By Stan Oyunga (stanoyunga@gmail.com)

After the requiem Mass for former First Lady Lucy Kibaki held last Wednesday at Consolata Shrine in Westlands, President Uhuru Kenyatta appeared to spend a few minutes talking with Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka. One may not read much into this but in the on-going coalition building for the 2017 General Elections it may be a sign of warming of relations between the two leaders who had a serious falling out in 2012, leading to Kalonzo joining forces with CORD for the 2013 elections. Raila Odinga was just standing nearby but Uhuru appeared to have no time for him.

If Jubilee wants to win the 2017 elections without a run-off, then it will have no option but to turn east to the Kamba ethnic group that occupies lower Eastern Region but has as a sizable population in Nairobi and the Coast. This ethnic group is expected to have almost 2 million potential voters in 2017 (see my blog “Road to 2017: The game of numbers”) and is a principal partner in CORD but cracks are starting to appear in the Coalition, as last week Raila thrashed the MOU he signed with Kalonzo in 2013, that assured that Raila would be a one term President should CORD win in 2013.

Wiper has had a frosty relationship with Jubilee ever since attempts by Kalonzo to endear himself to Uhuru and Ruto just after they were indicted by the ICC in The Hague in 2011, failed. A remark Kalonzo made in Mosop in Nandi County in 2012 that seemed to suggest he will be available just in case both Uhuru and Ruto are jailed by the ICC, appeared to annoy them and Kalonzo was no longer welcomed. This re-buff drove Kalonzo into the hands of Raila leading to the formation of CORD in 2012. The Kambas have never forgiven Uhuru and Ruto for the mistreatment of Kalonzo and even bringing Charity Ngilu’s National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) into Jubilee in 2013 (after a brief dalliance with CORD) did not add any significant numbers to Jubilee’s vote tally in Ukambani. Uhuru received only 89,064 in Kitui, Machakos and Makueni compared to Raila’s 768,025.

There appears to be strategy by Jubilee to win Kamba voters by using Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, who has an immaculate development record, as an alternative to Kalonzo and there is a growing movement called the Maendeleo Chap Chap in Ukambani which may end up as a political party. But this strategy may backfire as Kambas are unlikely to abandon Kalonzo especially after the treatment they have received from their Central Region “cousins”. Why go for the “Tail” when you can eat the whole animal?

Hence in order to win re-election in 2017, Uhuru and Ruto will have to make peace and make a deal with Kalonzo that will guarantee him a significant post in the Jubilee coalition in 2017. One possible arrangement is that Kalonzo becomes Ruto’s running mate in the 2022 Elections (one heart-beat from the Presidency), meanwhile he or one of his party members can become Speaker of the National Assembly (3rd in line in succession) or Majority Leader (equivalent to Prime Minister) in the 12th Parliament in 2017. Kalonzo can only end up as a running mate once again for Raila Odinga in CORD in 2017 (with no guarantee of winning). If Wiper pulls out of CORD and joins Jubilee, then CORD will have little chance of winning the 2017 elections.

The loss of Wiper will reduce CORD’s projected voters in 2017 to 8.8 million compared to Jubilee plus Wiper’s 10.5 million, a variance of 2.7 million. Hence Jubilee can afford to lose the entire Luhya block votes in 2017 as long as they have the Kamba votes. The significant Kamba votes in Nairobi and the Coast will increase the Jubilee vote tally in both Regions.
As Uhuru prepares to tour the Lower Eastern Region to give out “goodies” watch the body language between Uhuru and Kalonzo.

5th MAY, 2016