Wycliffe Oparanya (left) and Hassan Joho Raila Odinga

Governors Wycliffe Oparanya (left) and Hassan Joho (right) who dropped their presidential ambitions in favour of ODM party leader Raila Odinga at the Bomas of Kenya on February 25, 2022.

| Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

Uhuru, Raila, Kalonzo, Moi and others form mega coalition to face DP Ruto

What you need to know:

  • President Kenyatta has inked a deal with six parties that have appointed him their lead negotiator in Azimio.
  • Raila Odinga received ODM’s nod and Kalonzo Musyoka revealed his true colours.

Deputy President William Ruto will face the “mother of all coalitions” in the August elections comprising joint political forces of President Uhuru Kenyatta, Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga and Wiper Party boss Kalonzo Musyoka.

The Azimio La Umoja Movement, which was founded by the ODM chief, yesterday won the backing of Mr Musyoka’s One Kenya Alliance (OKA), marking a high point for President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga who have been courting the former vice president for months.

The announcement by Mr Musyoka of official negotiations to join Azimio, and the signing of partnership agreements between President Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party and at least seven other political outfits, marked a day of heightened political activity that is today expected to birth a grand coalition that will challenge Dr Ruto’s bid for the presidency in just over six months.

“We are open to the formation of a grand coalition to be know as the Azimio- One Kenya Alliance,” stated Mr Musyoka in a late evening media briefing in Nairobi. 

OKA leaders Hon Kalonzo Musyoka, Sen Gideon Moi and Hon Cyrus Jirongo azimio alliance

OKA leaders Hon Kalonzo Musyoka, Sen Gideon Moi and Hon Cyrus Jirongo announce a new alliance with Azimio Named Azimio One Kenya Alliance at the OKA Headquarters in Karen this evening.

Photo credit: Dennis Kavisu | Pool 

Mr Musyoka is the political kingpin of the Eastern region and select pockets across the country estimated will have about two million registered voters.

Jubilee deals

John Lonyangapou Jubilee Party Secretary General Raphael Tuju

Kenya Union Party (KUP) leader and West Pokot governor John Lonyangapou (centre) shakes hands with Jubilee Party Secretary General Raphael Tuju (left) during the Jubilee National Delegates Conference at Kenyatta International Convention Centre on February 25, 2022.

Photo credit: Jeff Angote l Nation Media Group

Earlier in the day, Jubilee had signed partnership agreements with seven political parties mandating it to negotiate for them in Azimio, effectively forming the base to build the “mother of all coalitions” that will comprise more than 20 parties.

President Kenyatta, Mr Odinga and Mr Musyoka now become the principals of the Azimio formation, making a formidable force that has strong representation of political top dogs from across the country.

Jubilee is expected to formally announce a formula of working together with other partners during its National Delegates Convention at Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi today.

Jubilee Secretary General, Raphael Tuju, yesterday said the partner political outfits have agreed to officially work together to engage Mr Odinga’s ODM in negotiations for the formation of an alliance ahead of the August elections.

Mr Tuju said the Party of National Unity (PNU), Pamoja African Alliance (PAA), United Progressive Alliance (UPP) and the Kenya Union Party (KUP), have resolved to have President Kenyatta act as their representative and chief negotiator in talks with Mr Odinga.

John Lonyangapou Jubilee Party Secretary General Raphael Tuju

Jubilee Party Secretary General Raphael Tuju with Pamoja African Alliance party leader and Kilifi governor Amason Kingi after signing cooperation agreements during the Jubilee National Delegates Conference at Kenyatta International Convention Centre on February 25, 2022.

Photo credit: Jeff Angote l Nation Media Group

Parties under the OKA umbrella that will be joining Azimio include Mr Musyoka’s Wiper, Baringo Senator Gideon Moi’s Kanu, Martha Karua’s Narc Kenya and Cyrus Jirongo’s United Democratic Party (UDP).

“We have been under pressure to fold our alliance and join Azimio but that will not happen,” Mr Musyoka said yesterday. 

“We will be joining Azimio as an equal partner and have a structured coalition agreement that will be deposited with the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties.”

More than a dozen political parties have separately agreed to join the Azimio coalition.

In yesterday’s Jubilee National Governing Council (NGC) meeting, the ruling party also said it is working with other outfits like the Democratic Alliance Party of Kenya, the United Democratic Movement as well as Upya Party in the negotiations with the Azimio team. 

Mr Kenyatta and Mr Odinga have fronted the Azimio La Umoja Movement as the political vehicle through which the ODM leader will bid for the presidency in August.

Mr Musyoka, however, said OKA would also unveil its presidential candidate, after which the grand Azimio-One Kenya Alliance will choose its ultimate flagbearer.

Mr Odinga, who attended his ODM party’s NGC yesterday, appeared to have no qualms fighting it out with Mr Musyoka in the Azimio formation.

The ODM leader said political parties that sign up to the Azimio La Umoja Movement would conduct a joint nomination for the coalition’s August 9 presidential flagbearer.

