Saturday, 15 September 2012

KANU Endorsement of Raila and the Kibaki Succession

That the independence party KANU has finally showed intentions of endorsing Prime Minister Raila Amolo Odinga for president in 2013 will be seen as representing a major political coup in the Kibaki succession game. When it comes, it will also throw the spanner into the works in so far as Rift Valley politics goes.

Interestingly, KANU was recently abandoned by Uhuru Kenyatta who opted to form the TNA and who has himself showed signs of willingness to work with ODM "after" the elections. Questions are now being raised as to whether Mudavadi's deparutre has suddenly made ODM and Raila an attractive political partner.

Ex-President Moi has remained steadfast in KANU and when Gideon Moi made this announcement while campaigning for the party's candidate in the Ndhiwa by-elections he could have been echoing the words of the elder statesman. The younger Moi also promised announcement would have to be ratified by the KANU NDC.

Political observers will recall how in 2002, President Moi suprised everyone by insisting on a greenhorn successor in Uhuru Kenyatta when the party was bursting with presidential talent having only months before mergred with National Development Party. Ten years down the line, KANU is now warming up to ODM which inherited most of the defectors from KANU in the Rift Valley and elsewhere.

As a party whose campaign is premised on reform, ODM must be seen to be reformist in the company it keeps. We wait to see the formal announcement of a pre-election deal between ODM and KANU a relationship that is already being tested by the Ndhiwa by-election where a number of unsuccessful ODM nominees have opted to support the KANU candidate rather than rally behind one of the own.

When Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto allied MPs of the 10th parliament rallied to make amendments to the Political Parties Act 2010 legitimising pre-election and post-election agreements none of them would have imagined that ODM would also be in similar frame for crafting alliances since their objective then was limited to building a united vehicle to defeat Raila Odinga in the 2013 general elections. Not only has the G-7 collapsed but a lot of water has passed under the bridge with the political landscape changing almost daily. Perhaps even more importantly, a preferred presidential successor has apparently been unveiled by the incumbent president much to the chagrin on Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto who at one time many assumed would be endorsed by President Kibaki as his natural successors. 

The next two months promises even more alignments and re-alignments.

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