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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Why One Kenya Alliance will have a headache in choosing its flagbearer

By The Frontier Post Reporter

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The new alliance of Musalia Mudavadi (ANC), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Gideon Moi (Kanu), and Moses Wetang’ula of Ford Kenya could disintegrate over flagbearer disputes.

The alliance is facing a tough challenge of picking its 2022 presidential line-up even as it fights off the claims of being a ‘deep-state’ project.

Should the principals go their separate ways, they are likely to suffer defeat at the ballot that would set back their political careers.

The four say they are out to breathe fresh air and detoxify the country’s politics.

Despite claims One Kenya could be a political makeshift of powerful forces keen on swaying the 2022 succession, the team is said to be setting up structures to affirm their political autonomy.

However, critics say their overriding problem is identifying a presidential candidate.

All the four have declared they will run for President in 2022, raising the stakes for the ticket as they try to craft a formidable lineup that will take them to State House.

Big factors in their negotiations will be how many votes each will bring the table and how popular each man would be nationally.

For instance, if Musalia gets the baton, he will boast of more than 2.8 million voters in Western Kenya, going by the 2017 register of voters.

Musalia and Wetang’ula have pledged to stick together to consolidate their Luyha vote bloc and buttress their bid for a clean sweep in their backyards.

The duo used the twin Matungu and Kabuchai by-elections to assert their authority as the region’s kingpins, despite a spirited effort by ODM boss Raila Odinga to assert his influence.

Deputy President William Ruto failed in his attempt to use the by-elections to gain a foothold in the region through his new UDA outfit.

Kalonzo’s three Ukambani counties have nearly 1.7 registered voters according to the 2017 IEBC register.

Gideon’s bid for the One-Kenya presidential ticket could be complicated by the fact vote-rich Rift Valley is locked by Deputy President William Ruto, who also will be on the ballot.

Kalonzo and Wetang’ula have a history of working together when in 2013 they joined forces with ODM to form the Cord coalition that nearly vanquished Jubilee.

Political analyst Dismas Mokua said the alliance could be forced to stick together for fear of being vanquished by their rivals should they be rocked by any power struggles.

“They are well aware that if they go separate ways, they will suffer a humiliating defeat that will send them to the history books. They will not even be able to influence their backyards,” he said.

“The fear of being consigned to dustbin of political history is the glue that unites them.”

Mokua said the one Kenya alliance principals are walking a narrow path in their 2022 options as major players scheme to alienate them.

“They may need to build more friendships with other regional leaders to expand the alliance beyond just the four of them to buttress their chances,” he said.

Ford Kenya Secretary General Eseli Simiyu (Tongaren) said that One Kenya Alliance’s unity will be tested by the process of choosing a flagbearer and whether they can set aside personal ambitions.

“The nomination process will be the moment of reckoning for the alliance that will determine whether it will hold or not,” he said.

Simiyu is the National Assembly deputy minority whip.

The Ford Kenya MP said the timing of the nominations and the ultimate choice will determine if the alliance will stay afloat until the next general election.

“They will have to choose carefully depending on what each of them brings to the table. If they start chest-thumping and scaremongering, they may not stand the test of time,” he said.

When they unveiled the alliance, Musalia, Wetang’ula, Kalonzo and Gideon were accompanied by Kajiado Governor Joseph Ole Lenku to woo the Masaai community.

However, One Kenya has come under a barrage of attacks from their rivals, especially Raila’s camp, which has accused them of positioning themselves for a possible endorsement by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Unveiled three weeks ago, the alliance has been forced to defend itself against claims it was being groomed by powerful individuals in Kenyatta’s government.

Some of Raila’s allies claimed One Kenya was out to elbow the ODM boss from the heart of the BBI campaigns to tilt the scales in their favour.

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