Raila ponders how to keep Kosgey happy

The place of Industrialisation minister Henry Kosgey in the new power arrangement is giving Prime Minister Raila Odinga a headache after he entered an alliance with Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka.

Mr Kosgey, the Orange Democratic Movement chairman, has expressed interest in being chosen as Mr Odinga’s running mate, a position that might go to Mr Musyoka.

The minister is the seniormost politician from Kalenjin Rift Valley in the Orange movement.

Mr Odinga is working very hard to ensure that the minister does not bolt, but the challenge is that for Mr Kosgey to stay he must be promised one of the key potential seats yet to be distributed.

A Tuesday meeting between Mr Kosgey and United Republican Party leader William Ruto got tongues wagging that he could be headed to the Horn party. (Read: Kosgey meets Ruto after coalition rally)

However, speaking to Sunday Nation on Saturday Mr Kosgey said he would remain in ODM and that he was still interested in being Mr Odinga’s running mate.

“I have not changed my ambition to be running mate. In any case, Mr Musyoka has not asked for the seat. He is fighting for the presidency with Mr Odinga, and so my seat remains vacant,” he said.

He said he was confident that the ODM-Wiper alliance was in a strong position to win the election.

“I am soldiering on. We will win the election because we have broadened the alliance. I will continue campaigning for Mr Odinga to be president,” he told Sunday Nation from his Nandi home where he had gone to register to vote.

The minister said he had met Mr Ruto “for lunch” at the Intercontinental Hotel in Nairobi on Tuesday, but their conversation had nothing to do with a possible defection to URP.

“Ruto rang me, and we agreed to have lunch. It was not a big deal. Even my party leader has met Mr Ruto.”

However, he revealed he was caught unawares with the arrival of Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta at the Intercontinental lunch session where he said they had a “jovial conversation” over the 2002 election when they campaigned for the Gatundu South MP as the Kanu presidential candidate.

Mr Ruto’s party has built a strong presence in Kalenjin Rift Valley with a number of MPs from the region defecting from ODM to the group which is now in an alliance with Mr Uhuru Kenyatta’s The National Alliance.

Mr Ruto has settled as Mr Kenyatta’s running mate in what they are calling the Jubilee Alliance.

Other key politicians still in ODM include Cabinet ministers Franklin Bett (Bomet) and Sally Kosgei from Nandi County.

On Saturday, Mr Kosgey advised the media to forget tribal arithmetic and focus on critical issues on the party agenda like the creation of jobs, expansion of infrastructure and empowerment of women.


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