One Kenya Alliance (OKA) will name its presidential flag-bearer in September even as an assessment of the four leaders suggested Mr Musalia Mudavadi and Mr Kalonzo Musyoka are the frontrunners.
A report presented by a technical team on Tuesday to OKA principals Mr Mudavadi, Mr Musyoka, Mr Gideon Moi and Mr Moses Wetang’ula analysed each of the candidates.
OKA leaders are convinced that President Kenyatta is unlikely to endorse any of them as they believe the Head of State is grooming Orange democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga to take over.
And, to signal their seriousness about building OKA, the Nation has learnt that Amani National Congress (ANC), Ford Kenya and Wiper Democratic Movement will all convene their respective Parliamentary Group meetings tomorrow to formally start the process of pulling out of the National Super Alliance (Nasa).
On Wednesday, Ford-Kenya’s Chris Wamalwa also confirmed the parliamentary group meeting. The Nasa agreement states that if three coalition partners withdraw — the other party is ODM — then it stands dissolved.
According to the 29-page report seen by the Nation, the alliance draws its strength from experienced principals, good geographical spread, established parties, available resources such as offices, human resources, funds and nationwide acceptability.
However, the absence of a coalition leader, insufficient government support, weak parliamentary strength, lack of grassroots connection and weak organisational structure are listed as the coalition’s weaknesses.
The fear of being tagged a government project, strong political competition, seemingly from Deputy President William Ruto and Mr Odinga, as well as the absence of a power sharing agreement are identified as threats to the alliance’s success.
But the technical team listed government goodwill, fatigue with a polarised environment, potential partnerships with other parties as well as regional and international goodwill among the opportunities the alliance could harness. An analysis of each of the four principals suggested Mr Mudavadi and Mr Musyoka were ahead of the pack.
According to the report, Mr Mudavadi’s has wide acceptability across the country, is a less polarising figure and has persistently marketed economic revival as his campaign platform that would resonate with the electorate.
However, the report portrays Mr Mudavadi as soft and not as aggressive as the DP and Mr Odinga.
There is also the fear that, if chosen as flag bearer, Mr Mudavadi will could easily be labelled as a government project.
Mr Musyoka is also billed as non-divisive, diplomatic and experienced. But the Wiper leader is cast as not commanding strong support outside Eastern and without huge financial muscle.
Mr Wetang’ula, the team said, is experienced, has a gift of the garb and commands a sizeable chunk of the Western vote. However, he cannot help the alliance beyond Western and will need a lot of propping up to be sold as a presidential candidate.
The team said the Baringo Senator can ride on the popularity of his father, the late President Daniel arap Moi, and does not need much introduction to the people. He also brings on the table a financial war chest needed to mount a serious presidential campaign.
However, the Kanu chairman has been neutered in Rift Valley by Dr Ruto and has no support base. The technical team also identified regional kingpins that the alliance should court to ensure a formidable team in next year’s elections.
In Nairobi, President Kenyatta, Mr Odinga, former governors Mike Sonko and Ferdinand Waititu are among those viewed as pivotal to win votes. In Eastern, apart from Mr Musyoka, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi is listed apparently to try woo the Mt Kenya East section.
In Central, apart from the President, the team believes Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru, former presidential candidate Peter Kenneth and ex-Kiambu governor William Kabogo are instrumental in the region.
In Rift Valley, where the team acknowledges Dr Ruto’s supremacy, Kajiado governor Joseph Ole Lenku and former Uasin Gishu governor aspirant Buzeki Bundotich are suggested as viable campaigners. In Nyanza, Mr Odinga is listed as the kingpin while in Coast, the team is looking to court governors Ali Joho (Mombasa), Amason Kingi (Kilifi), Salim Mvurya (Kwale) as well as MPs Aisha Jumwa and Mishi Mboko.
Initial mapping suggested that the alliance could get 80 MPs after next year’s elections but at the Tuesday meeting the principals are understood to have targeted at least 150 MPs.
Emboldened by the outcome of the Kiambaa parliamentary by-election in which the ruling party lost, the alliance concluded that it can get votes in Central.
Mt Kenya votes
A source at the Tuesday meeting told the Nation that the thinking was that there are some voters in Mt Kenya who do not side with President Kenyatta, Dr Ruto nor Mr Odinga.
In the report, the alliance has also identified 12 campaign messaging areas, including Covid-19 and the Building Bridges Initiative constitutional reforms.
The leaders will also frame their messaging around boundary review process, political succession both at the county and national level, political parties and coalitions, election management, economic inclusion and food security.
The technical team met again last evening and is set to retreat to Naivasha next week to come up with the strategy, including the mode to select the presidential flag bearer, manifesto and the alliance’s identity.