President Uhuru Kenyatta is keen on having Opposition leaders craft a 2022 strategy that will see them field a joint presidential candidate against his deputy William Ruto.
There are growing fears within the President’s camp that Ruto might get a field day in next year’s polls if his opponents fail to unite and face him as common enemy.
Uhuru’s lieutenants are now pushing for a single formidable alliance and is seeking to get the nod of other Nasa affiliates other than Raila Odinga’s ODM.
Jubilee secretary general Raphael Tuju, a key cog in the President’s succession team, confirmed to the Star that plans are afoot to build a big political machine bringing together all the major parties.
“I am not mandated by my colleagues to divulge the details about the discussions that we have had with their parties at this point, but what I can confirm is that we have made a lot of progress in our discussions,” Tuju said.
It is this push to cobble a broader alliance that appears to have slowed down an initial plan for an only Jubilee-ODM coalition ahead of the 2022 polls.
“These talks (with ODM) does not in anyway exclude other parties, there is no way the discussions would be only exclusive of ODM, we are having talks with more parties,” Tuju said.
The giant alliance will be reminiscent of Mwai Kibaki’s National Rainbow Coalition that successfully ended Kanu’s stranglehold on power in the historic 2002 General Election.
The Star has learnt that there is growing pressure on Raila to work with his estranged Nasa partners Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper) and Musalia Mudavadi (ANC) to enhance their 2022 chances.
The 2022 grand plan will also bring on board Kanu chairman Gideon Moi, who alongside Musalia, Kalonzo and Ford Kenya boss Moses Wetang’ula have been coalescing around the One Kenya Alliance.
Jubilee deputy secretary general Joshua Kutuny told the Star that the party is planning a behemoth political machine with more parties and not just ODM.
“The talks are also reaching out to other like-minded parties that will agree on a working arrangement that will definitely field a joint candidate in the 2022 polls,” the Cherangany MP said.
The details emerged as Raila gave hint after hint that he is readying himself for a political contest with Ruto.
Uhuru and his think tanks believe Raila is the teams’ best bet against Ruto.
On Thursday, Raila rubbished claims that he has only “one bullet” left in his political arsenal.
“I have never said I have only one bullet. In fact, I have a full magazine,” he said.
The ODM leader has also given snippets of his 2022 blue-print making national unity among his central campaign planks.
According to Tuju, the discussions for an alliance will bring on board all parties with which Jubilee has formal working arrangements including Wiper and Kanu.
Kanu has a post-election coalition agreement with Jubilee while Wiper signed a memorandum of understanding with the ruling party that outlined a framework for political cooperation.
Raila’s ODM party has also expressed readiness to work with the Nasa parties despite sharp political differences that have rocked the outfit.
The Orange party has, however, outlined some irreducible minimums if it has to work with Wiper and ANC including being allowed to field a presidential candidate.
“If they want us to work together under whichever banner, let’s have joint presidential nomination process to see who has the numbers,” said ODM director of elections Junet Mohamed.
The Suna East MP said ODM party, which is seen as the dominant partner in Nasa, will not support a weak candidate in next year’s contest.
The Nasa trio of Musalia, Kalonzo and Wetang’ula have insisted that ODM should pull out of next year’s presidential contest and instead support either of them to challenge the DP.
To this effect, they have cited an alleged pact signed in 2017 and in which Raila agreed to run for president but support another partner in 2022.
It is believed that the President is keen on passing the presidential baton to Raila when he retires next year with his strategists working on an elaborate scheme to convince the other Nasa partners to back him.
A section of Mt Kenya leaders allied to Uhuru are planning to market the former prime minister in the region where he has been previously viewed as a bogeyman.
However, the unity talks for a joint presidential candidate would face some headwinds including pressure by Raila’s allies to step down in next year’s polls.
The Nasa chiefs want the principals to pick a joint presidential candidate through consensus like the 2017 case instead of the delegates or universal suffrage being pushed by ODM.
ANC deputy party leader Ayub Savula said they will support joint nominations as long as Raila will not participate.
“The agreement was he runs for one term. The agreement is legally binding because it was deposited at the Registrar of Political Parties,” Savula said.
-Edited by SKanyara