election results were disputed leading to the formation of the Grand Coalition government, with Raila serving as Prime Minister and Kalonzo as Vice President. The two did not see eye to eye for the better part of the coalition government.

They, however, came back together in 2013 and Raila vied for the presidency on the ODM ticket, with Kalonzo as his running mate. They were under Cord, which in 2017 metamorphosed into Nasa with the coming on board of ANC and Chama Cha Mashinani.