Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka — on-off political rivals — have finally agreed on an election alliance on the same day that Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North William Ruto signed their own deal.
The culmination of lengthy negotiations just a day ahead of the deadline for lodging of coalition agreements with the Registrar of Political Parties seems to set the stage for a bruising two-horse race between the Odinga-Musyoka pairing and the Uhuru-Ruto come the election next March.
But that will depend on how strong other campaigns and alliances featuring aspirants such as Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi, Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth, Gichugu MP Martha Karua, Justice Minister Eugene Wamalwa and former Permanent Secretary James Kiyiapi shape up.
On a day that political leaders were shuttling between meeting venues to beat the deadline, Mr Musyoka bowed to pressure from a section of his Wiper Party allies and agreed to team up with Mr Odinga of ODM.
Their election pact will be signed on Tuesday morning at Nairobi’s Kenyatta International Conference Centre. It will also include Trade Minister Moses Wetang’ula of Ford Kenya.
The VP, who has in the past week publicly rejected any attempts by his allies to team up with Mr Odinga, eventually gave in on Sunday night, following talks with the ODM leader.
He met the PM, who had flown back from the Tononoka rally in Mombasa, at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport’s VIP Lounge, where they discussed a coalition document their respective negotiators put together.
Mr Musyoka was then driven to the city centre where he summoned MPs supportive of ODM-Wiper Democratic Movement coalition to his Jogoo House offices to crucial talks.
Those at the meeting included Education Minister Mutula Kilonzo, Wiper chairman David Musila and Kangundo MP Johnstone Muthama.
After the meeting, the VP authorised Mr Kilonzo, Mr Musila and Mr Muthama to fine-tune the draft coalition document in readiness for today’s signing and announcement of the deal.
On Monday, Mr Musyoka retreated to his Tseikuru home from where he made the announcement to his constituents that he could no longer be taken for granted, in an apparent reference to G7 Alliance leaders Uhuru Kenyatta (TNA) and William Ruto (URP).
He said Wiper party technocrats were working with their ODM and Ford Kenya counterparts to finalise the deal before signing it on Tuesday.
“After we sign the agreement, Kenyans will then know who true reformers are in this country,” he said in Tseikuru.
This becomes the second pre-election coalition deal to be sealed. Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto were the first to agree on a deal which they launched in Nakuru on Sunday and signed on Monday at the Jeevanjee Gardens in Nairobi.
On Monday, Mr Musyoka said the agreement will involve a team of leaders who are serious in the fight against tribalism and negative ethnicity.
However, Mr Wamalwa immediately reacted to a slip-of-the-tongue by Mr Musyoka who had mentioned his New Ford Kenya as part of the deal.
“It is not true. It is Ford Kenya; not New Ford Kenya. We are still consulting, we will hold a national executive council meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) to announce our pact. We are still talking to leaders of other political parties,” he said when contacted.
Ford-K’s Moses Wetang’ula, whose party’s governing council met on Monday, confirmed a pact with Mr Odinga and Mr Musyoka.
“We have an agreement to form a coalition of ODM, Wiper and Ford Kenya. Anybody else who wants join, there is enough room for a formidable coalition,” he said.
The Raila-Kalonzo deal is the culmination of sustained efforts by Mr Muthama, Mr Kilonzo, Mr Musila and former minister Nyiva Mwendwa on the Wiper side and ODM ministers James Orengo, Dalmas Otieno and Anyang Nyong’o.