VIDEO:Cord leaders’ doublespeak on unity
A wooly cloud of political doublespeak has engulfed Cord ahead of the General Election next year.
While its principals have in public vowed to back whoever wins the Cord ticket after joint nominations, individual parties have, in private, laid roadblocks for the other two outfits that could end up in a messy disintegration.
On Sunday, Wiper warned its coalition partner ODM over what it said was chest-thumping and threats to leave the coalition, while Ford Kenya said the Orange party leader, Mr Raila Odinga, should shelve his presidential ambitions and remain a “fatherly figure” as the fight for the coveted ticket hit a new crescendo.
Wiper also gave Cord an ultimatum to name its flag bearer before Christmas Day.
ODM, the largest single party by numbers, is banking on its strength to push its candidate, Mr Odinga, to clinch the Cord ticket.
At the same time, Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka has asked Mr Odinga to “sacrifice” his ambition for State House for him in 2017.
Mr Musyoka was Mr Odinga’s running mate in 2013, and came third after Mr Odinga in the disputed 2007 polls.
Their Ford Kenya counterpart Moses Wetang’ula has presented himself to supporters as the best bet to beat President Uhuru Kenyatta as the other two had tried before and lost.
That Mr Musyoka pitched tent in the Coast for three days, and Mr Wetang’ula campaigned in Narok on Sunday, barely a week and a day respectively since Mr Odinga’s visit in the two regions, has further lent credence to the insinuation that all is not well in the coalition.
Speaking at Tononoka Grounds in Mombasa, Wiper castigated ODM over suggestions that it could abandon the coalition.
“We value and want to keep the unity but as chairman of Wiper, I am telling them to stop the chest-thumping and bragging. We want to tell them that we also have other options if they think they are the majority. We have other ways that we can follow,” said Wiper chairman David Musila.
At the same time, ODM political affairs director Opiyo Wandayi went short of admitting that the party was planning to upstage its Cord partners.
“It is the desire and wish of any political party to capture state power as a single unit. And if the ODM was absolutely sure that it will capture power by itself, we would be very happy,” Mr Wandayi, who is also the Ugunja MP, told the Nation on the phone.
He added: “However, we form coalitions on the realisation that parties stand a better chance to clinch state power.”
In Mombasa, Mr Musyoka said much as he values the unity in Cord, he has sacrificed the most among the three Cord principals, and, therefore, feels he should be given the flag.
“I sacrificed for Mwai Kibaki, Raila Odinga and this nation. Who else can I sacrifice for? I must be a level higher than I am now after 2017,” said the Wiper leader.
On Saturday, Mr Odinga resisted calls by a section of MPs that wanted him to declare his fast-rising, aggressively loyal deputy, Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho, as his 2017 running mate.
“We are not in a tussle within the coalition and we will remain united until we remove Jubilee from power,” said Mr Odinga during a rally at the Kirembe Grounds in Kisumu.
Elsewhere, Mr Odinga also dismissed claims that Cord is on the verge of collapse due to differences among the coalition principals.
Speaking on Saturday during a fundraiser in aid of the Segero Central Seventh Day Adventist Church in Soy Constituency, Uasin Gishu County, Mr Odinga said the coalition is still intact, contrary to media reports that it is about to disintegrate.
“Our coalition comprises Ford Kenya, Wiper and ODM. We had a mutual agreement that each party must strengthen itself because we are not going into the election as one party,” said Mr Odinga.
In Narok, Mr Wetang’ula exuded confidence that the Cord principals were united, but said when the time comes, he will be best placed to hand President Kenyatta defeat.
He asked Mr Odinga to shelve his presidential ambition and become a father figure, who will advise the rest of the Cord leaders.