Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) leader Raila Odinga and his Amani National Congress counterpart Musalia Mudavadi have held informal talks on the possibility of working together in next year’s elections.
Interviews with MPs in the camps of the two sides said the talks are likely to change the direction of politics in the former Western Province, which is being wooed by the Jubilee coalition.
This also come at a time when Mr Odinga’s co-principal Moses Wetang’ula invited 2,000 delegates to his Kanduyi home, in Bungoma, where he promised to make a major announcement.
On Friday, Mr Odinga and Mr Mudavadi were non-committal about the informal talks, indicating that they were together in Philadelphia, US, during the nomination of Democratic Party presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Narc-Kenya chairperson Martha Karua was also in attendance.
While the former Prime Minister said he was keen to form a broad coalition by bringing on board key leaders, Mr Mudavadi said they mainly discussed the fate of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission whose commissioners have agreed to quit upon compensation.
“That is political speculation. We have not formally held any talks. However, we want to work with like-minded people to form a coalition of the willing. The door is not yet shut, we are trying to get more people on board to win the next elections,” the ODM leader said on phone.
Mr Mudavadi, who has stated that he will contest the presidency for the second time, said: “The circumstances were that we could not hold any such talks. We mainly spoke about the electoral commission and what should be done. You know very well that I am focused on the unity of the Luhya.”
Even as they spoke, sources within ODM said that proposals to bring Mr Mudavadi on board at a time when Mr Odinga’s strongholds are facing an onslaught from the Jubilee coalition have been raised at several brainstorming sessions.
“There has been a lot of talk about getting Musalia on board because of the strengths which he has.
“The matter, however, rests with the party’s top leadership because they know what to do because he was our man before he left,” said an MP who requested anonymity.
FAIRNESS FOR ALL
Mr Mudavadi, who served as deputy prime minister in the Grand Coalition government, quit ODM in 2012 protesting against the way he was treated.
On Friday, Lugari MP Ayub Savula said Mr Mudavadi had the democratic right to choose to work with any party or go it alone.
“I’ve heard Raila wants to work with Musalia. He (Raila) fears that he could lose (Mudavadi) to Jubilee,” he said.
But, he said while most Luhya leaders were working with the Jubilee administration to implement projects in the region, the people will decide their political future in the run-up to the elections.
“We will not be in the opposition because with the current government, we came through the window. That is why we only have two Cabinet Secretaries – Prof Judi Wakhungu and Eugene Wamalwa. We want a bigger share in the next government,” he said on phone.
Mr Mudavadi and Mr Odinga are facing stiff competition from Jubilee coalition which plans a five-day tour of the region this month.
It will start with the re-opening of the Pan Africa Paper Mills. On Friday, Mr Wetang’ula denied that Cord would crumble over the criteria to choose the coalition flag bearer.
“What will divide us when no one was forced or lured to join Cord?” he asked in Busia.
However, he called upon other Cord principals to compete with civility and said all principals must be allowed to campaign all over the country to popularise the coalition and their candidature.
Additional reporting by Kennedy Okwach