Cord considering several options for selecting presidential candidate

A meeting of delegates of the three parties has also been mooted as a last resort as the pressure mounts for the coalition to get its act together less than nine months to the August 8, 2017 election.

Siaya Senator James Orengo on Friday said the coalition includes Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi.

The Opposition coalition is toying with several options to select its presidential candidate.

Top on the list is consensus and opinion polls to gauge popularity of the three aspirants.

“We are now looking at a broad-based front that will bring together political parties in Cord, other parties, individuals, interest groups, civil society, trade unions and other non-State actors,” said Mr Orengo.

He, however, said the basic overview of how the opposition will identify their presidential candidate is partially complete. “At the end of the day it will be the responsibility of the principals to decide on the final frame-work. Our work for now is to come up with a super alliance big enough to help the opposition to sweep into power with ease,” the Siaya senator said.

Mr Orengo, a close confidant of Cord leader Raila Odinga, is among key leaders playing a pivotal role in crafting and assembling an opposition election machine to challenge the ruling coalition.

OPINION POLLS

While Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper has insisted that consensus was the best way to get the team’s flag bearer, a 15-member bi-partisan Cord management committee is analysing opinion polls that have been done to inform their choice of a ticket holder.

A proposal by ODM to use a party’s popularity in the choice has been furiously opposed by Mr Musyoka and his Ford-Kenya counterpart Moses Wetang’ula.

ODM is the single largest political party in Kenya with 96 MPs, 16 of the 47 governors, and 11 senators elected on its ticket.

The Nation has also established that the search for the man to face President Uhuru Kenyatta has been muted following talks of the formation of a super alliance fronted by Mr Odinga and supported by Mr Mudavadi.

It is understood that Mr Odinga has suggested that talks on the joint candidate be put on hold until those willing to join the alliance are on board and have signed an agreement, preferably by January.

And although Wiper has proposed a December 25 deadline in naming the coalition’s candidate, the Nation has established that ODM and Ford-Kenya prefer a March date.

This, insiders argue, is a two-pronged advantage: Not to allow Jubilee the chance to fight the person, and two, so that the candidate does not tire before the elections.

‘PRESSURING US’

“We will tread this road carefully. We know Jubilee is pressuring us to know our candidate early so they can start an early smear and attack campaign. We will not give them the satisfaction,” said Dr Eseli Simiyu, Ford-Kenya secretary-general and member of the management committee.

On Sunday,  Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto will host Mr Mudavadi, Mr Musyoka and Kanu’s Gideon Moi in what many say will be a first of a series of meetings to popularise the alliance.

The governor, who had a bitter fallout with his former party leader Deputy President William Ruto, arrived in the country on Friday from South Africa where he was receiving treatment.

The governor was hurt in an altercation with the police that his supporters have suggested was the government’s doing.

On Friday, Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr of Wiper said although all the options in the picking of the candidate were open, consensus across the board was the best way to keep the coalition intact.

“Only a consensus can achieve the desired results and also manage the enormous expectations by the various party followers. Whatever the outcome, only personal sacrifice will put the team together,” said Senator Kilonzo Jr.

KALONZO MUSYOKA

His sentiments – of sacrifice and consensus – echo those of his party leader Mr Musyoka who has consistently asked his colleagues to let him fly the Cord flag, saying he had sacrificed enough. The former Vice President had last Saturday castigated the party’s co-chair in the management committee, Senator Johnson Muthama, for what he said was ganging up with his ODM counterpart Orengo to lock him out of the race in favour of Mr Odinga.

But the party quickly put on a brave face, saying there were no cracks and that the negotiations were still ongoing and in good faith.

The opinion polls, Dr Simiyu said, were to gauge the popularity of the candidates with different running mates combinations and were now being analysed.

Although Dr Simiyu did not reveal what the polls found, Mr Odinga led in all the possible combinations. The polls, which were reportedly requested by Wiper and Ford-Kenya, were conducted in opposition strongholds with a few representation in the other parts of the country.

In an earlier interview, Mr Wetang’ula told the Nation that the principals were in talks that could annul the committee’s work. “…whatever the committee is doing is null and void. But as it stands, we support the process and the options proposed,” he said.

Suna East MP Junet Mohammed said the opposition will reach an agreement. “We are at the moment pre-occupied with plans to set up a super alliance,” Mr Mohammed said.

Qatar airways launches football fan competition

Jubilee Party on charm offensive in coast