Is double-speak on London trip a pointer to an imminent split? Story by OWINO OPONDO Publication Date: 3/10/2007
That ODM Kenya presidential hopefuls are divided over the trip to London was expected.
The obtaining verbal fallout among the party leading lights and their supporters over the issue has brought to the fore a major trait that defines our politicians: double-speak.
It was clear on March 2 when the announcement was made that the ODM-K leadership, just like that of Narc Kenya, needed to exhale and strive to find a script to share.
Bonding forum
For that, two ODM presidential hopefuls, Mwingi North MP Kalonzo Musyoka and his Eldoret North colleague William Ruto, confirmed the London meeting and described it as a bonding forum.
It was said the trip was to enable the leaders present their visions to Kenyans living in the UK. However, the about-turn by some of the leaders who had openly rooted for the trip, ostensibly on the “advice” of the public court, raises eyebrows.
Keen watchers of ODM-K know the fallout over the UK trip was merely symptomatic of the personality differences among its presidential hopefuls.
This is not helped by ethnic-informed stances taken by their supporters and a buffet of political parties that don’t share a vision.
Like many other present and past political parties, ambitious leaders are using ODM-K as a ladder to ascend to power.
It is said there are no permanent friends but interests in politics, but the parade of ODM bigwigs beats this wisdom. For example, what do Lang’ata MP Raila Odinga, Gatundu North’s Uhuru Kenyatta, Mr Musyoka, Mr Ruto, former Vice-President Musalia Mudavadi and nominated MP Julia Ojiambo have in common? They were top shots in the Kanu Government. Beyond that, nothing else unites them.
Recall that when former President Daniel Moi hand-picked Mr Kenyatta as his favourite to run for State House in 2002, Mr Odinga and Mr Musyoka were among top officials who ditched the party to join forces with the opposition to form the Rainbow Coalition. Mr Mudavadi ditched the Rainbow and returned to Kanu and Mr Moi appointed him the vice-president.
The move annoyed the Rainbow camp that felt Mr Mudavadi had betrayed their cause. The coalition later jettisoned Kanu out of office with Mr Mudavadi paying the price by being rejected by his Sabatia constituents. He is now striving to return to Parliament, with the presidential trophy to boot.
Buoyed by a different opinion poll ratings within ODM-K, Mr Musyoka feels he is the most suited for the party’s ticket for the presidency. His supporters and community urge him not to relent.
Under pressure
Mr Odinga too is under intense pressure from his supporters and community to gun for the top seat, arguing he played a major role in President Kibaki’s campaigns in 2002.
Mr Kenyatta is still convinced he has what it takes to be the next president.
And Mr Ruto is banking on the support from the vast Rift Valley Province to get the post.
It is the route taken by the five ODM-K presidential hopefuls that will determine the future of the party.

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