Opposition leader Raila Odinga continues to keep Kenyans guessing on whether he will seek to be the country’s fifth president in 2022 or will go for the premiership once the Building Bridges Initiative report is adopted.
Raila is waiting for the outcome of the plebiscite to give him direction on the next move as to whether he will go for the post in 2022.
Raila has of late come in open to state that BBI is not out to help him land power. Raila has even openly stated that he has not come out to declare if he will run 2022 or not but just using BBI to unite Kenya and he may not even with Uhuru enjoying BBI political fruits.
Unconfirmed reports have it that Uhuru and Raila initial handshake deal was that come 2022, they keep out of active politics and not go for any seat. According to sources, the secret was not to be made public as it was likely to derail BBI process and would only be made after the referendum is passed.
Insiders say both Uhuru and Raila see BBI as a project to redeem their political images generations to come more than being in power. To that effect, the duo is working on Uhuru succession putting in mind regional power share.
In fact it is said Uhuru is considering backing a neutral person to succeed him outside Raila or his deputy president William Ruto box. The person Uhuru has in mind is ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi. Of late Uhuru and Mudavadi relationship has left many questioning. Sources say that if even Raila falls to his hardcore allies and decide to run for presidency and face Ruto, he will throw his weight behind Mudavadi’s bid.
In fact, Mudavadi’s factor in Ruto 2022 campaign secretariat is believed to be the surprise face the president talked of. Senator Gideon Moi, sources say will not run for presidency 2022 and is one of those silently pushing for Mudavadi presidency among the influential larger Kenyatta family. When Uhuru was with Mudavadi in same flight to officiate a power project, it was part of the succession strategy. Others say Uhuru decision to call Mudavadi to attend Bukhungu BBI rally speaks volumes.
What is certain is that the ODM leader must be part and parcel of the next government and that is why he is pushing for creation of an executive prime minister position and a weakened presidentcy
According to his close associates, the outcome of the referendum will give the ODM leader directions on which position to go for or to back a key ally for but not Ruto.
But the president has ruled out going for a third term in 2022 either as head of state or prime minister.
Speaking during a meeting attended by politicians and Kikuyu Council of Elders at Gicheha Farm in Nakuru on January 17 2020, the head of state confirmed that he was not keen on going for another term.
Uhuru has in the past refused to be drawn into the succession debate. Instead, he has insisted that he is only interested in pushing for his development agenda through the Big Four Agenda.
An elder who attended the meeting was quoted saying that the constitution is clear on the two terms for the president and it would not be prudent for the president to go for a third term.
Uhuru has in the past said he was not interested of hanging on to power. However, his close allies like former Jubilee deputy chairman David Murathe and Central Organisation of Trade Unions secretary general Francis Atwoli have hinted that he is ‘too young to retire’ after 2022.
Back to Raila, fear has been that he has started mobilising the country behind the BBI which he is using to rebrand himself.
Last week, the ODM leader met Mt Kenya leaders ahead of the Central Kenya BBI rally scheduled for next month. Mount Kenya has never voted for the ODM leaders.
Raila met senators Irungu Kangata of Murang’a, Mwangi Githiomi, Nyandarua, Isaac Mwaura, nominated, Ephraim Maina, Nyeri and James Orengo of Siaya at the Radisson Blue Hotel in Nairobi where they discussed problems the region faces and general issues on development.
During the talks, Raila extended an olive branch to Tanga Tanga MPs allied to Ruto saying they are free to attend the rallies.
This comes as Raila solidifies his network which points to a man eyeing a bigger role in government.
Already, Raila and the president have been invited to the United States of America to deliver a talk on the handshake.
Speaking during a BBI public consultative meeting at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega, Raila said they have been invited to Washington for two days early next month to speak about the handshake.
In the past, Raila has used a referendum to galvanise his politics and form a team to take a stab at the presidency.
In 2005, the Orange Democratic Movement was borne out of the opposition to constitutional changes in the infamous Wako Draft.
Raila teamed up with Ruto, Uhuru, Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi, among others to campaign against the Wako Draft which then president Mwai Kibaki was supporting. Orange defeated the government’s Banana side.
In 2010, Raila was in his element when he and Kibaki successfully campaigned for the constitution to be changed, paving the way for the passage of the document.
Ruto who was then Eldoret North MP led the team opposed to the proposed constitution but the government side carried the day.
Ruto allies says that just like the Kibaki succession, those who surrounded him and now still in government founded in 2012 UDF to propel him to power.
In the elections, Mudavadi came third in the presidential contest with 4pc of the vote, whilst the UDF won three seats in the senate and twelve in the national assembly.
In 2015 Mudavadi broke away from the UDF to form the Amani National Congress.
Earlier attempts by Mudavadi to rebrand UDF to ANC were resisted by party founding chairman Hassan Osman, leading to conflict within the party for the better part of last year. The Political Parties’ Dispute Tribunal ruled on December 18 last year that the party adopts dialogue and reconciliation, but Mudavadi seems to have decided to ship out.
Those behind UDF formation during Kibaki era were Nancy Gitau who still powerful in Uhuru era, then Kibaki legal adviser Abdikadir Mohammed and then Kibaki private secretary Nick Wanjohi. In fact it is said that the said camp at one time had Uhuru step down for Mudavadi only for him to backtrack at Ruto’s pressure.