The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) says it will not participate in negotiations aimed at fronting Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi as a "compromise presidential candidate" for the 2022 General Election.
"We (ODM), as one of the big players, are ruling out involvement in any such discussion because Mr Mudavadi has demonstrated more than once that he is not a trusted ally,” ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna told the Nation.
Talk is rife in political circles of plans to front Mr Mudavadi as a compromise candidate in an arrangement similar to a plan mooted by some of former President Mwai Kibaki's associates ahead of the 2013 elections.
A few months to the March 4, 2013 polls, there were claims that Mr Kibaki’s ‘Kitchen Cabinet’ had settled on Mr Mudavadi as his heir before Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, The National Alliance (TNA) leader, rejected the idea.
In the arrangement, Mr Kenyatta was his possible running mate.
However, Mr Kenyatta’s allies rejected such an arrangement and stuck to their guns, even threatening to back the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy leader Raila Odinga.
“If there will be any arrangement to have Mr Kenyatta drop his candidature, then all roads shall lead to Bondo,” Maara MP Kareke Mbiuki was quoted as saying.
As the clock ticks towards 2022, talk of a compromise candidate has begun in earnest.
Even though Mr Mudavadi’s private secretary Kibisu Kabatesi denied claims they are seeking to have the ANC leader picked as a compromise candidate in 2022, Mr Sifuna insisted that it has been “their wish all along”.
“Talk of Mr Mudavadi being a compromise candidate or 'safe pair of hands' has always originated from ANC. It is and has remained his only claim to the presidency. He defines himself relative to others, not by what he would do for the country,” Mr Sifuna said.
The Kibra parliamentary race is said to have raised political temperatures in the constituency, leading to the sour relationship between the two Nasa parties.
Mr Odinga’s ODM has fronted Bernard Imran Okoth, brother of former MP Ken Okoth who died in July, while Mr Mudavadi’s ANC has sponsored Eliud Owalo, a former ally of the Orange boss.
Mr Kabatesi cautioned Mr Sifuna to tread carefully on such an issue. “I advise him to tread carefully in matters where even political angels don't dare. He has no idea what the big boys are up to. Let him not bring political juvenile delinquency on the high table. He's isn't invited,” Mr Kabatesi said.
PARTY IN PANIC
He accused Mr Sifuna of making unsubstantiated remarks, insisting that Mr Mudavadi was “the right candidate” and not a compromise one.
“Constant nagging from Mr Sifuna speaks volumes about an entity that is in disarray, fearful and afraid of the future,” he said.
Mr Sifuna said: “If there was even a remote possibility of "endorsement", it will be buried in Kibra. Mudavadi never learns.”
Mr Kabatesi told off Mr Sifuna, saying his ranting suggests their entity “is in confusion and scared of the future”.
He said it was ODM’s own making the discussion of Mr Mudavadi being made a compromise candidate in 2022.