Mudavadi Unapologetically ‘Stands Up’ Peter Kenneth And Raphael Tuju
Kenyans gave a collective sigh of relief after the deadline to submit written pre-election agreements passed last night. For a period of just a few hours, the country was treated to more politics than had been witnessed in the last few years combined. Press conferences, public signings, hotel room dealings and one or two cancelled press conferences characterized the whole day Tuesday. Reason, the constitution provided until 4th December for leaders to decide who will take the top positions.
The mood of the day was set by Peter Kenneth, who appeared for an interview on KTN Prime on Monday night. He said that his consultations with several leaders were at an advanced level and he was actually heading for a meeting immediately after the interview. These leaders were Raphael Tuju and Musalia Mudavadi. He also revealed that he had approached ole Kiyiapi who showed no interest. Kenneth was very enthusiastic that the three of them would strike a deal and forward it to the registrar of political parties before the deadline. True to his calculation, the deal was ready by mid morning on Tuesday, and would be signed at the Freedom Corner. Mudavadi was to be president, Kenneth the running mate and Tuju the majority leader.
A statement informing the press and the general public was released and people clad in UDF colours started arriving at the venue.
Meanwhile, large crowds had gathered at KICC to witness the signing of the deal between Raila and Kalonzo. The function was supposed to begin at 10 am, but had not started two hours later. There were murmurs that Raila and Kalonzo had disagreed before they even started their marriage. However, it emerged that the delay was caused by none other than Charity Ngilu, who was still deciding which route to take. To prove just how challenging being a politician in Kenya can be, Ngilu is believed to have been torn between TNA and ODM as late as Tuesday morning. She was widely expected to show up at the Jevanjee Gardens to witness Uhuru and Ruto sign their marriage certificate, but skipped the event. UhuRuto were still not ready to let her go, and are said to have made several phone calls to her, delaying her eventual decision.
Anyway, she arrived at KICC to a thunderous welcome, to the surprise of many. She was once again seeing eye to eye with Kalonzo, and it is in fact the VP who alerted Kenyans first that Ngilu will be among them. On his twitter handle, Kalonzo wrote, “Charity Ngilu is with us!”
To the relief of many ODM supporters, the Kamba vote would not be divided. Even some MPs believed to have opposed the Wiper-ODM marriage like Wavinya Ndeti were present to grace the occasion.
The alliance was seen as the rebirth of the 2002 rainbow coalition (NARC). They settled on the name CORD, (Coalition for Reform and Democracy). Everyone thought that the new Rainbow would face the same opponent it faced in 2002, this time without Mudavadi as his right hand man.. And everyone was wrong.
Immediately after the Railonzo function, we started hearing murmurs that Mudavadi was meeting UhuRuto. It was also reported (on social media) that Mudavadi had agreed to be the majority leader, after ‘lengthy consultation’, that actually lasted less than 2 hours. Then, there were rumours that the talks between Mudavadi and UhuRuto had collapsed, and this was confirmed by a statement by Mudavadi’s spokesman that he would go it alone.
Whether the press statement was meant to give Mudavadi more bargaining power remains a mystery, but soon after its release, the three met again.
Peter Kenneth and Raphael Tuju were caught off guard by Mudavadi’s move to negotiate with UhuRuto instead of them. Their’s was however, easy, since Mudavadi deserted them, each of them would move a step higher. Kenneth for president, and Tuju for running mate. They signed their deal later in the afternoon.
Meanwhile, Eugine Wamalwa was signing a pre-election agreement with Cyrus Jirongo and Nicholas Biwott. Wherever this coalition is headed is not clear, but it is speculated that Pius Muiru would fare better than them in a presidential contest. After all those years of allegedly milking the treasury, Biwott has refused to retire peacefully. Eugine found in him a ‘like minded’ leader, who will move this country forward.. That’s why Kenyans were relieved that Tuesday ended without further ‘breaking of ribs.’
It is not clear what the arrangement entails, but it is believed that Wamalwa will be president, Jirongo the running mate and Biwott the majority leader.
To conclude a busy day, it was finally revealed that Uhuru, Ruto and Mudavadi had reached a consensus. This followed a meeting the three had at the Laico Regency. (Mind you, Uhuru had on Monday declared to his supporters at Jevanjee that ‘siasa za hoteli zimeisha’). Under the new deal, Uhuru and Mudavadi would go through a nomination process to decide who among them would be the president. Ruto’s position as running mate was assured, despite the outcome of the presidential nomination. The loser would then become the automatic majority leader.
It is not clear whether the three discussed on how to fit Mudavadi’s name in the UhuRuto phrase, but going by time taken to strike the deal, it is very unlikely.
Just like that, Mudavadi threw away his ambition to be Kenya’s fourth president. It is an open secret that the nomination process ‘Messi’ agreed to take part in is just to save face. He was walking a tight rope and his only option was to take the majority leader’s position, which would not have augured well with his supporters.
Just as Kalonzo will not defeat Raila in a ‘free and fair’ nomination process, Mudavadi will not defeat Uhuru. Its unfortunate that Bonny Khalwale, the same guy who pulled Mudavadi from a party where the running mate position was assured, was the same guy standing behind him as he announced his acceptance to be majority leader. In a normal situation, he should have been fired by now.
It has all along been suspected, but now it’s clear, that there will be two horses, Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga. The prime minister first made the statement several months back, referring to everyone else as ‘pundas’. And as fate would have it, each of the two horses has one or two ‘pundas’ in his camp. Ruto, Mudavadi, Balala are with Uhuru, while Kalonzo, Ngilu and Wetangula are with Raila.
Between now and January 4th, when party hopping will constitutionally come to an end, Kenyans should brace themselves for a proper ‘Season of Defections’. The major deals have been signed, it is now the small members of parliament’s turn to meditate and decide where they want to be.
During the recently concluded US election, Mitt Romney managed to reduce the gap between him and Obama to less than 2%, after his campaign successfully created a perception that he was gaining momentum. Undecided voters tend to jump to the side that seems to be winning, and this is the tactic that almost made Romney president.
Here in Kenya, it has been the same case. For the past many months, Uhuru and Ruto have been gaining momentum or have made us believe they are. On the other hand, Raila has lost almost all he had, including his deputy Mudavadi.
Yesterday, he re-excited the political scene by bringing back Ngilu and Kalonzo among other leaders. All of a sudden, the perception has changed to that of ‘Raila is gaining momentum’. Whether he can sustain it is a whole different story, but in the past few days, the greatest winner in terms of IMAGE has most probably been Raila. However, the tribal mathematics still do not favour him.
| How It Happened on Tuesday 4th December
|– Ngilu Appears For Railonzo ceremony
– Raila speaks before Kalonzo, raising more speculation as to who will be VP
– Henry Kosgey meets Uhuru and Ruto after the signing
– Henry Kosgey declines to defect to TNA-URP
– Mudavadi releases statement of his deal with PK and Tuju
– Mudavadi calls off the signing ceremony
– Mudavadi meets Uhuru and Ruto
– The three fail to agree
– Mudavadi releases statement that he will go it alone
– The three meet again
– Mudavadi accepts to be the majority leader.