Kalonzo’s term in coalition government marked by supremacy battles with Raila

To Mr Odinga’s ODM, Mr Musyoka was often seen as lower in rank to the PM.

Kalonzo Musyoka’s term in the Grand Coalition government was marked by supremacy battles with former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

Having joined the Mwai Kibaki government as the vice-president during the 2007/2008 post-election violence, it took Mr Musyoka time to be accepted by the people who often saw him as a traitor, having jumped ship and sided with the PNU side after the controversial presidential 2007 elections.

The ugly supremacy battles with the prime minister were largely based on the fact that while he was nominally second in command, the vice-president was not a principal in the National Accord and Reconciliation Act 2008 formed by PNU and ODM, creating confusion on the pecking order — especially during public events.

In one public forum, the late Prof George Saitoti, who was then the master of ceremony, invited Mr Odinga to speak and then invite Mr Musyoka.

Insisting that there was a protocol hitch, Mr Odinga refused to speak before Mr Musyoka when Prof Saitoti invited him.

In The Flame of Freedom, his autobiography, Mr Odinga writes that in the hierarchy PNU tried to place the President on top with Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka second. Mr Musyoka of ODM-Kenya (now Wiper) was a distant third in the 2007 presidential election resultand had joined the PNU side of the coalition.


“I as PM would be number three, with the title ‘The Right Honourable’. My coalition partners were apparently determined to cut me down to size at every turn, but I considered the fact that they felt compelled to do this showed their fear of the Accord and of the equal partnership between Kibaki and me under the Grand Coalition Government,” Mr Odinga says in his autobiography.

At that public forum, Mr Odinga declined to speak before Mr Musyoka whom he and his supporters viewed as a gate-crasher to the grand coalition government.

Embarrassed by Mr Odinga refusing to stand up before Mr Musyoka, Prof Saitoti had to go back and consult with the two in order to establish what the issue was.

At the rally in Eldoret Mr Odinga writes that: “The organisers had planned a repeat of the previous day’s slight to me, and called on me to speak before the VP. I objected, and said the VP should go ahead of me. It became a tense and ugly public scene when Kibaki intervened and said that, no, I should speak first.”

In the end, Mr Odinga took to the podium and explained himself, winning the supremacy battle.

“The President’s men from the outset were determined to pay little more than lip-service to the power-sharing arrangement.”

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