The National Super Alliance (Nasa) shortlist is down to two people: Kalonzo Musyoka and Raila Odinga. Mudavadi and Wetang’ula are not on the list, and this is because the Luhya Nation will be the King-Makers of 2017.
Whoever Mudavadi supports in Nasa will become the coalition’s candidate. Then Mudavadi will assume the position of running-mate. If Raila had the ‘Tosha Magic’ in 2002 and Ruto wielded it in 2013, the man with the ‘Tosha Magic’ in 2017 is Wycliff Musalia Mudavadi.
But why is he the King-maker in this election and not the ‘King-in-waiting?
Mudavadi’s eye is on 2022. This election is just an exercise in political positioning and manoeuvre. If 2022 is his ‘Game of Primary Thrust’, he has only two paths to follow.
One, to sign an MoU with one of the Nasa candidates in the shortlist. And the MoU should state that the candidate he supports will reign for only five years, then leave it to him in 2022. This is the path Raila walked when he supported Kibaki in 2002. It was also the choice that Kalonzo made when he supported Raila in 2013. And in both instances, the MoU was nothing but an ‘instrument of political conmanship’. If Mudavadi takes this path, he will be confirmed as a Homo Sapien of limited intelligence.
The second path is more ‘intelligent’. If Mudavadi’s eye is on 2022, he must support a loser in the Nasa shortlist. This way, he would not be trying to remove Kalonzo or Raila from the presidency in 2022. His contest would be against William Ruto, not President Raila or President Kalonzo. If 2022 is a serious bid for Mudavadi then, he must support a Nasa candidate who will guarantee failure in this election.
If he supports Raila, and Nasa wins the election, he has to wait until 2027. And this is because if he wins, Raila will seek re-election in 2022 for a fact.
If Mudavadi has the ‘Tosha Magic’ in Nasa, this ‘magic’ is a death pill. If he supports Raila, it is because he wants Raila to lose. If he supports Kalonzo, it is because he wants Kalonzo to lose. And this is how Mudavadi will guarantee a fair fight against Ruto in 2022. The logic is as simple as that.
Back to the Nasa shortlist, the hypothesis is that Kalonzo and Raila will not agree. Never. And the reasons are simple. For starters, Raila has a political heritage built through 100 years of labour, pain and sacrifice. For Raila to produce his current crop of political success, he ‘mixed his SWEAT with the SOIL’. If you add his 50 years in politics and his father’s 60 years, you have an incredible ‘Work of Labour’. And the question is; Will the ‘Odinga Dynasty’ hand over a 100 years of collective labour to some guy called Kalonzo? The answer is Zero!
What about Kalonzo? My submission is that his ‘dreams are valid’. He is now 64 years old. If he supports Raila, and Nasa wins the election, he has to wait until 2027. And this is because if he wins, Raila will seek re-election in 2022 for a fact. This is NOT negotiable. But there is a bigger complication in 2027. If Uhuru loses this election, he is allowed by the constitution to run for only one-term in 2022 and 2027. Therefore, if Kalonzo waits until 2027, he will fight it out with Uhuru, Ruto and Mudavadi. His chances would be nil. And this is why his best bet is 2017.
If Kalonzo and Raila will not agree, what are the options? Three scenarios are discernible. The first is the sneaky option driven by Raila who wants to push Kalonzo to a point-of-no-return. If he can delay the identification of a Nasa candidate till June, it would be too late for Kalonzo to bolt even if Raila were the candidate. This is how Raila will force Kalonzo into supporting him.
The second is the ‘Tosha option’ by Mudavadi. If he has the ‘Tosha Magic’, he should just anoint Raila or Kalonzo. But Mudavadi is a Homo Sapien of limited courage. To use his ‘Tosha Magic’ is to act out of character. What this means is that the Mudavadi Option in resolving the Nasa deadlock is moribund. Or is it?
The idea of a Super Alliance under Narc must have given Kenyans the illusion of victory and they forgot to vote.
The third is the Option of ‘Voter Paradox’. After studying five elections from 1992 to 2013, a pattern of ‘Voter Paradox’ emerges from the 1992 and 2002 elections. Starting with 2002 election, that was a magical ‘movement’, delivered by a vehicle called Narc. Kenyans were even categorised as the most optimistic people in the world owing to that election that was like the ‘Ark of Noah’. It was an ‘Ark of Possibilities’ and promise but it was also the ‘Ark’ that planted seeds of civil war in 2007.
But there was another contradiction in the ‘Narc Paradox’. Although magical, it attracted the lowest voter turnout in the history of Kenyan multi-party era elections. With 10 million registered voters, only five million voted. The idea of a Super Alliance under Narc must have given Kenyans the illusion of victory and they forgot to vote. If Nasa expects to recreate the Narc magic, they must keep this lesson in mind. History has taught us that ‘Euphoria justifies low voter turn-out’.
Now back to 1992. During that election, the opposition refused to unite. In their division, they gathered over 60 per cent of the total vote, separately. In fact, Mzee Daniel arap Moi was only re-elected by slightly over 30 per cent of voters. If that was today, the 60 per cent vote given to the opposition would have forced a run-off with Moi against one candidate and maybe the opposition could have won.
The here is, Nasa is using the 2002 opposition model instead of the 1992 opposition model. If they abandon a Grand Coalition like in 1992, they would force a run-off. But if they insist on a grand coalition and achieve it, they will have the low voter turn out of 2002. And this is the ‘Voter Paradox’ that states: If you pursue it badly (coalition), you will lose it. But if you lose it deliberately, you will find it (run-off option). To win, Nasa must disintegrate. To lose, they must unite!
Written by Prof Mutahi Ngunyi, who is the Principal Fellow at The Consulting House and is associated with the Fort Hall School of Government, a college registered in Kenya
This article was first published on People Daily, March 28, 2017 http://epaper.peopledaily.co.ke/?iid=152011#folio=1