Kenya: Kalonzo, Mudavadi and Wetang'ula Caught Unprepared

President Uhuru Kenyatta with Nasa leader Raila Odinga (file photo).

The historic and unanticipated closing of ranks by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Nasa leader Raila Odinga, his bitter foe in last year's elections, has caught Wiper's Kalonzo Musyoka, ANC's Musalia Mudavadi and Ford-K's Moses Wetang'ula flat-footed.

The move, which has parallels with President Mwai Kibaki's handshake with Mr Odinga following the post-election violence of 2008, also left out Deputy President William Ruto and other senior politicians on the Jubilee side.

The three Nasa principals on Friday indicated they had been locked out of the talks.

"While we have always advocated for dialogue, as co-principals of the Nasa coalition, we were not privy to the discussions at Harambee House," the three said in a joint statement.

REPEAT ELECTION

Amani National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Barack Muluka said the secrecy in which Mr Odinga kept the whole discussion went to confirm what they have been saying all along: that the ODM leader was making decisions in Nasa unilaterally.

"This is a conversation that must have been going on for a while. Raila must have been speaking to State House all along and basic courtesy should have demanded that he informs his fellow principals," Mr Muluka told Saturday Nation.

Mr Muluka said Mr Odinga's move, described by political pundits as a masterstroke, was not out of form.

"Just like he said Kibaki Tosha on October 2002 when the opposition was still consulting, he would surprise us all last year by withdrawing from the repeat poll when we were still weighing the pros and cons of such a move."

SWORN IN

But Mr Muluka also captured the dilemma facing Mr Musyoka, Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang'ula when he spoke of their 'do and be damned' or 'don't do and be doomed' kind of situation.

"If any of the three was the one doing this (meeting Uhuru), you would not have stopped hearing messengers of doom talking of betrayal. Now that it is Tinga doing it we say it is statesmanship," Mr Muluka noted.

He traced Friday's developments to the "swearing-in" ceremony on January 30, which Mr Odinga "ensured he was sworn in alone and left the other principals take the flak and invective".

RETREAT

Mr Musyoka's close ally and former Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim also said the "whole thing had been choreographed from the oath day".

Signalling that Friday's developments could trigger major political realignments, Mr Musyoka, Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang'ula said they would go into a retreat on Monday to deliberate on their future.

"There is going to be very serious realignment. Raila beat them to this, but they will try to run and make up for it," Mr Maalim said of the co-leaders.

"They should have taken advantage of the fact that Raila swore himself in and antagonised the Mt Kenya voting bloc. They can still do it because Tinga is seriously courting Ruto," Mr Maalim explained.

Commenting on Mr Odinga's surprise move, Mr Maalim said the ODM leader takes nothing to heart.

"For him it's all about deals. Somehow, this man has a way around these issues," he added.

"The problem with Tinga, however, is that he always allows himself to be short-changed.

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