Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s characterisation of the forthcoming presidential polls as a two-horse race is a thinly-disguised trap.
Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and other contenders must be extremely wary of the PM’s strategy of forcing a race between the Odinga and Kenyatta political brand names in the Kenya of the early 21st century.
Raila’s preference for Uhuru as his only realistic rival in the Kibaki succession is a strategy with many hidden trapdoors, some of which would take the DPM and the Central Kenya communities decades to recover from and in the process seriously hamper national development and peaceful coexistence in this country and region.
To begin with, Uhuru must be on his guard against any Raila offer or challenge that seems to suggest that the PM is actually risking possible defeat.
It is not in Raila’s nature or psychological makeup to offer anyone the ‘formula’ for his own defeat.
In fact, the PM has perfected the strategy of Rabbit in the Tar Baby children’s story. We all know how cunning Rabbit convinced his captors to throw him into an open field (and escape) by convincing them that it was the last place on earth he wanted to be.
Raila scores several things at once by seeking to isolate Uhuru as the only halfway viable contender against him in the Kibaki succession race. First, he devalues and degrades all the other candidates, especially those who stormed out of ODM and left him to his own devices or fell out with him on the road to the 2007 elections. Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka fell out with Raila in 2007.