Deputy President William Ruto’s remarks at Mumias Sports Complex on Friday that he sought Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi’s blessings to attend the football match could expose the One Kenya Alliance (OKA) underbelly amid talk of secret deals.
The alliance faces internal and external challenges even as its principals – Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper Party), Mr Mudavadi, Mr Moses Wetang’ula of Ford Kenya and Kanu’s Gideon Moi – publicly say they will remain together and field one of them as a presidential candidate.
Pressure to join Dr Ruto or Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga has intensified, with Mr Mudavadi’s allies in particular pushing him to do so.
In Western Kenya on Friday, two allies of Mr Mudavadi jumped ship.
Deputy ANC leader Ayub Savula, and MPs Godfrey Osotsi (nominated) and Oku Kaunya (Teso North) attended the Azimio la Umoja rally at Bukhungu stadium, Kakamega where they declared their support for Mr Odinga.
At the Mumias Sports Complex, Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala hosted Dr Ruto for the finals of Cleo Malala Super Cup tournament.
Present were MPs allied to Mr Mudavadi – Alfred Agoi (Sabatia), Charles Gimose (Hamisi) and Vihiga Woman Representative Beatrice Adagala.
Ford-K deputy party leader, Richard Onyonka, defected to ODM last year.
Pressure is also reportedly to be coming from State House where the OKA leaders on several occasions met President Uhuru Kenyatta.
In his New Year message, Mr Mudavadi castigated “the evil schemes that seek to overthrow electoral democracy”.
“As we start the New Year, Kenyans must be left free enough to weigh the capacity of leaders and elect leaders who can change their lives positively,” the ANC leader said.
But it is the talk of secret deals that could jolt OKA further.
Mr Mudavadi was expected to attend the football match in Mumias but failed to turn up.
“I respect Mudavadi. Every time I come to Western, I inform him. So Malala should stop complaining,” the DP said.
The Sunday Nation has learnt that after the events in Kakamega County on Friday, a Mt Kenya governor allied to Dr Ruto called one of the ANC lawmakers attending the Azimio rally to plead with him “not to spoil for one of the OKA principals who will have a major stake in DP’s government”.
Contacted, Mr Mudavadi’s spokesman Kibisu Kabatesi blamed the speculation on the Azimio group.
“Those are shenanigans of idle minds,” he said.
But even as he spoke, Mr Savula said OKA lacks focus “as its principals are leaning towards Mr Odinga or the DP”.
“OKA is not moving. We did one rally in November and another in December. We were in Kakamega and Thika in October,” Mr Savula said yesterday.
“Moi, Kalonzo and Cyrus Jirongo are heading to Azimio while Wetangula seems to favour Ruto. That is how OKA is. There is no focus.”
He denied knowledge of a deal between Mr Mudavadi and Dr Ruto.
“But there is a silent agreement in ANC that you cannot attack Ruto,” Mr Savula said.
Senator Malala said nothing stops the two leaders from talking.
“This is a season people are reaching out to each other. It is a fact that you cannot lead this country without working with others. It is good if there are talks,” Mr Malala said.
In a recent interview, Mr Musyoka said he is determined to go all the way to the ballot.
He added that the ODM leader and Dr Ruto have never approached him for an alliance.
“If that comes, it will find a very clear negotiating position,” the Wiper Party leader said.
Allies of Dr Ruto and Mr Odinga say the two leaders will get their running mates from Mt Kenya.
As the talk of secret deals emerge, the bravado OKA principals have been displaying about their chances in the elections is also coming under scrutiny.
When the Sunday Nation reached out to individuals in the parties that make up OKA on the existence of a secretariat, none had any idea.
Meanwhile, the few public political activities by OKA compared to Mr Odinga and Dr Ruto also works against them.
It means they will have little time to popularise their flagbearer if it ever gets there.
For political commentator Martin Andati, the problems facing OKA are myriad.
“They have not agreed on who the OKA presidential flagbearer is. That needs to be resolved now,” Mr Andati said.
Critical to any political campaign, he adds, is money which according to him OKA does not have as much as Dr Ruto and Mr Odinga.
“They will struggle to raise enough money to compete with Raila and Ruto. That is a handicap. But even without the kind of money the other two sides have, why can’t OKA leaders work on goodwill?” he asked.
“They have slept on the job and don’t have serious troops. The OKA brigade does not have serious people to put their messages out there.”
In a recent interview with Citizen TV, Mr Musyoka said he is all in OKA.
“I can tell you we have no difficulty in OKA. I am sure we are going to agree and in good time,” Mr Musyoka said.
He added that OKA principals would hit the ground running this year.
Without public rallies, OKA’s voice has only been heard through written statements and TV interviews of its principals.
With nothing holding it together, the principals have been all over the place even as Mr Wetang’ula recently said the alliance would pick their presidential flagbearer this month.
Insiders doubt if that will happen.
ANC will be holding its national delegates conference on January 20, during which Mr Mudavadi will seek approval from members to begin coalition talks with other parties.
The other hurdle OKA has to surmount is the general perception that its principals are waiting to be endorsed by Mr Odinga or the President.
Sourced from Kenya24news