As I was coming to work on Monday morning, I passed by this news vendor who had headlines screaming purporting that Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga was still the front-runner in the presidential race.
But given the trend the National Super Alliance (NASA) politics is taking, one would be forgiven for thinking that, ‘he was just first among equals’- well with the exception of Senate Minority Leader Moses Wetangu’la who depending on who you are listening to is mulling between going for Bungoma Governor, National Assembly Speaker or just another seat with national acclaim.
Back to the big boys, it is telling that Raila at the moment looks ordinary, in that in the run up to the 2007 or 2013 general elections, he could have easily beat down the raising talk of a Kalonzo Musyoka or Musalia Mudavadi candidature if not a joint ticket.
But as one gubernatorial aspirant told me while trying to find something nice to say about the President’s State of Nation Speech; we have told his people, that we agree that Raila has the network -both internal and external – to move a presidential campaign but it always leaves him short. It is the time he considers backing the other principals and sends this guy (he used another word) home at midday.
The question therefore portends; is the ‘Enigma of Kenyan Politics’ finally being isolated?
Look around his chief lieutenants in North Eastern, Coast is decamping to friendly parties within the super-alliance, if you go back to the previous election cycle, these very same persons would have dug in for a tooth and nail, last man standing battle.
But one clear sign that power centre in NASA is shifting; is the vigour with which Western and Eastern regions are coalescing around their favourite ‘sons’; that they have the ‘courage’ to tell the nation that if it is not the ‘Son of Mulembe’ or ‘the Son of the Ukambani’ then there is simply, ‘No NASA’
These pronouncements pour cold water to the all too familiar narrative that has always been advanced by Raila proponents that neither Kalonzo nor Mudavadi can marshal a united community vote.
Kalonzo’s side of the coalition has been doing everything to bring in his Ukambani rivals Charity Ngilu, Kivutha Kibwana, Wavinya Ndeti, among others to ensure that just like UhuRuto did in 2013, they have locked in their respective regions ready for the battle.
Mudavadi and his proponents have been using community radio stations to reach out to the Luhya sub-tribes, in a bid to debunk the long-held myth that Luhyas can never vote as a block.
In fact, so energised are both Kalonzo and Mudavadi camps that both have scoffed off any other position other than the presidency.
“My brother Raila made it very clear that anyone can be president. Now at my age of 63 years, why would I delay that decision any further?” Wiper leader Kalonzo told Wiper aspirants.
Only on Monday, there was a demonstration in Kakamega town – the administrative and political capital of the Luhya nation- where they made it clear that they are not interested in the imaginative post of Cheif Minister, which had been allegedly offered to their community’s spokesman Mudavadi.
The supporters who were drawn from the Bungoma, Kakamega and Trans Nzoia Amani National Congress (ANC) branches, aboard boda bodas, occupied Kakamega streets carrying placards that for instance read “Chief Minister ni wewe” in response to revelations that a report commissioned by the NASA principals did not recommend Mudavadi’s selection as their presidential flag bearer.
Up to this point, I am sure I would ask you watch the politics scene carefully and you will realise there is a constituency that is being taken through the ‘stages of managing expectations’
As the National Super Alliance co-principals retreat next week to deliberate on who among them will be the presidential candidate in the August General Election, all eyes will be on whether Kalonzo or Mudavadi will shelve their ambitions yet again or they bolt out and declare a joint ticket?
What choice will the ‘Enigma’ be left with, if indeed he is left on his own?
@elwanambisi is a Parliamentary and Political reporter at Capital FM)