The Weekly Vision Team
The road toward the 2027 presidential elections is slowly shaping up with a planned formation of a new political alliance that is likely to provide the swing vote in the race. The new alliance consists of Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua, DAP-Kenya leader Eugene Wamalwa, and Kanu Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni, all members of the Azimio Coalition.
The three are set to decamp from the Azimio coalition soon and then officially announce the formation of their new outfit in readiness for 2027, sources told The Weekly Vision. The move, according to political analysts, is a big threat to ODM leader Raila Odinga and Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka as far as the 2027 elections are concerned.
The genesis of the looming fallout is attributed to the National Dialogue Committee Report, which Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka are partially supporting but opposed by Karua, Kioni, and Wamalwa. The big question is whether retired President Uhuru Kenyatta is behind the formation of the group. Uhuru Kenyatta is said to have distanced himself from the NDC report and has confided in his allies that the report shouldn’t see the light of day. Sources say Karua has brought on board key Raila Odinga supporters from the Mount Kenya region, notably former Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya and former Laikipia Governor Nderitu Murithi.
Last week, Martha Karua held two separate meetings whose agenda remains scanty. She first held a meeting with Mr Murithi and Kioni in the morning before meeting Mr Wamalwa in the evening. Analysts now say that the looming split in Azimio may also have been triggered by two other factors. One is the alleged endorsement of Kalonzo Musyoka for the presidency in 2027 by Raila Odinga and Raila’s acceptance to take up the position of leader of the official opposition, as contained in the National Dialogue Committee Report.
Karua, according to sources, feels that Azimio should continue with street protests and demonstrations to sabotage the Kenya Kwanza administration and that by accepting the position, Mr Odinga will be betraying their course. Words doing the rounds say that Raila Odinga had indicated that one of the positions of deputy opposition leaders should go to Kalonzo Musyoka while the other one goes to the Jubilee Party based on the numerical strength in parliament among the Azimio affiliate parties.
This has not gone down well with Martha Karua, who believes that by having been Odinga’s running mate in 2027, she would be the automatic presidential flag bearer in 2027 and deputy opposition leader. The name of Kanu secretary general, Jeremiah Kioni, has been mentioned, but his party leader is said to have advised him not to accept the position. It is against such a background that Martha Karua is allegedly regrouping her troops to find a common vehicle to push her presidential bid in 2027.
Eugene Wamalwa, on the other hand, according to sources, is not happy with the manner in which Mr Odinga is grooming former Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya to be Kalonzo’s 2027 presidential running mate. Sources say Uhuru Kenyatta has no problem with Kalonzo flying the Azimio flag but wants Wamalwa to be his running mate and not Oparanya. It is for this reason that Wamalwa has come out to join Karua in opposing the NDC report, ostensibly to register his disappointment with Odinga. Analysts further say that in a presidential race where Kalonzo is the Azimio flag, Martha Karua contests under Narc-Kenya or the new coalition, and President William Ruto defends the seat on the UDA ticket, there can be no outright winner in the first round since none of the candidates can muster 50 per cent plus one vote as stipulated in the constitution.
Assuming Ruto wins in the first round but without meeting the constitutional threshold with Kalonzo in second place, Karua believes it will be her coalition that will provide a swing vote in the run-off. In other democracies, the third coalition decides who wins in the runoff, and that could be Karua’s take by pulling out of Azimio. Further, Karua is aware that with Kalonzo and Oparanya flying the Azimio flag, the only option left for her under Azimio is to run for the Kirinyaga gubernatorial race, whose victory is not guaranteed.
Therefore, by having a third force, she can enter into a post-election coalition agreement and form a coalition government with whatever side she chooses to support in a runoff. It is important to note that with Karua on the ballot and considering the level of rebellion being witnessed in the Mount Kenya region against William Ruto, she can manage close to 40% of the mountain votes, leaving Kalonzo and Ruto to share the remaining 60%, where it is projected that Kalonzo and Ruto will share the votes 50:50.
It is therefore important that, as political events continue to unfold with more coalitions and alliances being formed, the looming fallout in Azimio is now inevitable, and only a miracle can stop it.