Raila, Ruto Joining Forces and 4 Unexpected Pairings

  • From Left, President Uhuru Kenyatta, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto.
    From Left, President Uhuru Kenyatta, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto.
    File
  • ODM Party leader Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto's political rivalry runs deep, however, the two leaders joined forces in the run up to the General Elections of  2007.

    At the time, the fast-rising Ruto was an essential part of the  grassroots people's movement which was formed during the 2005 Kenyan constitutional referendum campaign.

    The duo alongside Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi, Joseph Nyagah, Uhuru Kenyatta, Najib Balala led the 'no' vote campaign that eventually trumped then President Mwai Kibaki and his 'yes' vote movement,

    Following the resounding defeat, President Kibaki dismissed his entire cabinet, marking the beginning of a brutal game of political chairs that birthed unexpected pairings.

    Former presidents Mwai Kibaki (Centre) and Daniel arap Moi, Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
    Former presidents Mwai Kibaki (Centre) and Daniel arap Moi, Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
    File

    Uhuru and Kibaki

    In what was seen as the ultimate betrayal at the time, Uhuru ditched the Orange faction in the build up to the 2007 elections.

    As the KANU party chairperson at the time, Uhuru's decision to back the Kibaki ticket, was the first time his party failed to front a presidential candidate.

    On August 28, 2007, during a rare press conference at his Nairobi home, the late President Arap Moi said: “After very careful assessment, informed by my political experience spanning half a century, I am convinced that Mwai Kibaki ought to be given the chance to complete the constitutionally accepted two-term tenure".

    This essentially pulled Uhuru to Kibaki's camp.

    Kalonzo and Julia Ojiambo

    This was highly significant for Kibaki's bid for the presidency as it effectively split the opposition right down the middle.

    Professor Julia Ojiambo.
    Professor Julia Ojiambo.
    File

    Raila's group, which also included Musalia Mudavadi, William Ruto, Joseph Nyagah and Najib Balala defected from ODM-Kenya and took over the ODM party registered by Mugambi Imanyara.

    On the other hand Kalonzo's group, led by himself and Dr. Julia Ojiambo remained in the original ODM-Kenya. He would later announce Julia as his running mate, at the Kasarani sports complex in Nairobi on August 31 2007,

    Uhuru and Moi

    This was a pairing that stunned not only the country, but the ruling party at the time, KANU.

    Everyone seemed to assume that the incumbent president would pick his able deputy (the late George Saitoti), or Mudavadi to face off against the formidable Rainbow Coalition. 

    Led by Raila and Kibaki, the movement had joined forces to bring an end to the Moi era in the 2002 general elections.

    However, Moi had other plans as he chose the young and inexperienced Uhuru as the party's presidential candidate.

    Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka in his autobiography, Against All Odds, revealed that Moi's efforts to reconcile party rebels and his chosen successor, ended in disarray during a State House meeting on October 10, 2002.

    “We knew Moi was going to officially pick Uhuru. He was supposed to make the announcement after a trip to Namibia. Eventually Moi made the announcement in Mt Elgon where he thoroughly humiliated Mudavadi,” reads and excerpt from the book.

    Former President Daniel arap Moi (Right) hands over the Kanu flag to Uhuru Kenyatta during a handover ceremony at Kasarani Stadium. 2002.
    Former President Daniel arap Moi (Right) hands over the Kanu flag to Uhuru Kenyatta during a handover ceremony at Kasarani Stadium. 2002.
    File

    Raila and Kibaki

    This was a union born of necessity and past experiences. After losing to Moi during previous elections due to disunity, the two finally teamed up in 2002, in one final push to topple the KANU rule.

    The Rainbow Movement was founded, comprising disgruntled members who exited KANU. 

    The exodus led by Raila, saw most big names fleeing the party. The Movement went on to join the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which later teamed up with opposition Kibaki's National Alliance Party of Kenya (NAK), a coalition of several other parties, to form the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC).

    Odinga declared the famous words "Kibaki tosha" (Kibaki is sufficient), an endorsement of a Kibaki ticket. This resolved the matter of candidacy and Narc went on to defeat Moi's protege.

    However, on assuming office, President Kibaki did not appoint Odinga as Prime Minister in the new government, contrary to a pre-election memorandum Of understanding.

    This marked the start of new political coalitions that have since changed over and over again, mainly hinged on personal interests.

    From left, Former President Mwai Kibaki, Moody Awori and Raila Odinga pictured in 2002.
    From left, Former President Mwai Kibaki, Moody Awori and Raila Odinga pictured in 2002.
    Daily Nation