By Prof. Mwai Wachira
Raila pulled a move similar to the one he is likely to pull soon way back in 1998 when he took his NDP party into some cooperation with Kanu which graduated into a partnership and culminated in a merger in early 2002. NDP was mostly a Luo leaning party with only one non Luo MP George Nyanja of Limuru.
Raila as the party leader was able to arm-twist most of the NDP MPs into supporting his cause but there were exceptions in Shem Ochuodho and Peter Oloo Aringo who defied him, yet they were members of NDP. James Orengo and Joe Donde were in Fork-K and they too defied Raila and so did Anyang Nong’o who was a nominated SDP Mp.
Joining Kanu then made sense as Raila had performed dismally in 1997 elections garnering 650K behind Kibaki and Moi who scored 1.8M and 2.4 M respectively, Wamalwa garnered 550K and Ngilu 400K. In percentages Raila scored around 11%. Raila’s dalliance with Kanu however gave him a national image as he was able to accompany Moi in the so called Kanu Zones unlike when he was in opposition. It is however not entirely true that Raila was behind the implosion in Kanu.
The person who made Kanu disintegrate was Daniel arap Moi through his action of picking Muiga as his preferred successor, had Moi allowed fair nominations in Kanu, either Saitoti, Kalonzo or Mudavadi would have clinched the ticket. Raila would have mostly likely ended as the running mate as many in kanu considered him an outsider.
Raila already has a national following, much more than Uhuru and why he is running to Uhuru to make some deals doesn’t make sense. Unlike in 1998 when he only had to explain his move to people in his Nyanza backyard, this time he will have to convince people from Western, lower eastern, Coast, parts of RV, parts of NE, and of course Nyanza and Nairobi. The man will have quite some explaining to do.