Fresh presidential ambitions by Cord co-principals is beginning to cause panic in the Opposition outfit as the main affiliate parties regroup individually to gear up for the 2017 elections.
Mr Raila Odinga is expected to lead Orange Democratic Party MPs, senators and governors in a retreat this weekend. Plans are afoot for a “Raila Odinga” rebranding.
Wiper Democratic Movement concluded its retreat at the weekend. The party declared it would have its own presidential candidate, while Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula has also announced he would be in the race.
The beehive of activity and the declarations have caused panic among coalition members, with memories of how Mr Odinga and Mr Musyoka acrimoniously parted ways in 2007 still fresh in their supporters’ minds.
Cord MPs are also expected to have another retreat later this month on how to move forward together.
But yesterday, acting Wiper Secretary-General Omar Hassan told the Nation that despite the declarations, a lot of caution is being taken to ensure ambitions are well-managed and the coalition is kept intact.
“The declaration by Wiper that it would have a candidate is not sign of fragmentation or manifestation of parting of ways. We have to remember that some candidates were in the 2013 presidential race,” the Mombasa senator said.
He said Wiper would participate in a process that would field a joint Cord presidential candidate. Mr Hassan urged coalition supporters not to panic over the ongoing inter-party activities.
“This is internal competition in Cord that is meant to boost democracy and strengthen our parties. Cord will survive,” Mr Hassan said.
He said Wiper appointed Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama the head of coalition affairs to facilitate liaison between the party and its coalition partners.
ODM Chairman John Mbadi said that nothing much should be read out of the retreats and workshops.
“As ODM, we shall be retreating this weekend as we engage in political planning. After that, we would have a joint Cord retreat,” he said.
The joint retreat was called off two weeks ago over what some coalition insiders claimed were wrangles over the sharing of the ODM political parties funds.
But Mr Mbadi said: “We called off the retreat to give parties room to hold their own retreats.”
The chairman said it is a strategy within Cord to entertain internal party strengthening so as to allow individual parties’ growth.
“We are in a discussion on how to sponsor joint candidates in the next General Election to avoid a similar situation such as what happened in 2013.
“We lost seats because of fielding many candidates. There are opinions that we should come up with a single political entity. Our election plans are on course,” Mr Mbadi said.
He urged coalition supporters to remain faithful and loyal, saying there is no cause for panic over declaration of interest in the presidential race.
Mr Kalonzo said the decision by Wiper to announce that the party would field a presidential candidate in the 2017 election should not be seen to imply the party is planning to walk out of the coalition.
“Wiper is not walking out of Cord. The suggestion that the party should front a candidate to contest for the presidency is normal.
“It should be known that Wiper has representatives in the Cord Management Committee whose responsibility includes coordinating and organising presidential nominations. We are very much inside Cord,” Mr Musyoka said.
He dismissed claims that he is under pressure to contest the top seat over fears Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua is plotting to take over from him.
“I am not in any competition with Governor Mutua. It is sad that the media is trying to create some unnecessary competition here. I am a national leader and have never been in the race to be a Kamba president,” the former VP told the Nation.