Mr Odinga, whose ODM adopted a proposal allowing the use of opinion polls as one of the options of picking candidates for the August elections, said political parties that have subscribed to the Azimio La Umoja Movement’s ideology should present their presidential aspirants for joint primaries.

“We have agreed that all political parties in Azimio la Umoja are free to present their candidates to compete in the joint presidential nomination. Whoever wins will carry the coalition’s flag to the August presidential election,” Mr Odinga said soon after ODM delegates had endorsed him as the party’s sole presidential flagbearer.

The coming together of a the parties increasingly favours President Kenyatta’s determination to influence his succession.

The President now has on his Jubilee side Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya who is the chairman of PNU, Laikipia Governor Nderitu Muriithi, who is also the chairman of Mr Odinga’s campaign board, as well as Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi who now heads PAA and who has been among Mr Odinga’s pointmen in the Coast for several years.

Mr Kenyatta also has Nyamira Governor Amos Nyaribo, who is the leader of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), as well as Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, who has been linked with the same party.

Others are West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo who now leads KUP and who has been a central figure in countering Dr Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) influence in the Rift Valley, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani of Upya Party as well Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa of Democratic Action Party of Kenya (DAP-K).

Prof Lonyangapuo, a former member of Kanu, has also been instrumental in promoting the Jubilee government’s agenda in his backyard, including playing a significant role in the failed Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

DAP-K has also on board Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati, Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyiyi, former Amani National Congress (ANC) deputy leader Ayub Savula and former Ford-Kenya Secretary General Eseli Simiyu, leaders who are central to Mr Kenyatta’s efforts in countering the influence of ANC chief Musalia Mudavadi and his Ford-Kenya counterpart Moses Wetang’ula, both of who have since joined Dr Ruto’s led Kenya Kwanza Alliance.

Mr Tuju said the Jubilee partners have agreed to have Mr Kenyatta act as their lead negotiator with Mr Odinga, a deal that now places the ruling party at the centre of talks with their Azimio counterparts.

“Today we have signed an agreement of corporation with a number of parties who have found it fit to collaborate with Jubilee and have President Uhuru Kenyatta as their focal point of discussions within the umbrella of Azimio,” the Jubilee secretary general said.

Mr Tuju added that the parties had also presented their lists of demands and terms of agreement for the Azimio coalition, which Jubilee would study and present to its partners.

“This is an agreement that we believe will bring this country together. We have done this with the blessings of President Kenyatta who is the party leader,” Mr Tuju added.

Some of the proposals presented by the parties are calls for unity and equal representation, an improved economy under an Azimio government as well as calls to address the vexing land question.

“The objective of the cooperation PAA has signed today is to pave the way for a structured dialogue leading to the signing of a pre-election agreement. The cooperation deal has therefore granted PAA an opportunity to take to the national negotiating table the three main issues of the outstanding land question, the Coast economy and inclusivity in national government,” Governor Kingi said.

Mr Munya said the intention of PNU is to continue with President Kenyatta’s work of uniting the country, and building the economy as part of his legacy.

“We are a party that shares and has the same aspirations as Jubilee and so we have joined forces to bring this country together,” the Agriculture minister said. 

Raila Odinga

ODM leader Raila Odinga makes his remarks during the party’s National Governing Council meeting at Bomas of Kenya on February 25, 2022.

Photo credit: Picture by Francis Nderitu

“PNU has through its NDC – the top decision-making organ – passed a resolution to enter into an agreement with Jubilee and so we are happy to join this movement with others like ODM, which will change Kenya forever.”

Mr Nyaribo said as part of the agreement, UPA would field candidates on behalf of Jubilee in Kisii and Nyamira counties.

“We are happy to have signed an agreement with Jubilee. The Jubilee administration has done a lot for the country in the past nine years,” Governor Nyaribo said. 

“Its record and position are well documented. We are joining it today to take Kenya to the next level.”

Jubilee put some final touches in its preparation for the National Delegates Convention today.

It will, among other things, ratify its plans to join the Azimio team alongside ODM.

The NDC, some sources told the Saturday Nation,  is also expected to approve changes on the structure of party, which insiders say is part of Jubilee’s ongoing efforts to rebrand itself and counter DP Ruto’s influence in Mt Kenya.

Jubilee has in the past couple of months been on a charm offensive in the region as President Kenyatta and his allies seek to reverse the party’s diminished fortunes.

The rebranding of the party, which has included the recruitment of members and revival of the Jubilee in the grassroots, has also seen it redesign and change its logo, dropping the yellow colour and the handshake, and replacing them with a dove, and the red colour.

While addressing his Mt Kenya backyard at Sagana State Lodge on Wednesday, Mr Kenyatta dismissed those who had argued that Jubilee was dead in the region, saying the ruling party had been at work, but was now ready to engage in political campaigns.

Reported by Silas Apollo, Japhet Moturi and Ibrahim Oruko