Kenya’s big three – Raila, Ruto and Uhuru seek new electoral alliances

Sunday Nation

From Left: Raila Odinga, William Ruto and Uhuru Kenyatta.

From Left: Raila Odinga, William Ruto and Uhuru Kenyatta.   PHOTOS|FILE|NATION MEDIA GROUP

Mr Kenyatta, Mr Ruto and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka met last week, the first of three-way meetings intended to explore the possibilities of forming a coalition ahead of the elections.
Sources say that at last Sunday’s meeting, Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto discussed the possibility of supporting Mr Musyoka, Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi or Justice minister Eugene Wamalwa in case the local courts prevent them from running due to the cases they face at the International Criminal Court.
Talk of a visit by Mr Odinga’s confidante Lands minister James Orengo to Mr Kenyatta’s Nairobi home last week has been doing rounds even as the PM announced in Naivasha on Friday that his party is keen on building new alliances ahead of the coming elections.
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With barely six months to go to the General Election, leading presidential aspirants have stepped up efforts to form political alliances with their rivals in an effort to bolster their chances of succeeding President Kibaki.

In the on-going realignments, campaign teams of Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto are said to be engaged in talks which may culminate in a meeting of the three presidential aspirants.

“The venue of the meeting is not known and the agenda is non-specific. It might produce something that will change the race or it might amount to nothing,” said a source who cannot be named because of the delicate nature of negotiations.

However, both Mr Ruto and Mr Kenyatta denied knowledge of the planned meeting. Mr Ruto, who is seeking the presidency on United Republican Party, dismissed talks of a meeting as “mere rumours”.

“I’ve only heard about it as rumours and that was three months ago. What I can tell you is that we have agreed in principle to work together as URP and TNA and ensure that we secure the next government,” Mr Ruto said.

Mr Kenyatta’s spokesman Mr Munyori Buku also dismissed talk of a meeting. (READ: G7 lays out new election strategy)

“This is an attempt by ODM to disrupt our focus from serious issues and campaigns. Mr Kenyatta has not and will never meet or talk to ODM on any alliances or political engagements,” Mr Buku said.

While declining to comment on the planned meeting Mr Odinga’s spokesman Dennis Onyango said: “Party is serious about forming coalitions. PM believes it would unite the country and ease tensions.”

Mr Kenyatta, Mr Ruto and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka met last week, the first of three-way meetings intended to explore the possibilities of forming a coalition ahead of the elections.

Mr Ruto and Mr Kenyatta met last Sunday at the former’s house where they discussed their political future and how to reach out to other leaders and weave them into a major political alliance.

During the meeting, sources say the two leaders discussed two major possibilities. On the one hand, they considered running on a joint ticket while on the other, they considered supporting another candidate.

“We know who will not sit there but this is not an issue of personalities but about alleviating the very many challenges that every Kenyan faces every day of their lives,” Mr Ruto said.

The second option, sources close to the two leaders say, was raised “primarily because of what they foresee as antagonisms towards the Kenyan people from Western nations who support the International Criminal Court and who have been backing the Hague process”.

Asked about the meeting, Mr Ruto said: “The unity of the two parties will address and ensure the harmonies of our two people on land and other matters in the Rift Valley and national reconciliation.”

Local courts

Sources say that at last Sunday’s meeting, Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto discussed the possibility of supporting Mr Musyoka, Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi or Justice minister Eugene Wamalwa in case the local courts prevent them from running due to the cases they face at the International Criminal Court.

It is understood that although the two leaders would want to support Mr Mudavadi if they are stopped from running, the DPM was “weak” and his position on the ICC cases was not clear. They fear that Mr Mudavadi may not withstand pressure from Western nations if the cases went badly.

This is perhaps why Mr Mudavadi — on learning about this concern — sought to state his position on the ICC cases with a media statement sent from London last week.  Read more…

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