Kalonzo Musyoka has been a rather patient man, standing in the shadow of Raila Odinga for almost a decade. But the man once described as a “watermelon” by Raila himself, during the 2010 constitutional referendum is now tired of the endless jibes and put downs. Kalonzo wants his day in the sun and a turn at the seat of power. He is ensuring that the CORD coalition is fully aware of his ambitions. The relationship between Kalonzo and Raila has always seemed very fragile. Prior to the 2007 elections, Kalonzo Musyoka run away with the ODM party after differences with Raila on who would run for the presidency. Raila quickly formed ODM-Kenya and faced Kalonzo and Mwai Kibaki in the controversial 2007 general elections. Raila blames Kalonzo for the 2007 loss and believes that had they stayed together Kibaki would not have had a chance. In addition, soon after disputed results Kalonzo took another decision that hammered the nail on Raila’s coffin. He agreed to be Mwai Kibaki’s Vice President thereby affirming the PNU win; a decision that infuriated Raila to no end. Close allies to Raila confirm that he has never forgiven Kalonzo for this double betrayal.
Nonetheless Raila is a pragmatic man. As he prepared for the 2013 general elections which he expected would be a walk-over he realized he needed Kalonzo especially due to the latter’s foreign affairs experience, as well as organizational capacity. He then approached Kalonzo and promised to stop the petty supremacy fights that the two offices had running as Raila’s office struggled to show it had more authority over Kalonzo’s. Raila, working from the basis that he was already an incumbent, offered Kalonzo his full support in 2017 if Kalonzo would agree to support him in 2013.
By 2012, Kalonzo Musyoka had built and renamed ODM-Kenya to Wiper Democratic Movement. His popularity and support base had significantly grown despite the very public split and subsequent myriad taunts from Raila and ODM supporters. Kalonzo had also been always far more disciplined a politician than Raila, never publicly revealing his contempt for those he might need in future. Kalonzo therefore looked at Raila as reckless, emotional, and quick to launch a barrage of verbal epithets whenever it suited his needs. Kalonzo also thought Raila’s populist politics was too juvenile.
But Kalonzo had no money, at least not the kind of money required to successfully run against Uhuru Kenyatta. He also knew that Raila had accumulated billions of shillings through a strategic corruption cartel ODM had run across the ministries they headed under the coalition government so he knew Raila had money. Kalonzo was also still smarting from the double humiliation of having Kibaki refuse to endorse him as his successor, and watching Uhuru and Ruto, two political greenhorns, treat him like dirt because he had no numbers. He wanted to get back at Kibaki and Uhuru, the two Kikuyus who had humiliated him in public. Raila’s offer was therefore quite tempting.
Outside of their ethnic voter base both Raila and Kalonzo needed to merge their intentions and bring on board the rest of the country. Kalonzo suggested they reach out to Moses Wetangula so that they could create the perception that they had acceptance beyond their ethnic strongholds. Raila did not see the need for a luhya face as he already believed he had the luhya vote behind him. However to keep Kalonzo happy he agreed. Raila also assumed that Wetangula would share some of the immense loot he is suspected to have accumulated from back during his KANU years, including the “Tokyo Embassy scandal” where 1.5 billion was scammed from the government. There was even a rumor that at some point during the investigations Raila had sent Wajir West MP Adnan Keynan to get 100M from Wetangula so that the ODM wing could protect him from Kibaki and ensure that he kept his job as Foreign Affairs Minister. Wetangula refused, and lost his ministerial position. However politics has no permanent enemies and that did not stop Wetangula from shifting allegiance from Kibaki to Raila, now that Kibaki was no longer a factor.
However Raila still believed that over time Wetangula would inject some money into their coalition so that Raila would campaign for him in Bungoma where the aspiring Senator did not have a chance against Raila’s own Assistant Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Alfred Khangati. To-date Khangati believes Wetangula paid Raila, and that is how he lost to Wetangula. He could be right. A political analyst once put it very simply, whereas other politicians spend money during elections Raila makes money during elections. Nominations within the ODM party go to the highest bidder, guaranteeing them a seat especially if they come from Western or Nyanza where Raila has a fanatical voter base.
Unfortunately the simmering rivalry between Kalonzo and Raila once again reared its head. Kalonzo was clear of one thing, he was willing to support Raila, but for only one term, whether or not Raila won. Kalonzo also did not trust Raila’s word and wanted this agreement put in writing. Kalonzo wanted an MOU.
The MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) is a lexicon that was actually introduced by Raila after the 2002 elections. The notoriety of the failed 2002 MOU between him and Kibaki had therefore made the idea of pre-election agreements a usual part of negotiations. Kalonzo wanted Raila to sign an MOU indicating their political relationship.
