A push for Jubilee and ODM to be designated senior partners in the proposed coalition with other parties joining through either of the two sides could trigger a feud.
ODM is reportedly keen on this arrangement that essentially elevates the two as first among equals in the anticipated broad-based coalition, arguing after all it is President Kenyatta and Mr Raila Odinga’s 2018 truce being transformed into an alliance.
Part of the motivation for this move is to narrow the power sharing bargaining to only the two sides, a case whose proponents say is made stronger by the realisation of the few posts on offer given the uncertainty around the Building Bridges Initiative’s quest to expand the Executive.
Jubilee and ODM are exploring borrowing a leaf from the 2013 coalition arrangement between Uhuru Kenyatta’s The National Alliance (TNA) and William Ruto’s United Republican Party (URP) that saw other smaller parties ally themselves to either of the two major outfits.
The push for this arrangement has gathered momentum as Jubilee and ODM move to begin power negotiations without factoring in new Executive posts including Prime Minister and two deputies that are tied to the BBI constitutional reforms.
It has also emerged that some in the pro-BBI team suggest that should the appeal collapse at the Appellate Court; there will be no need to move to the Supreme Court given the political backlash a second adverse verdict would have on the campaign to amend the Constitution.
Power sharing negotiations
“It will serve no purpose to move to the Supreme Court if we don’t win at the Court of Appeal. The damage will be irreparable. But if we win at the Court of Appeal, then we will be confident to face our opponents at the apex court if they appeal,” said a source privy to the discussions.
With the power sharing negotiations now limited to the available two key positions – President and Deputy President – as well as less powerful Cabinet posts, the Nation has leant that the two parties are keen to ensure they are the only key negotiating parties in the proposed broad coalition.
The idea is to ensure other parties negotiate from either of the two sides – Jubilee or ODM, which essentially elevates the two parties as the senior partners, with Mr Odinga’s ODM hoping were this to succeed, it would automatically hand the Orange party the slot for the presidential flag bearer on grounds Jubilee has had two terms.
However, there are concerns that this strategy could as well backfire if for instance the other three Nasa affiliate parties — Wiper, ANC and Ford Kenya — were to opt to negotiate under Jubilee side because they would drag in the disputed Nasa agreement on Mr Odinga not running again.
Apart from Wiper, ANC and Ford Kenya, other parties that support the March 9 truce between President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga are Baringo Senator Gideon Moi’s Kanu, which already has a post-election coalition agreement with Jubilee, Governors Charity Ngilu’s Narc and Dr Alfred Mutua’s Maendeleo Chap Chap.
ODM Chairman John Mbadi, who is also one of the members of the team crafting the coalition agreement, said they have a number of proposals that will inform their discussions before they arrive at the final decision.
He confirmed that the possibility of having Jubilee and ODM have the veto powers as the major players in the ‘Handshake’ was also on the table.
“I can’t be able to determine at the moment the nature of the coalition we will have but that will be part of the discussion we will have,” Mr Mbadi told the Nation yesterday.
“Once we have all the proposals, we will then make a determination on the form the coalition should take,” he added.
ODM had already challenged its Nasa partners to consider competitive joint presidential nominations to select the coalition’s flag bearer in next year’s elections.
Jubilee’s National Management Committee (NMC) had received a report from its technical committee working on the details of the alliance.
Jubilee Vice-Chairman David Murathe, who is representing the ruling party in the coalition talks, said matters of the coalition were being discussed at “very high level with a view to having a formidable machine for 2022.”
But he disclosed the President’s wing of Jubilee that is torn apart by factional wars is strengthening the party. “We agreed to reorganise a stronger Jubilee before getting into an alliance because no party can want to work with us if we are weak,” Mr Murathe said.
“Now that we have gotten rid of UDA, our next phase is to strengthen the party and its structures, offices and hold elections all the way culminating into an NDC (National Delegates Convention) that will then ratify our coalition as required by law,” Mr Murathe explained, referring to the purge of the rebel Jubilee faction led by Deputy President William Ruto that is associating with the United Democratic Alliance.
One Kenya Alliance
Mr Murathe noted that they were concerned by their partners belonging in other coalitions, an apparent reference to Nasa, which he noted will have to be dissolved before “one formidable 2022 machine is actualised.”
“We are not forming a coalition government but looking at a futuristic arrangement cognisant of the fact that you cannot be in a coalition now with partners who are already in other coalitions.
“We are reaching out to One Kenya Alliance (OKA), ODM and other like-minded parties and hope to have two major formations – one led by the so called hustler movement and the other one for peace, stability and a unified country,” Mr Murathe said referring to OKA that brings together Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka, ANC’s Musalia Mudavadi and Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetangula.
After kicking out the Ruto-linked UDA sympathisers from Jubilee, Mr Murathe added the next phase is to “chase them out of Mt Kenya and introduce our new partners.”
With the uncertainty over BBI and time running out, it emerged that Jubilee-ODM teams were exploring talks without considering the new posts, but acknowledged the dilemma.
“When it comes to political pacts, we need to know what is on the table. As we engage, we must not get into a formal decision before the fate of BBI is known. The fate of BBI at the court has slowed down our engagement with Jubilee because we need to know whether we are moving on with the positions in the current constitution or with the positions as proposed in the BBI. Without hard facts such as who is going for President, who is going for deputy, then it would be difficult for any form of engagements to continue,” said Mr Mbadi.
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