Why Kalonzo Mudavadi lunch date could herald fresh coalition

Could Raila, Ruto be magnanimous enough to put Kenya first, drop their bids, back Kalonzo and Mudavadi?

In Summary

• Kalonzo, Mudavadi could be the panacea for Kenya’s highly polarised and tribalised politics. Their victory would prevent a cataclysm.

•  For peace and security, Raila and Ruto must opt out of the contest. They would scored immensely in their political careers if they stepped down and supported other leaders with national appeal.

Nasa leaders Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadiat in Marima, Maara constituency, Tharaka Nithi, on February 28, 2017.
DANCE: Nasa leaders Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadiat in Marima, Maara constituency, Tharaka Nithi, on February 28, 2017.

Last Friday, I opined in this paper that a Kalonzo Musyoka-Musalia Mudavadi presidential ticket is exactly what Kenya needs to avoid a cataclysm in the 2022 General Election.

My judgement was premised on the fact that the current political set-up that appears to pit Deputy President William Ruto’s camp against that of ODM  leader Raila Odinga does not bode well for Kenya’s future.

The two camps are engaged in a vicious battle of wits, with each one daring the other to a cutthroat political duel that could only culminate in chaos and mayhem, irrespective of which camp emerges victorious. Battle lines have been drawn. And the tension is palpable.

Granted, both Raila and Ruto have every right to contest the Presidency in the forthcoming election. Nobody should begrudge them that right. Both have invested heavily in their preparations for the presidential campaigns. Their supporters, too, expect nothing less than a clear run to the tape.

All indications point to a situation of grave danger to the nation of Kenya, what with the expected stand-off between supporters of the two antagonistic camps - Raila's and Ruto's - who may not be ready to accept the outcome of the polls, leading to chaos and mayhem.

This is where the wisdom of the former Vice President Prof George Saitoti comes in handy. The late Internal Security minister will forever be remembered for stating, "There come [sic] a time when the nation is more important than an individual."

I have no doubt both Raila and Ruto have a battalion of advisers who would, in all honesty and wisdom, caution the two senior politicians about the danger of proceeding with their combative campaigns against each other. It is not good for the country!

They should both take a step back and ask themselves whether it will gain them anything to emerge 'victorious', only for the vanquished side to claim that the polls were not free and fair, leading to a stand-off whose repercussions could reverberate throughout the region.

So, what next?

My hypothesis still remains that, for the sake of peace and security of Kenya, both Raila and Ruto must opt out of the contest for the presidency. I have great respect for both leaders. Each of them is a politician of no mean repute. Each of them has the ability to marshal millions of supporters. And each of them deserves maximum respect.

But that is as far as it should go.

My instincts tell me that the two leaders would score immensely in their political careers if they stepped down and supported other leader(s) with nationwide appeal, and who have proven abilities to bring people together, both nationally and internationally.

Apart from Raila and Ruto, among the other leaders lining up for the presidency, two stand out spectacularly. These are Kalonzo, the Wiper party leader, and ANC boss Mudavadi.

The duo could be the panacea for Kenya’s highly polarised and tribalalised politics. They could be exactly what Kenya needs to cool down political temperatures and restore the country’s battered image in the international community.

That is why I applaud both Kalonzo and Musalia for deciding to close ranks (Musalia had earlier chastised Kalonzo for leading his party to a cooperation pact with the ruling Jubilee Party) and agreeing to meet - which they did on Tuesday Tuesday at the Beirut Hotel in Nairobi. The two leaders were joined by Wiper deputy party leader, Farah Maalim.

Although details of the meeting were scant, Kalonzo posted on his Twitter handle, “Consulting with my brother Musalia Mudavadi and Hon Farah Maalim over various national issues earlier today.”

Musalia tweeted, “I met Hon Kalonzo Musyoka and Hon Farah Maalim for lunch today. We had a discussion on national issues and emerging economic and national scenarios.”

Each of the two posts elicited mixed reactions. Though most of the comments were supportive of the move by Mudavadi and Kalonzo to get together and discuss “issues of national importance”, one could not fail to discern derision from both Raila and Ruto supporters, with some dismissing the move as inconsequential. Well, that would be expected from those opposing the two politicians, or would it not?

Of greater importance, however, is that the lunch date could see other similar meetings that could culminate in a union or a coalition, as we head to the 2022 General Election.

All of the four politicians have worked together in the past, either in similar or different political groupings, and so has President Uhuru Kenyatta, who has already declared that he will be retiring after his current term comes to an end.

Deep in their hearts, they know what is good for Kenya. I am convinced that they would not desire to engage in any selfish actions that could endanger the nation.

So, could both Raila and Ruto be magnanimous enough to drop their presidential ambitions and back Kalonzo and Mudavadi?

Only time will tell.

Onesmus Kilonzo is the head of Communication, Wiper party