Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (Ford-Kenya) leader Moses Wetang’ula was not part of a political deal on who between Mr Raila Odinga and Mr Kalonzo Musyoka will be Cord’s presidential candidate in 2017, two senators said on Tuesday.
Mr Johnson Muthama and Mr James Orengo told Ford-Kenya politicians to stop commenting on the 2013 memorandum of understanding between Mr Odinga and Mr Musyoka because their party leader was not involved in the negotiations.
According to the deal, Mr Musyoka was to support Mr Odinga’s presidential bid in 2013 on the understanding that Mr Odinga would reciprocate after one term.
Just like Mr Odinga and Mr Musyoka, Mr Wetang’ula is seeking to be the Cord presidential candidate, and yesterday’s revelation could come as a blow to his quest for the coalition’s ticket.
At the weekend, his ally, Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa, told a rally in western Kenya that the MoU should be used to pick Cord’s presidential candidate ahead of next year’s election.
When Mr Wetang’ula was launching his presidential campaign in Kakamega on April 2, he was accompanied by Mr Musyoka. However, Mr Odinga skipped the event and went to Tanzania.
“You remember that we had an MoU in the coalition that said that Mr Odinga will hand over to Mr Musyoka,” the Kiminini MP told the weekend rally.
On Tuesday, however, Mr Muthama of Wiper Democratic Party and Mr Orengo of ODM, told him to stay away from the MoU because Ford-Kenya was not party to it. The two are the co-chairmen of the Cord management committee. Their Ford-Kenya counterpart, Mr Eseli Simiyu, did not attend yesterday’s press conference.
“The MoU was between Mr Odinga and Mr Kalonzo. The only other people who saw it were myself, Mr James Orengo, Mr David Musila and the late Mr Mutula Kilonzo and the two principals,” Mr Muthama told a press conference at Mr Odinga’s Capitol Hill Centre office in Nairobi.
The revelation is likely to generate debate within Cord as member parties race to provide a strong candidate to face off with President Uhuru Kenyatta, who will be seeking re-election. Mr Kenyatta is this weekend expected in Nakuru to lead a thanksgiving rally after the ICC dropped charges against his deputy, Mr William Ruto. The two are widely expected to launch their re-election bid the same day. Mr Kenyatta will thereafter lead a three-day Cabinet retreat in Naivasha.
In a joint statement read by Mr Muthama, the two said: “We note with concern that most of the vocal MPs on this matter are the lot that has long characterised themselves as rebels and who have since stopped participating in the activities of the coalition.”
The statement also warned that disciplinary measures would be taken against errant members making inflammatory remarks meant to create cracks in the opposition.
The two also urged Cord presidential aspirants to stop seeking endorsement from each other. According to them, the entire coalition will be involved in nominating its candidate.
MPs commenting on the MoU were rebels already working with the ruling Jubilee Coalition, they said.
In a rejoinder, Dr Wamalwa urged the Cord management committee to quickly address the emerging differences and warned that nasty speeches being made by ODM supporters — including Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya — could lead to cracks in Cord. Mr Oparanya is the ODM deputy party leader and had opposed Mr Wetang’ula’s bid to launch his campaign in Kakamega. The launch was marred by violence.
Ford-Kenya is expected to hold its National Executive Council meeting either today or tomorrow to discuss the new development.