• Raila should be magnanimous enough to join Uhuru in retirement, having played his role as an elder statesman.
• Ruto should take pride in having served Kenyans for two terms as Deputy President.
An article appearing in this paper on October 2 titled, ‘Kalonzo, Musalia tough options for 2022’, contained falsehoods and spurious allegations that must not be left unchallenged.
The writer, one Moses Odhiambo, quoted “analysts” claiming that Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and his ANC counterpart were “building themselves up as running mates for the Uhuru-Raila or the Ruto wing".
The article then went on to state that Kalonzo and Mudavadi were “walking a tightrope.” What grossly misleading statements!
Kalonzo and Mudavadi are walking along a clear road, with no rope in sight, if what Kenyans are seeing is anything to go by.
To the best of my knowledge, the two leaders have declared they will settle for nothing less than the presidency.
Why, then, would anyone start to cast doubts upon their declarations? Since when did these so-called “analysts” know better than the real protagonists of the political battle?
Moreover, keen observers may not fail to notice that the so-called “analysts” quoted in the story are people who are known to exhibit open preferences for either Raila Odinga or Deputy President William Ruto.
And therein lies the big problem – lack of objectivity in their observations.
Reading through the article, one cannot fail to notice desperate attempts by the “agents” of Raila and Ruto to try and hijack everyone else to be part of the dichotomy represented by the duo.
Indeed, each side realises the importance of having Kalonzo and Mudavadi on their side.
One can also read the fear the candidacy of Kalonzo and Mudavadi presents to Raila and Ruto camps: Their entry tilts the balance of power and can come in handy in case of a presidential re-run.
I have argued in this paper before that Kenyans cannot be boxed into the two political camps of Raila and Ruto.
That would be like facing the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. That situation is untenable because the duo is absolutely polarising figures, and a presidential victory for either would only offer despair – and not hope – for Kenya.
It would portend a grave danger with the other side refusing to accept defeat, leading to mayhem and chaos.
The current political set up does not offer optimism, either.
For Raila, the two “horses” — Kalonzo and Mudavadi — bolted from the stable long ago when the true character of deceit and dishonesty by the ODM leader and his team became clear.
For Ruto, his propensity to manufacture enemies mainly through insults and condescending remarks during the 2013 and 2017 presidential campaigns and alleged graft makes him a repugnant candidate for a political union with either Kalonzo or Mudavadi.
For Kalonzo to cavort with Ruto politically, it would be like mixing oil and water – the two can never, ever mix!
While I cannot purport to speak with utmost confidence for Mudavadi, I can say without an iota of doubt that my party leader, Kalonzo, will be on the ballot. This time, there will be no room for the mistake of lining up behind anybody else.
Not only will it be politically inexpedient, but it could also be politically suicidal for the Wiper leader, who has a core constituency thirsting to see him throw his hat in the presidential ring.
This time, his constituency will accept nothing less than his stab at the presidency.
The clarion call among Kalonzo supporters is: “No Retreat, No Surrender…If he wins, we will win it with him. If he is defeated, we will go down in defeat with him!”
This time, Kalonzo’s core support base is convinced that, even in the absence of a sure win, he and his supporters will not be in a lonely corner.
He will be in the good company of either the Raila brigade or the Ruto battalion, whoever will emerge the loser. See!
And this brings me to the next point: That the entry of Kalonzo into the 2022 presidential race means a virtual end to Raila’s support from the former’s Ukambani backyard.
Raila will face an unprecedented backlash for his failure to keep his promise to support Kalonzo in 2022.
Forget about the false claims being bandied about that certain political lightweights bearing the title of “governor” can tilt the balance in favour of the ODM leader in the South Eastern region.
It will not happen! Raila will be quite lucky to muster even five per cent of the Kamba vote.
For the avoidance of doubt, Kenyans still believe in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s pledge to retire in 2022, so any attempts to associate him with Raila’s presidential ambitions is not only far-fetched but also highly untenable.
Raila must not tag along with a retiring President in a desperate move to win a seat that has eluded him four times now.
He, too, should not place too much hope in getting Central votes. These cannot be guaranteed!
Decades of demonisation of the Odinga family among the inhabitants of Mt Kenya region cannot simply be undone by a three-year 'friendship' with Uhuru.
My hunch tells me that even if the two were to offer honey drops to the residents of that region, Raila will be fortunate to garner even 10 per cent of the vote.
Matters are complicated for Raila due to the recent dispute in the Senate over the county revenue allocation.
He is accused of abandoning the Coast, Northeastern, and Ukambani, as he marshalled his Nyanza senators in support of a motion that would have reduced their share.
Regions that have stood with him over the years — a grave mistake that could come to haunt him in his presidential quest.
This brings me to my next point: Financial muscle — or lack of it — by Kalonzo and Mudavadi.
It is well-known that Kalonzo and Mudavadi have run for president before. There is thus nothing novel about their second attempts.
Granted, money is a key factor in campaigns. But it is not the only factor.
If it were, then Jubilee, swimming in money in 2013 and 2017, would have garnered 95 per cent of the national vote in both elections.
The fact that the vote was evenly split means a candidate’s popularity plays a greater role in elections than just money.
In any case, any candidate who does not enjoy state largesse can fundraise for his/her campaigns. This is general practice worldwide.
Did I not see a pay bill number for the Nasa pair sometime in 2018?
Did President Barack Obama not use a pay bill to fundraise for his campaigns in 2008 and 2012?
Looking down on your opponent just because he has not been able to accumulate obscene wealth (by whatever means) for political competition, is not only absurd but also deeply unsettling.
So, what next?
For the sake of peace and harmony in Kenya, Raila and Ruto should opt (or be made to opt) out of the 2022 presidential race.
They are highly polarising figures, and victory for either could trigger unprecedented upheavals arising from disaffection in the opposing camp, splitting Kenya even further.
Raila should thus be magnanimous enough to join Uhuru in retirement, having played his role as an elder statesman.
Four attempts at the presidency are enough, and his candidature in 2022 will not only be tired but deeply antagonising.
As for Ruto, he should also take pride in having served Kenyans for two terms as Deputy President.
That is no mean achievement. Just like Raila, Ruto should take a bow to cool down the political temperatures in the country.
The trio should support either Kalonzo, the suave diplomat and peace envoy with an enviable ability to unite Kenya, or Mudavadi, the gentleman with hands-on knowledge of how to restore the Kenyan economy to its former glory.
But given that Kalonzo is politically senior to Mudavadi (in terms of years served as elected representative, and current political party rankings), the ideal situation would be a Kalonzo-Mudavadi pair for 2022.
In case their pairing would not be possible, then each should vie, and let Kenyans make their choice.
Onesmus Kilonzo is head of Communication, Wiper party