BY: Sospeter Otieno
Well, William Ruto, without Mudavadiâ€™s consent, pre-empted and dropped the bombshell on Friday morning, making it public that the Jubilee alliance had given up luring â€œâ€œIngokhoâ€ into the slaughter hutâ€ -Kasarani . The drama served to confirm CORD presidential candidateâ€™s observation in August that Mudavadi was duped into ditching ODM for a new outfit without a destination.
That Mudavadi was engaging in a high stakes political gamble is not in doubt, but like in business, those in it to take risks are the ones who prevail. We say that not all theoretically feasible ideas are practically viable, but then any politically viable ideas that turn out successful must have been theoretically feasible on paper or someoneâ€™s mind at some point.
Mudavadiâ€™s scheming and maneuvers were theoretically feasible, but the â€œdevilsâ€ conspired to render them unviable. Itâ€™s effectively a miscarriage of any hopes of a Jubilee endorsement that he had nursed for a long time.
Now no-one knows, TNA leader Uhuru Kenyatta probably meant well- but realistically stuff never went well thanks to 40 hard-line elements within TNA.
For Uhuru Kenyatta, who is facing crimes against humanity charges at The Hague, the stakes are very high. If he were to endorse a candidate, it has to be someone he really trusts. He is in this game because his life depends on it, and it sure does!
Itâ€™s obvious, Mudavadi for attempting to play hardball on Uhuru, failed the â€œtrustâ€ test. Demanding agreements and arm-twisting is not what you do if you want coronation. With a State House support, he probably thought thatâ€™s all he needed, no!
He therefore acted like this newlywed who makes her game being loyal to the parents of the groom who arranged the marriage, but utterly and with contempt disrespects the groom, then goes ahead to cite the prenuptial agreement.
Thatâ€™s not the way to behave if you want to be made King. Kibaki might be King in central, but Uhuru owns the Mt. Kenya Kingdom. Mudavadi pandered to the King, but disregarded the owner of the Kingdom. You donâ€™t offend a man who is â€œheaded to the gallowsâ€, he has little to lose.
By lying to Mudavadi, Uhuruâ€™s were just mere political poker playing dirty tactics, which means the son of Jomo has truly â€œcome of ageâ€. Thatâ€™s how Machiavellian politics roll. Asking him to submit- go prostrate, and declare unwavering allegiance and promise to be a â€œpuppetâ€.
He was effectively in the middle of executing a hostile take-over of UDF. It demonstrates that he has evolved 360 degrees from the moment Moi introduced the 3 button- donning, â€œbon-hommieâ€, political minion and nominated MP to Kenyans as his preferred candidate.
And my crystal ball is that it all comes down to age. As leaders in the same age bracket all born in the same decade, Uhuru, Ruto and Mudavadi can hardly work harmoniously in an arrangement devoid of turbulence or put politely- sibling rivalry.
An Uhuru presidency would mean that Mudavadi and his cohorts have to wait for a decade to be President, when Mudavadi would be 60 plus. Ruto at 46 can wait, but Mudavadi would be restless under Uhuru.
Itâ€™s easier for Mudavadi to live with a Raila Presidency than an Uhuru Presidency, which would endeavor to edge him out, because a President Uhuru would want to dominate and monopolize youngerÂ loyalists like Sakaja Johnson and Â Onyango Oloo Â that arenâ€™t a threat to his politics. Thatâ€™s how politics rolls, and UK isnâ€™t an exception.
Age is the advantage that guarantees a Raila Cord coalition expansion in leaps and bounds. Itâ€™s also why Moi attracted political talents around himself. Kibaki 2002, also naturally cobbled up a huge coalition- Younger leaders see a glimmer of hope in an older leader who is benign to their ambition. Jaramogiâ€™s 1992 Ford-Kenya was literally crowded with young talent; Jaramogi was the unifying symbol for the Young Turks, who all looked up to succeeding Jaramogi at some point since he was old.
For Mudavadi, its okay, he should take heart and live to fight another day. He had a strategy but he lost in a Kenyan-style presidential primary, where no ballots are cast- but is rather determined by resources, tribal arithmetic and acclamation. Thanks to the gamble, his profile is higher now than when he started this journey.
Kenyan style, â€œUhuru has defeated him in a primaryâ€ and now Jubilee delegates can go ahead and endorse Uhuru as flag bearer. Everything was set up to make it look like MM â€œchickened outâ€ of a delegateâ€™s conference.
And thatâ€™s the way life goes. Its politics 101, every shrewd move is a gamble! We go in it unsure of the outcome.Â Like Obama likes saying, â€œWhen we fall, we wake up, and dust our coats offâ€ and continue with our journey. Mudavadi can re-engineer himself. But he has to re-invent his message that is salient to Mudavadi. He canâ€™t be the wielder of a compromise message.Â He has to fight for election and not coronation.
The coronation path didnâ€™t work out but at least he tried. Everybody knows, Mudavadi gave up his own ambitions for Uhuru in 2002, but the latter has declined to return that favor in 2012, even when circumstances demanded that he does so.Â History will judge him harshly.
Cord, going solo, Pambazuko or Kennethâ€™s Eagle are his options now. But he has to pick an option that guarantees him campaign cash flow. As he will begin to soon realize, people want to put money in a campaign that stands a chance.
Sospeter Otieno is a Kenyan-born Freelance Columnist, Security analyst, activist and blogger who lives in the US.