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Raila, Moi discuss Wajir poll amid unity talks

Wednesday February 27 2019

Raila Odinga  and Gideon Moi

Raila Odinga (right) and Gideon Moi at the Lord Erroll restaurant in Runda, Nairobi, on February 26, 2019. PHOTO | COURTESY 

JUSTUS OCHIENG'
By JUSTUS OCHIENG'
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ODM leader Raila Odinga and Kanu Chairman Gideon Moi made the clearest indication of working together Tuesday, when they met at a Nairobi restaurant.

Sources privy to the meeting told the Nation that the two leaders want to work together, and that they discussed the possibility of achieving that through combined efforts to clinch the Wajir West parliamentary seat.

BY-ELECTION

Even though ODM director of elections Junet Mohammed, who attended the meeting, did not confirm the possibility of the two leaders working together in 2022, other leaders interviewed said that was inevitable.

Mr Odinga and Mr Moi met at The Lord Erroll restaurant in Runda for more than three hours, a meeting Mr Mohammed confirmed discussed the political situation in the country.

“It is true the two leaders met and basically what was discussed was how to bring Kenyans together,” the MP said.

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He went on: “They discussed how they can work together in the Wajir West parliamentary by election.”

ODM, Kanu and Jubilee parties have all cleared candidates to vie for the seat.

Until his victory was nullified by the Supreme Court last Month, Mr Ahmed Kolosh Mohammed — elected on August 8, 2017, on an ODM ticket — was the area MP.

He will now fly the Jubilee Party flag in the April 25 by-election.

REFERENDUM

ODM has cleared Prof Mohammed Yusuf Elmi, while Kanu’s candidate will be Mr Abdirahman Ibrahim Mohammed, the successful petitioner in the matter.

Should Mr Odinga’s and Mr Moi's discussions bear fruit, either ODM or Kanu will drop its candidate as they join forces to back one contender to face off with the Jubilee hopeful.

Tiaty MP William Kamket (Kanu) said Mr Odinga’s and Mr Moi’s union will extend up to the 2022 elections.

 “They explored ways of working together in the Wajir West by-election and the deal will be extended towards working together in the referendum and the 2022 election,” Mr Kamket said.

Kanu Secretary-General Nick Salat said the opposition leader’s and the Baringo senator’s meeting yesterday was aimed at strengthening the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) following Mr Odinga’s peace deal with President Kenyatta on March 9, last year.

“The meeting was about the Building Bridges Initiative. Some of us pushing for a referendum don’t want to prolong it so we want to developed consensus so that we don’t subject Kenyans to an acrimonious campaign,” Mr Salat said.

He added that the country was not ready for a repeat of rigorous campaigns witnessed during the 2005 and 2010 referendum.

“We want an agreement across the board,” Mr Salat said.

FLIP-FLOPPING

ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna said his party leader (Mr Odinga) was free to meet leaders across the political divide for the sake of unity in the country.

The meeting is likely to cause jitters in Deputy President William Ruto's camp. Dr Ruto and Mr Moi have been battling to control the vast Rift Valley region.

Last week, the DP moved to assure his supporters that there was no rift between him and President Kenyatta.

He has been under intense criticism from former Jubilee vice-chairman David Murathe who had insisted that there was no pact between him and the President over 2022 polls.

Mr Murathe wants the DP to retire alongside President Kenyatta.

The DP seems to be walking a tight rope as powerful political forces mull a formidable force that could end his ambition of rising to the presidency, come 2022.

His flip-flopping over referendum calls on the quest for expansion of the current executive could see several forces gang up against him.

Even though various proponents of a referendum have not made official proposals, the Nation has established that a majority of them support expansion of the executive to enhance inclusivity.