BY MOSOKU GEOFFREY
THROUGH emissaries Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka has quietly been reaching out to Prime Minister Raila Odinga ahead of the 2012 election.
Kalonzo believes that the G7 Alliance will not give him the presidential ticket even though he is the most senior potential candidate, according to multiple sources. “We have been talking to some people on Raila’s side and even asked them to tone down. Nothing solid has been presented on the table yet but we think a deal is doable,” said Kalonzo’s close associate.
A minister from Rift Valley who is close to Raila confirmed that two aides of Kalonzo had approached him to pass a message to Raila that he should go easy on rhetoric against Kalonzo. “Contacts have been established but there is nothing to write home about yet. We are considering the issues raised by Kalonzo’s people before deciding how to proceed,” said the minister.
Those involved in the talks are reportedly former ODM-K chairman Dan Maanzo and Kalonzo’s personal assistant Barsito Kaplich who is said to have spoken to an ODM minister. “It is not true. That is pure propaganda which crosses the line of responsible journalism into the realm of insults. The VP has just declared that next year he will take on Raila on the ballot and defeat him. The VP has all the contacts to reach his political nemesis directly. It is inappropriate therefore to say that he has to use an assistant minister to reach him. The Star should practise responsible journalism or declare itself a Raila newsletter,” said Kaplich.
Maanzo denied brokering any deal and insisted that Kalonzo will contest the presidency. He said that a deal between Kalonzo and Raila might have been possible if former Foreign Affairs Minister Raphael Tuju had not announced his presidential bid “With Tuju entering the race, Raila is now finished. Why would Kalonzo do a deal with a man who is finished? Now Kalonzo has high chances of becoming President. I will advise him to mount a serious campaign for the seat instead of looking for a political deal with Raila,” said Maanzo.
Tuju announced last Sunday announced that he will run for President in 2012. There has been speculation that his candidacy is driven by people around President Kibaki and PNU in case the ICC confirms charges against Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta and he cannot stand for the G7 Alliance next year. Kalonzo has appeared ambivalent over the G7 and at the weekend in Western Kenya dismissed the alliance as non-existent.
On Monday, in a damage limitation stunt, G7 leaders William Ruto, Uhuru Kenyatta and Eugene Wamalwa staged a public show of unity with Kalonzo after a joint meeting at the Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi. “There is nothing like G-7 Alliance. I prefer parties uniting for a common cause and not individuals coming together because that will tribalise the country,” said Kalonzo at the rally in Western Kenya. The VP may have become frustrated over an apparent lack of trust from his coalition partners. Ruto’s and Uhuru’s allies have since been pushing for the replacement of Kalonzo in the alliance.
They claim that his actions and statements paint a picture of one who is ready to jump ship since he rebranded his ODM-K party. Ruto’s allies claim Kalonzo has been meeting with the Eldoret North MP’s rivals in the Rift Valley to undercut him.
They say Kalonzo met two ministers from the region who are allied to Raila to plot to neutralise Ruto’s perceived grip on Kalenjin support. “We are aware Kalonzo has met an ODM minister, an assistant minister, former President Moi and his son Gideon with a view to undermining Ruto,” Cherangany MP Joshua Kuttuny said.
Kuttuny, a close ally of Ruto, said the G7 Alliance will either convert to G6 or replace the VP since his commitment seems to be wavering. A close ally of Uhuru said that Kalonzo is determined to be on the ballot so the group may discard him. “He is like a matatu conductor who swings while hanging onto the vehicle as the driver prepares to commence the journey,” Uhuru’s ally said. “I can assure you that the team may as well do away with the VP since he does not since he has a sense of self entitlement and may work to rock the alliance should he not have his way.” He said Monday’s G7 “photo opportunity” did not reflect the reality of what has been transpiring.
Another Uhuru ally Kareke Mbiuki said Kalonzo was invited to the Monday meeting and tasked to state his position as regards the alliance. “Kalonzo believes it’s him and him and him and no one else as he claims he is the senior most person in the alliance,” “Whereas the other six are ready for nomination process, he wants a direct endorsement. That is the point of departure,” Mbiuki added.
Uhuru and Ruto face charges of crimes against humanity at the ICC. Their supporters feel that the VP’s shuttle diplomacy to block the trials was just a matter of PR. “We know that after all he did not believe in the shuttle diplomacy, gauging by what he told one Western diplomat. Unfortunately it (what he said) was relayed to us,” Kuttuny added.