The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) could be headed for a major political storm should talks on the formation of a‘Super Alliance’ between the opposition coalition and Amani National Congress (ANC) materialise.
Speaking in Kilifi last weekend, ANC leader, Musalia Mudavadi, hinted at plans to form an alliance with CORD in a bid to muscle Jubilee out of power.
Similar sentiments were expressed by CORD leader, Raila Odinga, during an interview with Citizen TV’s Hussein Mohammed, which aired on Sunday, October 9.
Odinga said that CORD is ready to work with like-minded parties including Mudavadi and the Kenya Africa National Union (KANU) to form a formidable force that would unseat President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2017.
But the probable formation of a ‘Super Alliance’ will throw the current structural organization in CORD into further disarray with the question of who will be the party’s flag bearer in the next presidential elections remaining unanswered.
According to Dr Richard Bosire of the department of political science at the University of Nairobi, the formation of a new alliance might cause internal discomfort among the principals owing to their perception that Mudavadi has not been with them through the journey.
“There is a perception in CORD that Mudavadi has been sitting on the fringe waiting to be anointed as CORD flag bearer. That might deepen the resolve by Kalonzo and Wetangula to show their disgust over not becoming flag bearers of CORD,” said Bosire.
In a past interview, Kalonzo said that he would not agree to rest his bid in favour of Mudavadi noting that he (Mudavadi) had not been there during the coalition’s most challenging times including the anti-IEBC protests.
But the question many have been asking is: What are Kalonzo’s options?
“Kalonzo has very few options; Jubilee is a closed house because they already have their presidential candidate (Uhuru Kenyatta) and a running-mate (William Ruto),” says Bosire.
“I don’t think he (Kalonzo) can fit anywhere in that equation. The only option he has is to run on his own, but of course he cannot win.”
According to another political analyst, Barrack Muluka, there is a possibility of Kalonzo running alone should he fail to clinch the CORD ticket, though his chances of winning are slim.
“The problem is where can they go after CORD? If Kalonzo leaves it is because he wants to up his chances for future elections and not necessarily to win.”
Already, Kalonzo has said that he would not cede his push for the presidential ticket to new entrants, adding that he has sacrificed a lot for the coalition.
Speaking to Citizen TV’s Hussein Mohammed last week, Kalonzo called on his CORD co-principals to support his bid saying a Kalonzo-Raila or Kalonzo-Wetangula candidacy would easily emerge victorious in the 2017 presidential elections.
“I have sacrificed a lot, for very many years and it is time that my coalition co-principals supported my bid. I want to assure my supporters that never again will Kalonzo be out of government,” Kalonzo said while campaigning in Mombasa a fortnight ago.
A section of Wiper leaders, including the party chair David Musila, have faulted ODM’s recent push for a Raila candidacy, saying Kalonzo is better placed to lead the coalition to victory.
Musila further hit out at ODM over recent reports that they may be contemplating going it alone in the 2017 elections, saying they too have other options to consider.
There has also been talks from the Ukambani region that Kalonzo may be looking for a way out of CORD with some stating he could be joining Jubilee.
Deputy President William Ruto, during his tour of Machakos, welcomed Kalonzo to Jubilee saying CORD had nothing to offer the Ukambani people.
It is likely, therefore, that Kalonzo may opt out of CORD, or even the new alliance, should he miss the presidential ticket especially with Raila Odinga being considered the favourite candidate.
Worst still would be if Mudavadi or even KANU leader, Gideon Moi, should he join, are ranked higher than him in the pecking order, with the most likely eventually being a sole candidacy.
Wetangula’s position in the coalition is also under threat should Mudavadi join the coalition, especially since they both come from the Western region.
Since the formation of CORD, Wetangula has been seen as the coalition point man in part of Western, covering Bungoma and Trans Nzoia counties, with Raila enjoying a huge following in Kakamega, Busia and Vihiga counties.
A coalition with Mudavadi is seen as a plus for CORD, though, as it completely locks out the Western region from Jubilee forays.
“Western it is not one cohesive bloc of votes; they vote differently. While Mudavadi will bring the Maragoli votes, Wetangula will be able to consolidate the Bukusu bloc in CORD. Both leaders, therefore, are essential in the coalition,” added Muluka.
Wetangula’s chances of going it alone are, however, slim as he is unlikely to win the 2017 presidential elections.
According to analysts, he could, however, be a ‘hot cake’ in case of a runoff with both Jubilee or CORD being forced to approach him.
Mudavadi is seen as a more influential figure in Western than Wetangula and the possibility of adding his votes to CORD’s basket appears enticing to Raila.
In 2013 Raila got 755,525 votes in Western beating the region’s ‘very own’ Musalia Mudavadi who garnered 353,864 while Uhuru Kenyatta got 66,185 votes.
Just like Mudavadi, Wetangula has insisted that his name should be in the ballot in 2013 calling on Raila and Kalonzo to support his bid.
Unlike Kalonzo, however, Wetangula is not seen as a strong candidate and it is highly unlikely that he would independently run for the top office.
In 2013, Raila enjoyed huge support in Nyanza and Coast as his blocs, and the possible entry of KANU’s Gideon Moi and Mashinani Party’s Isaac Ruto aimed at “stealing” a chunk of Jubilee’s support base in the region, to reduce their stronghold to just Central region.
In the 2013 elections, Raila got 612,057 votes against Uhuru’s 158,083 from Coast region, with Musalia Mudavadi getting 10,564 votes.
Raila Odinga’s future
Even between Raila and Mudavadi, the question of who would be the coalition’s presidential flag bearer and who would be the running mate still lingers with most political analysts suggesting a change in the 2013 line up.
While Mudavadi has refused to abandon his presidential bid, ODM has insisted that Raila is the only one in the country who has the support-base that can help unseat Uhuru.
ODM brigade led by Mombasa Governor, Ali Hassan Joho, has launched incessant push for Raila’s presidential bid with several rallies to increase his support base.
Raila has already been traversing Coast, Nairobi, North Eastern, Kisumu and Western in the past three months to consolidate his support ahead of the polls.
Should Raila drop out of the race and decide to endorse a candidate like he did in 2002, it is unlikely that he would take up the running mate position, owing to his political pedigree.
Entry of KANU into CORD could also tilt the coalition’s fortunes in Rift Valley ahead of the next elections.
“KANU would definitely come into the coalition with some numbers; especially since Gideon Moi and Bomet Governor, Isaac Ruto, have a clout in the region,” said Bosire.
With the disgruntlement witnessed in CORD in the past over presidential candidacy, it waits to be seen whether or not a new coalition is in the offing, and whether it is what they need to win the 2017 polls.