What you need to know:
- ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi has dismissed as baseless claims that he is working with the Deputy President.
- Musalia's allies however reveal night meetings and secret talks to push him towards an alliance with the DP.
Deputy President William Ruto’s alleged hidden hand in the current Musalia Mudavadi-One Kenya Alliance (OKA) feud is threatening to divide the outfit, currently under the strain of ODM leader Raila Odinga’s ever-looming shadow.
As the 2022 succession politics takes shape, building up as a possible two-horse race between Dr Ruto and Mr Odinga, the quest for a third force by OKA is increasingly becoming a mirage, with member parties showing signs of alignment with either the DP or the ODM leader's camp.
OKA consists of Kalonzo Musyoka's Wiper Democratic Movement (WDM), Amani National Congress (ANC) of Musalia Mudavadi, Moses Wetang’ula led Ford Kenya, Gideon Moi's Kanu and United Democratic Party (UDP) of Cyrus Jirongo.
The revelations by ANC Deputy Party Leader Ayub Savula and firebrand trade unionist Francis Atwoli that some members of the Mudavadi-led party were flirting with Dr Ruto's United Democratic Alliance (UDA) has lifted the lid on simmering tension in the outfit, said to be torn between working with the DP's wing or Mr Odinga's camp.
According to the duo, some OKA-allied MP in Western have been holding “secret meetings” with Dr Ruto’s camp as others are “bought” to be agents of the DP and UDA in the region.
On the ground, some Ford-Kenya MPs have been attending Dr Ruto’s rallies, with Majimbo Kalasinga (Kabuchai) declaring on September 21 that he had switched to the DP’s camp.
And yesterday, Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa, ardent defender of Dr Ruto, told the Nation without mentioning names that there are two OKA principals who have been holding talks with the deputy president.
Mr Barasa said the OKA leaders who visit Dr Ruto do so for what he termed as “political consultations” and not to be bribed in any way.
“I want to state categorically that it is not only several MPs who visit DP Ruto for consultations but even at least two of the OKA principals themselves. They do visit the DP at night for political consultations but not to be bribed,” Mr Barasa claimed.
Mr Savula had sensationally accused some leaders in ANC, particularly Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala, of pushing Mr Mudavadi to work with the DP.
But yesterday, Mr Malala, in a statement that indicated differences in the party, told off Mr Savula, saying the ANC Deputy party leader "does not deserve my response."
Yesterday, Mr Mudavadi waded into the accusations and counter-accusations, defending his team against claims of receiving money from Dr Ruto in exchange of wooing the ANC boss to join the DP.
“Did you witness or you are only asking about a rumour? If one could be held to account in a court of law, would one come out to be able to testify? Not really as far as I am concerned,” Mr Mudavadi said after a service at St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church Huruma, Uasin Gishu County.
But Mr Mudavadi has in the recent weeks shown signs of discomfort with Mr Odinga and during Wiper Party’s National Delegates Congress (NDC) in Kasarani last Thursday, it became evident when either by design or by default he avoided posting photos that captured the ODM leader at the convention on his official social media pages, instead focusing on his OKA colleagues.
The invitation of Mr Odinga to the Wiper NDC had not gone down well with ANC party, with Mr Malala censuring Mr Musyoka for the move, threatening that they would not condone any plans by OKA to back the ODM leader's quest for the top seat.
But on Saturday Mr Musyoka led Wiper in telling off Mr Malala about his ultimatums, terming him as a "young politician who does not understand the politics of uniting the country."
"Don't come and tell us that when we do a certain thing you will leave us; you will leave us for where? Don't come and say in the future that you have parted ways with us but in the real sense you have been sent by those in team wheelbarrow," Mr Musyoka said in Bungoma, in apparent reference to link to DP Ruto's camp.
Mr Malala has not only attacked Wiper, but also Mr Moi's Kanu which he accused of being a "weak-link in the OKA unity bid" by leaning towards Mr Odinga.
At the Wiper NDC last week, Mr Odinga also wadded into the OKA feud, and in a statement directed at Mr Mudavadi's party said nobody should ask him anything about his camaraderie with Mr Musyoka as he is his young brother.
“I heard some people barking and asking why I was invited, I want to tell them that Kalonzo and I are brothers. If your young brother has a wedding you don't disappear, you attend and that’s why I’m here today,” Mr Odinga said.
Yesterday, it emerged that Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua has been kicked out of Mr Musyoka's inner circle for his hard stance against Mr Odinga.
Mr Wambua, among other Wiper legislators had cautioned the Wiper leader against backing Mr Odinga.
Now, Mr Musyoka is said to be banking on the advice of Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr and Makueni MP Danson Maanzo, who are said to have a soft spot for Mr Odinga.
Mr Wambua did not respond to allegations that he has been kicked out of Mr Musyoka's inner circle
As the feud in OKA continues to escalate, Kanu has weighed in on the need for leaders to foster unity and embrace Mr Odinga's ODM, noting they were still one family of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).
Mr Salat gave an assurance that the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) family including Mr Odinga, Mr Musyoka, Mr Mudavadi, Mr Moi and Mr Wetang’ula will remain united.
“I want to tell you that the next President is seated here. What the country needs at the moment is peace, love and unity. We want a country where all of us feel at home and we are not about to unite against a person but for the good of this Country,” he said.
Mr Salat pointed out that “there will come a time we shall have to put Kenya first because the Country can only have one president at a time.”