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Kakamega to host ‘Kieleweke’ team amid talk of poll pact

Friday May 3 2019

Jubilee and Nasa

Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala participates in a fundraising at Lugari Station in Kakamega County on November 10, 2018. The county will host a political rally involving Jubilee and Nasa politicians. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

NATION TEAM
By NATION TEAM
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The country will on Saturday know the political direction Opposition leader Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta will take.

This is according to an assertion by the Kieleweke Team, a loosely formed political alliance between some members of the ruling Jubilee Party and those of opposition coalition National Super Alliance (Nasa).

The Kieleweke Team, whose raison d’être is stopping Deputy President William Ruto from ascending to power, take their campaigns to western Kenya amid talks of a planned partnership between President Kenyatta’s Jubilee, Mr Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), Wiper Democratic Movement and Kenya African National Union (Kanu) ahead of the 2022 polls.

Politicians allied to President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga will hold a rally in Kakamega Town on Saturday.

Kieleweke has held several meetings in Central, Nairobi and Rift Valley regions, and the weekend meeting is the first time the group is reaching out to communities in western Kenya.

SUPPORTERS

Kakamega Senator Cleopha Malala will host the rally at Amalemba Grounds. “It will be a big meeting,” Mr Malala told the Nation on Thursday. “We want to provide political direction to our people by inviting leaders from other areas and learning from them.”

Among those expected at the meeting are Amani National Congress party leader Musalia Mudavadi, Ford-Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) secretary-general Francis Atwoli.

Others are former Gatanga legislator Peter Kenneth and MPs Maina Kamanda (nominated) and Joshua Kuttuny (Cherangany).

On Wednesday, Mr Kamanda, Gatanga MP Nduati Ngugi and former Mukurwe-ini MP Kabando wa Kabando hinted at a coalition between President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga.

Mr Kabando claimed that he is part of a committee that is laying the ground for an eventual Uhuru-Raila partnership.

JINXED PLAN

Mr Kamanda said: “We will have a new coalition in 2022. The President has been candid that we can’t follow the same path we used before, and that we will have an inclusive government.”

On Thursday, Dr Ruto’s allies said the merger would not work because Mr Odinga cannot be trusted.

MPs Ronald Tonui (Bomet Central), Sylvanus Maritim (Ainamoi), Brighton Yegon (Konoin), Dominic Koskei (Sotik), Laikipia Woman Representative Catherine Waruguru and her Isiolo counterpart Rehema Jaldesa said ODM should play its opposition role in Parliament instead of its leaders thinking of political mergers.

“Mr Odinga is a hypocrite who only thrives on crisis but has nothing tangible to offer the country. There are people in this country who must wake up to the reality that they will only be kingmakers, but they cannot be kings,” said Mr Tonui.

PRIORITY

Mr Tonui said Dr Ruto did not need an endorsement from the country’s political bigwigs to clinch the presidency, as he had the support of the masses.

“We have a clear leadership and reporting structures in Jubilee, with the President and his deputy at the apex. We will abide by what the President directs us to do ahead of the next general election with regard to association with other parties,” said Mr Mutai.

Mr Maritim said entering into a coalition with ODM would result in the natural but unfortunate death of Jubilee and would negate the economic gains realised under President Kenyatta’s leadership.

Mr Koskei claimed the DP’s strategists are aware that there is a scheme to isolate him in the government.

He vowed that the plot will fail. Kaloleni MP Paul Katana urged politicians to solve the challenges facing Kenyans instead of politicking.

Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa said Mr Kamanda has no right to speak on behalf of Kenyans on the political direction to take.

REFERENDUM

Revelations of a possible coalition have brought uncertainty in the Uhuru succession plan as the Head of State is yet to announce his preferred successor.

Last month, President Kenyatta, while defending Mr Odinga against claims that he was out to wreck Jubilee Party, said he had no plans of extending his term and that the ODM leader had also not indicated he would run for President in 2022.

Although the law is clear on the presidential term, political analyst-cum-lawyer JM Waiganjo notes that it is silent on governance structure and whether one can serve as a prime minister or deputy prime minister after being President.

“The issue lies with the referendum,” Mr Waiganjo said. The Kieleweke Team has been rooting for a Constitutional change to create the post of PM and some leaders from the Mt Kenya region have in the past claimed that the referendum would ensure that the Kikuyu stayed in power.

LUHYA INTERESTS

Both President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga enjoy substantial support and could also attract other political groupings to support the referendum, a thing that would change the country’s voting pattern.

The Kakamega rally is part of the larger initiative by Luhya politicians to form political alliances to boost their chances of ascending to power in 2022.

Mr Malala denied claims that the agenda has anything to do with the search for a Luhya kingpin.

“We want to enlist the support of communities from Coast, North Eastern and the rest of the country to bolster the chances of one of our own clinching the top seat,” he said.

The event is being publicised by a team using a vehicle bearing the portrait of Senator Malala. The group has been driving around Kakamega since Wednesday.

Reporting by Ibrahim Oruko, Benson Amadala, Dennis Lubanga and Wycliffe Kipsang