Unfortunately by the time Kalonzo came back to Raila with this condition the political rumor mill was already awash with claims that Uhuru and Ruto were about to unveil a Coalition that would include leaders who had worked with Raila in the past. Raila knew that if this happened before he also launched his own Coalition, he might never catch up with these young boys, as he called them. He therefore instructed his legal advisor Jim Orengo to quickly cobble up something that Raila, Kalonzo and Wetangula could look at. Jim took his specimen MOU that he had used to craft the 2002 MOU between his boss and Kibaki and made amendments. After Raila looked it over they sent it to Wetangula and Kalonzo.
Raila was no stranger to MOUs. In the famous Kibaki MOU he claimed that Kibaki had promised to run for only one term and then cede power to him. A quick check of the NARC MOU of 2002 shows clearly that there was no clause determining that Mwai Kibaki should step down at any point during his tenure. Many sources close to the leadership at the time suspect that Raila may have unwittingly gotten a casual verbal agreement from Kibaki, as a way of shutting him up. Besides, the NARC MOU was going to create a bloated and unrealistic cabinet, with 2 vice presidents, a Prime Minister and two deputy prime Ministers.
Raila tried the verbal option with Kalonzo. He took time to open his heart to Kalonzo, explaining to Kalonzo that his age did not allow him to be president for more than a term. He even showed Kalonzo his medical documents which showed his health state, and that he would not be able to last very long under the kind of pressure that the presidency puts on someone. Raila explained to Kalonzo that if he put a clause limiting his term he would start as a lame-duck president right from day one, which would undermine his authority as president. He begged Kalonzo to accept his verbal assurance on this aspect. To emphasize Raila even claimed that in fact his pursuit for the presidency was so that he could fulfill the promise he made to his father Jaramogi Odinga, that one day an Odinga would rule Kenya.
Unfortunately Kalonzo was not impressed. He insisted that the clause be included in the MOU. Raila realized he had lost that fight and instructed Orengo to insert an ambiguous clause explaining that he would only serve for one term. To his close team Raila argued that once they were at state house, anything could happen. He reminded people that even under Kibaki Vice President Wamalwa had died before the term was over. The amended MOU was sent to Wetangula and Kalonzo.
Wetangula had no illusions as to his place in the marriage and was willing to go with anything. He also knew that all he needed was an association with Raila to guarantee his Bungoma senatorial bid. He therefore immediately confirmed he was okay with it. Kalonzo on the other hand had a legal hawk, Mutula Kilonzo, look through his copy. Mutula told Kalonzo that it was okay, except that the part of one term was not clear. Orengo had inserted a clause that said …
“The CORD Coalition principles agree that Hon. Raila Amollo Odinga shall be nominated as the presidential candidate in the forthcoming general elections under ODM. Upon Victory he will serve as the President of the Republic of Kenya for the term 2013 to 2017. Hon Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka shall be Hon. Odinga’s running mate and Deputy President. “
Mutula argued, correctly, that the clause did not guarantee that Raila would step down for Kalonzo in 2017. Mutula also pointed out that the clause did not deal with the issue of Raila not making it in 2013. Mutula advised Kalonzo to ensure that the clause covered these two details specifically.
It was no secret then that Kalonzo did not trust Raila to step down after only one term with or without an MOU. After all Raila has a habit of creating loose MOU that promised fantastic things with absolutely no intention of delivering on his promise. Some argue that Raila had learned this behavior from his father Jaramogi Oginga Odinga. However Jaramogi never committed anything to an MOU. But Jaramogi would make incredible promises, including the promise to step down after only one day in power!
Kalonzo’s family, especially his wife Pauline, also did not trust Raila at all. A firm and committed Christian Pauline raised the issue of the history Raila had on MOU’s, citing the one he had signed with Muslims offering to make Kenya a sharia-compliant state. Pauline told Kalonzo she wanted absolutely nothing to do with Raila, MOU or no MOU. She did not believe that Raila would step down after only one term or step aside for Kalonzo to run as president in 2017. She also believed God would not allow Raila to rule Kenya at all and that partnering with Raila would make Kalonzo irrelevant in Kenyan politics.
The Muslim MOU that was upsetting Kalonzo’s wife was signed in preparation for the 2007 general elections. In it Raila promised coastal region leaders fantastic political powers that beggared belief. Raila had assured the National Muslim Leaders Forum (NAMLEF) that he would “establish a lasting relationship between Hon. Raila Amolo Odinga and the National Muslim Leaders”. The MOU also clarified that Raila “recognizes Islam as the only true religion.” Essentially, to achieve support from the Muslims Raila had no qualms pretending he was Muslim. This intention, to deceive the Muslim community for political support made this MOU particularly distasteful to both Christians and Muslims.
The Muslim-MOU deception had not ended there. Raila had also promised that “within 6 months of being elected, (he would) re-write the constitution of Kenya to recognize Shariah as the only true law sanctioned by the Holy Quran for Muslim declared regions”. This was obviously a lie considering how difficult it would be to change the Kenyan constitution in that direction in a country with more than 80% of the population professing Christianity. Indeed after forming the coalition government no aspect of the MOU with NAMLEF came to fruition. Raila actually disowned the MOU when it was raised by the few Muslim leaders who had been foolish enough to believe him.
