President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga will draw inspiration from the victorious Rainbow Coalition of 2002 to neutralise Deputy President William Ruto’s onslaught in the succession race.

Their strategists are considering three options in nominations to ensure their coalition wins majority seats including one used by Narc partners 19 years ago to overcome the formidable challenge posed by the fast-rising United Democratic Alliance and other alliances ahead of the 2022 General Election.

They are considering fielding a joint presidential candidate as well as common or negotiated parliamentary and civic aspirants in a bid to win majority seats in the National Assembly, the Senate and counties.

A Jubilee-ODM technical committee is looking at three possible campaign scenarios that could deliver the House as they seek to pass favourable laws that would ensure the smooth running of a coalition government.

They will either zone the country according to party strengths, conduct a popularity survey in selected regions, or employ the Narc model of conducting joint nominations. 

They are also negotiating with the Party of National Unity linked to Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya, the Upya Movement for Northern Kenya outfit led by Treasury CS Ukur Yatani and Ubuntu People’s Forum of Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui.

In 2002, Mr Odinga was widely viewed as the strongman in the coalition that ended Kanu’s grip on power when he led the opposition campaigns following Mr Mwai Kibaki’s injuries in a road accident.

Sources say the coalition colour will be royal blue, which the ODM leader has been associated with in his ‘Azimio la Umoja’ national tours. He has vowed to revive the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) if elected, which seeks to expand the Executive to include a Prime Minister and two deputies.

This probably explains the determination to have majority seats as MPs will be crucial in the appointment of the PM.

The Jubilee-ODM pre-election agreement seeks to strengthen the partners to avert infighting as witnessed in the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) in 2013 and the National Super Alliance (Nasa) in 2017.

Cord had ODM, Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper Democratic Movement and Moses Wetang’ula’s Ford Kenya. Nasa was Cord plus the African National Congress led by Mr Musalia Mudavadi.

Narc had President Kibaki’s Democratic Party (DP), Kijana Wamalwa’s Ford-Kenya, Charity Ngilu’s Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Mr Odinga’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

ODM National Chairman John Mbadi said they will deploy an effective nomination model to eliminate sibling rivalry during campaigns.

“We will respect the existence of other political parties. Sibling rivalry must be eliminated because that’s what left us with few MPs when we could have had a majority in Parliament,” he said.

Jubilee Secretary-General Raphael Tuju said while the ideal situation would be the Narc model, the 2010 Constitution recognises pre-election coalitions that allow political parties to field their own candidates.

“In those days (2002), LDP, Ford Kenya, DP and SDP could not maintain their identity and that’s why all candidates had to go in as Narc. But under the current Constitution, it’s possible for the parties to keep their identity,” Mr Tuju said.

The technical committee working on the coalition model will have to study all the options and come up with the best one.

“There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’. How we approach Nairobi may be different from how we tackle Siaya. Where it won’t matter who wins, we may allow coalition partners to compete as Nasa did in Kisumu West Constituency, where Olago Aluoch won on a Ford-Kenya ticket,” said Mr Tuju.

“Discussions are going on, including consideration of zoning of different parts of the country, so that if you have a comparative advantage in certain areas, you lead the coalition torch there,” he added.

Mr Mbadi observed: “As the technical committee works on the best way forward, we are likely to field joint candidates in certain regions. We are likely to support parties that are strong in particular areas. It means the joint candidates may come from different parties.”

By Nation Africa

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