Do you know that there are speculations that ODM leader Raila Odinga’s confidants and Deputy President William Ruto are working on a possible coalition in the next general election? Well, as the 2022 general polls draw nearer day by day political alliances are shaping up. National Super Alliance (NASA) co-principals have been piling pressure on ODM leader Raila Odinga to back one of them but Odinga has consistently remained adamant about endorsing another candidate for the coming elections. Consequently, other NASA leaders led by Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi have ganged up to form One Kenya Alliance to compete with either the Ruto or Odinga candidature separately or as one entity. On the other hand, allies of DP Ruto and the former premier have recently indicated a possible formation of a political vehicle in the run-up to the 2022 race to Statehouse.
The two political heavyweights have also been seen to be gravitating towards each other after separating for a decade now. Even though Ruto and Odinga worked together during the 2007 general elections and being alive to the fact that there are no permanent friends and enemies in the game of politics, a coalition between the two will only depend on the passing of the coming referendum to amend the constitution as spearheaded by the Building Bridges Initiative report (BBI). And this is why.
First and foremost by virtue of being the Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya who has so far served for two terms, William Ruto cannot deputize Raila Odinga because the constitution will not allow that. Meaning Ruto can only hope Odinga will do the honors of supporting him as the flag bearer in the Coalition. On other hand, this time around Odinga can not play second fiddle to not just Ruto but any other candidate owing to the age factor. Odinga is gearing up for his last stub at the presidency, this being his last bullet. So the two will have to push harder for a constitutional change to encompass the position of Prime Minister so that they can negotiate who to be the president and who to take the PM position.
Secondly, as a political analyst and TV pundit, Martin Andati said, a Ruto-Raila alliance may look so appealing on paper but may not marshall the requisite numbers. It’s argued that the two would struggle to get 5 million votes and so there is a need to bring on board other tribe kingpins like Mwangi Kiunjuri, Alfred Mutua, Wycliffe Oparanya and give them positions created under BBI to get the required numbers that can give One Kenya a run for their money.
Then we have these second-term governors who are now aiming at the top job since they have no place to turn to as their time in office has lapsed. Even though these governors are non-starters when it comes to national politics, they command a section of votes especially in their counties since they managed to serve as governors for two consecutive terms. So they will add a lot of value to the Ruto-Odinga alliance. This will only be achieved if the constitution is altered to do away or extend the term limit of governors to allow them to go for another term.
Last but not least, BBI also proposes the introduction of a parliamentary system of government as opposed to the existing presidential one. Having a parliamentary system in place will re-energize members of parliament to fight for the coalition to form the next government knowing very well that they will be considered for ministerial positions or be appointed assistant ministers should the coalition ascend to power.
So if it’s true that there are efforts in the background as perceived in the political arena, it will force the Tangatanga wing led by Deputy President William Ruto to embrace the BBI report even though it’s clear that nobody can stop reggae. For now, though it’s a wait-and-see situation to ascertain whether Ruto will change tune regarding BBI or not.