However Kalonzo, who has quite a vindictive streak in him, wanted to get his revenge on the Kikuyus who had lied to him and publicly humiliated him. He ignored his wife’s advice and insisted he would work with Raila if the contentious clause was inserted as he wanted it. Unknown to many Kenyans Raila had to literally beg, nearly going down on his knees, so that Kalonzo would agree to attend the CORD launch outside KICC. Kalonzo had refused because the clause had not been inserted. It took another three days of intense negotiations at Serena after CORD was launched, before the clause was inserted to Kalonzo’s satisfaction. During this week Kalonzo kept the pressure up on Raila by threatening to go public with the fact that he had actually not officially accepted to be in CORD despite his attendance of the KICC launch. The special clause was finally inserted as per Mutula Kilonzo’s specifications. It stated:
“The presidential candidate for each general election shall ONLY RUN IN THAT ELECTION and when elected SHALL ONLY SERVE FOR ONE TERM.”
This particular clause determined how elections were to be conducted in CORD for the 2013, 2017 and 2022 election cycles. When Charity Ngilu saw it she quickly packed her bags and shifted her National Rainbow Coalition back to Jubilee despite her having walked away from Uhuru and Ruto during the MOU signing ceremony at Jevanjee Gardens after she had realized that she was not a primary player in the Jubilee Coalition. After looking at the Jubilee and CORD formations Ngilu ate humble pie and pleaded with Uhuru and Ruto to allow her to return.
Once the issue of Kalonzo was finalized Raila sealed the Kalenjin vote support by promising that Henry Kosgey, Prof. Kamar and Sally Kosgei would take up the ODM seats in the MOU. At the coast he did not bother signing anything with the Joho brothers. He just promised to allow them to conduct their businesses without government interference. In Nairobi he sold the party governor nomination ticket to Kidero for 1Billion shillings. He then secretly but actively undermined Kidero whilst arguing that Kenyans would have a problem with two Luos running Nairobi, one as president and the other as Nairobi Governor.
Raila did not win the 2013 elections, to his complete and utter shock. However, like the political animal he is, six months later, once he had recovered from the unexpected body-blow, Raila immediately started preparing for the 2017 general elections. He restructured CORD activities and started rebranding himself. At one point, to the total annoyance of Wetangula and Kalonzo, Raila’s team made the two co-principals’ wear hats with Raila’s name on them despite the fact that he is not meant to be running for president again, as per their MOU. Clearly Raila had moved on from any obligations he felt he owed Kalonzo as per ‘that piece of paper’ as he called it.
The last straw was money. CORD had planned meticulously for a round-2 fight with Jubilee in 2013. When Jubilee took the elections in the first round and the Supreme Court confirmed their win Raila was left holding 4 Billion shillings. Kalonzo felt that this money should be shared equally between the three principals as they had all helped raise it. Raila insisted this was not fair since he was the one who lobbied for and received the money. He never gave Kalonzo a single coin.
Raila’s relationship with Kalonzo has fallen apart irrevocably. Raila has categorically told Kalonzo and his team that he intends to run in 2017, as he is sure he will beat a disjointed Jubilee now that the ICC no longer joins Uhuru and Ruto. He has also stated that he will not allow any MOU to stand in the way of his final attempt at the presidency.
Kalonzo has also reached the end of his patience with Raila. What he does not know is how to leave CORD. This is because unlike Raila Kalonzo cannot sustain himself outside government. He is also not a man of means and neither is he as corrupt as his partners. The death of Mutula Kilonzo also hit him hard. Mutula understood politics because of the many years he had spent as legal advisor to Moi. Mutula would have not only have had resources to support Kalonzo as they navigated out of the CORD embrace, he would also have had strategic advice on how to move forward. Muthama, Kalonzo’s other financier has had his fortunes adversely affected after he decided to go on an personal insulting spree against Jubilee leaders. Rumor has it that Jubilee is about to hit him with a large bill for unpaid taxes. Kalonzo is also watching hopelessly as Alfred Mutua is groomed by Jubilee to replace him as the Kamba king-pin.
However Kalonzo’s allies are advising that it is not over until the fat lady sings. They claim that though it does seem extremely tough for Kalonzo at the moment the man has over three decades of political experience behind him, and he will find a way out of his present predicament. They are also sure of one thing. Kalonzo cannot work with Raila ever again after the betrayals he has suffered since 2006. In fact they say that Kalonzo has assured them he is willing to wait and try for the Presidency properly in 2022, but ensure that Raila’s final attempt in 2017 is a failure. He is even willing to join hands with Jubilee to beat Raila.
But only time will tell whether Jubilee will have time for him.